Brain Health Kuel Category Expert: Patricia Faust, MGS
The start of this year is nothing like the new beginnings of every other year.And because all norms are shattered, we may not approach our lives in the same way.
At the beginning of the New Year, we take a hard look of where we have been and where we want to go. Past questions might have been: Did I accomplish what I set out to do at the beginning of the year? Did I meet or exceed the goals I set during this past year? Am I stuck in inertia – not making progress or are there losses that I can analyze? Am I happy where I am in my life? The answer to the last question probably determines how all of the other questions were answered.
“many of us were knocked off our life trajectory this past year”
But what about this past year? Are these valid questions to consider – under COVID circumstances? In the field of Gerontology, we examine the life course trajectory. This simply means that our life takes a steady path to a defined end point. Everything we do in our lives supports the trajectory. If we get knocked off our life course trajectory, we end up in a totally different place than we ever imagined. Needless to say, many of us were knocked off our life trajectory this past year. Let me give you an example of this theory from my own life experience.
There Are No Accidents:
As I grew older there were some very stark reminders that I needed to change my trajectory. No matter how much money I made, I was bored with my job and always looked for a new one.The money always made a difference in my decision to stay or leave a job. This definitely wasn’t the way to lead a meaningful life. I had two auto accidents in two weeks. Aha, the universe decided to change the way I looked at everything. Money wasn’t giving me the satisfaction I needed to move forward in what I was doing. Now I was looking for my passion and purpose. What was I supposed to be doing to give my life meaning?
“Purpose and passion energize and motivates us”
Throughout my brain aging and brain health studies, I discovered that we are hardwired to connect to other people. It is critically important for us to have our ‘tribe’. It increases our cognitive skills and introduces meaning into our lives. We are meant to connect inward also. By that, I mean that we need to find our purpose and passion, the meaning of our lives. Purpose and passion energize and motivates us. We begin to see that our life is important on a much broader level, far beyond our self-satisfaction. Purpose gives us a sense that our life has meaning.
The Universe Aligned:
My move to do what I love was really forced upon me. The auto accidents I was involved in kept me from doing the job where I made a lot of money. It was a crisis that I wasn’t bringing in the same income, but this time I thought about what I love to do and got the education to pursue that dream. I have to tell you I love everything about being a gerontologist. It has a lot of different levels of interest and I love every one of them.
“Now is the perfect time to dream about what you love to do”
Now, has the pandemic caused you a crisis of faith? Do you know where this sudden change is taking you? After this protracted length of time, are you giving some thought about making a change to your everyday life? You need to find meaning in your life again. Now is the perfect time to dream about what you love to do – not what you feel compelled to do. Be open to ideas that you would love to do. Don’t put the barrier of money around that idea just yet. Start to get the feel of what makes you happy and fulfilled. If that feeling stays with you then figure out a way to move forward. Be open to the universe to give you direction. Your feelings will guide you to what you love.
Believe In Yourself:
In this time of so much isolation, anxiety, and worry, it takes a leap of faith to believe what you feel. Our brain can create this new life for us or create so many barriers with the thoughts that we catch ourselves having. We need to have a purpose to feel fulfilled. At a time like this we have to believe in ourselves. Your trajectory changed this year. Your new path may be the best thing that ever happened to you. So be optimistic about your future. Follow your dream.
About the Author:
Patricia Faust is a gerontologist specializing in the issues of brain aging, brain health, brain function and dementia. She has a Masters in Gerontological Studies degree from Miami University in Oxford Ohio. Patricia is certified as a brain health coach and received a certification in Neuroscience and Wellness through Dr. Sarah McKay and the Neuroscience Academy. My Boomer Brain, founded in 2015, is the vehicle that Patricia utilizes to teach, coach and consult about brain aging, brain health and brain function. Her newsletter, My Boomer Brain, has international readers from South Africa, Australia, throughout Europe and Canada. She has also been a frequent guest on Medicare Moment on WMKV and Cincy Lifestyles on WCPO.