I had a professor once tell me that the best way to improve my vocabulary and writing was to read The New York Times every day, for a year. Easy enough, right? Being an overzealous college student, I decided to give it a try. If you’ve ever browsed through The Times you know that the articles are written in the tiniest font ever and some are really long. I did agree with my professor about learning new words, because I would find myself grabbing for my dictionary quite often but my commitment waned as other interests (i.e. sleep) took precedence.
Since then, I’ve tried on several occasions to make reading the newspaper a habit. I always wanted to be that person. You know, the type you see on a subway or in a cafè holding a cup of hot coffee in one hand with a folded paper in the other. Someone who is up on current events and could hold their own in a Jeopardy showdown. But, I could never find a balance between all of my other interests and keeping the daily newspaper habit. Needless to say, my nightly Jeopardy score has suffered.
Now that I'm older and wiser (I celebrated my 35th bday last week!), I’ve devised a plan on how I can be that person at least once a week. We call it ‘Times Sunday.' It’s the one day where we carve out time to read The New York Times. For the past month, we’ve had the paper delivered just on Sunday morning. It’s great because we wake up early, get some coffee and settle in to read in bed.
learned is that reading the paper for hours is still not enough time to get
through it because the Sunday edition is jam packed with interesting sections
such as Travel, Books and Art as well as the NYT Magazine. And don’t get
me started on the Crossword puzzle, that could easily take up your entire Sunday
(or at least mine).
In order to alleviate the pressure of finishing the paper, we leave it out in our bedroom and come back to it throughout the week. Yes, it takes us a week to read one newspaper but we are totally ok with that. It's all about finding a balance to make time for things you want to do and not stress about getting it all done right away.
According to the book Super Brain: Unleashing the Explosive Power of Your Mind to Maximize Health, Happiness and Spiritual Well-Being (that's a mouth full!), it's a myth that as we age, we lose the capacity to learn. The reality is that we tend to cut ourselves short and eventually lose the desire to fire up our brain.By reading The Times each week, we have been exposed to new cultures, language, ideas, etc. It’s the best investment we’ve made for our mental growth in a long time.
OM the moment
for your mind and make a commitment to do something each week to challenge
yourself mentally. Keep your options open to expand your horizons. If reading the
newspaper isn’t your thing, maybe work on a crossword puzzle, word search or
Sudoku. Our brain is just like any other muscle in the body, the more you use it, the stronger it gets.