Use it or Lose it
September 30, 2013
After a long spell of being caught up with family affairs, I can say ‘My life is mine again’. Touch wood, while touching base.
Among the processes of getting back to ‘ life as I knew it’ is cleaning house. With a long spell of rainy weather combined with the delightful but strong presence of a two year old; the house certainly needs it. Putting things back, clearing up, giving away a lot of stuff gives one a semblance of order and inner peace. Another activity which I’ve begun recently is a jigsaw puzzle.
Helping kids with jigsaw puzzles at Siragugal made me realise how much I like solving them. When my daughter presented me with a 1000 piece picture of the Twelve Apostles which we’d visited (flown over for 10 precious minutes by helicopter) near Melbourne on the Great Ocean Drive, I was delighted.
Until I unpacked the box and saw the endless tiny pieces of sea and sky cloud when my only thought was ’Oh my God. I can never never do this. Who in their right minds ever does this?’
One day I began. I set up the low table in the living room which gets lots of light. I can see this is a project which is going to spread over months. Normally, one would begin with finding the edges but I don’t think that will work too well with this. I had to begin with sorting the pieces by colour. And then re -sort by shades . Now I’ve learnt to peer closely at the pieces and study the slight differences of colour and pattern. I’m sure there is a magic method which seasoned aficionados use, but I’m learning with this one.
Three weeks later, when one corner of the picture is in place I am hooked. Its become my post -lunch habit to sit there poring over the pieces till my knees hurt or I have to go. Some days I am pulling out and reconsidering and rearranging the pieces again. Some days, all I can put in place are a couple of pieces. But when I know that this is the right spot for this piece, then there is a terrific sense of satisfaction like Wow My Brain is ticking so right.
In the Ywca here at Ooty , there are several framed jigsaws hanging on the walls. I used to wonder why it was such a big deal to hang them on the walls . Now I know.
Jig saw puzzles are not big here in India. We are not a country of hobbies and hobbyists.
But reading up, I believe
Jigsaw puzzles engage the brain to retain information on shapes and colors in order to choose pieces that will fit together properly. This hunt for pieces requires your brain to memorize what each piece looks like or should look like and what kinds of pieces you are searching for in order to complete the picture. Doing this repeatedly reinforces short-term memory.
So I’m hanging on to something that was rapidly slipping away and having fun
Ps: Thanks Anita for prodding me to write again.