Keeping Your Brain Active and Alive

Stephen F. Dennstedt

I never wanted to become THAT stereotypical stodgy old man. Two things seem to help me with that effort: travel and technology. One is fun and the other is a constant frustration—I love full-time travel but find rapidly changing technology challenging. You have to appreciate that my first telephone was a rotary dial phone (with a party-line), I was a kid when Russia launched the first satellite (Sputnik 1) into space, I saw Elvis Presley on the Ed Sullivan show and I used a Slide-rule in high school for math problems (no computers or calculators).

I was born in 1947 so you can do the math (or can you?). Just my little dig at technology—many young folks today have a difficult time doing math without a computer or calculator. I have seen a lot and experienced a lot but I can still be surprised and AMAZED. Travel amazes me and technology very often surprises me. Everything is a computer now. I recently bought a new travel watch (a Casio Pro Trek) and it’s like something out of Buck Rogers’ world. With the flip of my wrist and a quick button-push I can see: world time, compass heading, barometric pressure, altitude and temperature.

Because everything is a computer everything has to be initially programmed: from mobile phones, to watches, kitchen appliances and even new cameras. While I’m back in the USA for a short visit (after five years) I’ve refreshed my camera gear (and I’ve written about it a lot lately on this blog—see recent posts). New digital cameras are a far cry from the old film rangefinder cameras of yesteryear. I’ve struggled to program and learn my new Canon EOS 5 Mark IV for two or three days (my old brain works slow). I finally completed the task yesterday after much frustration but now feel a deep sense of satisfaction. Learning something new isn’t always an easy enterprise but it does leave you with a sense of accomplishment—and dare I say it—it helps to keep you young.


4 responses to “Keeping Your Brain Active and Alive

  1. Loved this! Thanks to Don for reblogging. And you are absolutely correct about how good it is for your brain to force yourself to keep stretching – neuro-protective (lower dementia stats in life-long learners).

    One of my father’s friends, internationally-known Director/Cameraman Bill Gibson, started his long career as a photo-journalist – and wrote an amusing and fascinating book about some of his many experiences “in the trenches” (WWII era – the photos are incredible for WHAT he photographed).

    If you’ve never read it, it has your name on it: No Film in My Camera (he explains the title at the end, btw).

    It’s an older book (circa 2000), so you can often find it used. I got my copy on Amazon on the recommendation of my Dad (the Brandy Griffith mentioned in one of the chapters, btw).
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMORE dot com)
    ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder
    “It takes a village to educate a world!”

    • Thank you for taking the time to comment. Your book recommendation sounds very interesting indeed. I met quite a few combat photographers (both civilian and military) when I was serving my time in Vietnam as a young Marine Corps Sergeant. I often thought about following in their footsteps but I got married and life intervened. Now, in my senior years, I am doing what I always dreamed of doing. Hopefully I have a few more years before this old body wears out. If you’re interested checkout my website at 🙂

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