New neural pathways

Small triumphs. I learned how to do a backwards crossover today in my ice skating class. What’s a backwards crossover? Skating backwards in an arc generated by picking up one foot and crossing it over the other foot. No big deal, unless you are 42 and decided 3 months ago that you wanted to learn how to skate and you are as terrified as I am of falling on your tush on that cold, hard ice. The old adage is that it is much harder to learn new things, especially those requiring physical skill, the older you get. This may be true, but it is really hard if you don’t even try. And the older we get, the more reluctant we are to look stupid, and the less we are willing to take risks. I’ve been reading lately about the latest research in brain neuroplasticity. What they’ve found is that the brain continues to build new neural pathways throughout our whole lives, as long as we require our brains to perform new functions such as learning a new language or a new motor skill. Every week I go to my ice skating class and every week I get just a fraction better. What I learned last week, as difficult as it was then, is much easier this week. This must come from the brain creating stronger neural connections. And although children can pick things up faster, I have found that I’m learning as fast if not faster than most of the kids in the class because of my better ability to focus my attention. Focused attention also creates new neural pathways. Go brain go.