Use It or Lose It

man running at marathon event
Photo by Luka Siemionov on

I listen to podcasts at the gym, the only time I can listen to them without constant interruptions, and so my attention is drawn away from the mundane discomforts of necessary exercise. My three current interests in podcast subject matter include languages, history, and literature. If you want to learn a language without spending a ton of time and money, I highly recommend the following phone apps: Pinterest, Duolingo, and Podcast Go. The latter app in conjunction with a good set of affordable wireless Soundpeats will give you the opportunity to learn a great deal of things you may have missed out on during your formal education, most notably, history and literature.

My most recent podcast adventure was History Matters with Patrick Wyman and Keith Pluymers. I like to think of it as a world history introductory course, which it definitely was for me. I have not had much opportunity to study this area formally, so I borrowed an old college textbook from a young man who is currently in college and a neighbor of mine. I’m still working on dragging myself through it, page by boring page, when I have “time” to do so. Conversely, I was able to knock off the podcast in a matter of a few weeks. While learning some basic things historians use in their studies, such as “flows,” or “narratives,” the podcast is relevant to issues concerning us now, such as “globalization” and “economic inequality.” I was particularly fascinated by the parallels drawn between ancient civilization and Trumpism. As the Holy Bible’s book of Ecclesiastes, King James Version chapter 1 verse 9 states,

The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.

When I finished listening to the History Matters series, I decided to focus on literature. I recently found the Literature and History Podcast. After listening to the first episode, I’d say this little gem is the best of both subjects. Plus, there is a corresponding website with transcripts, quizzes, and bonus content. I missed two questions on The Tower of Babbel quiz – not bad! I must warn you that this lesson would probably be frowned upon by biblical literalists who believe that every word of the Bible happened exactly as it was written. Personally, I think the visions, dreams, and prophesies of the Bible leave a great deal to ponder and discover, and that’s done on purpose by the authors of the text. In my opinion, a faith that leaves room for inquisitiveness is sure to become a stronger faith because of it. I will say that the first episode positively blew me away, and I’m very excited to continue learning from future episodes.

The phrase “use it or lose it” refers to health and memory, but science is finding that it may also refer specifically to brain health. I encourage you to spend time giving your brain it’s own workout by exposing it to new stimuli and ideas. Seek, study, and explore whenever you get the chance, because this is what we were made to do. I predict we can all prolong our lives and memories through the routine exercise of body AND mind.


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