After a quick, staycation plus a couple of days at the coast, we’re back at the wheelhouse here. What a fun time it has been! While the roller coasters have been exciting, the stock market and the political scene have been a constant, wearying round of ups and downs.
The only thing that has kept me stable has been my effort to learn a new language. It has engaged my entire brain, leaving no room for the roller coasters. Here are two examples of how language learning can take over the entire brain:
A few years ago my dentist told me I needed to get a root canal. Now, I have not accepted the Needle of Numbing since I was 22 years old, when a numbing shot caused my heart to race. Now THAT scared me!
The dentist was Swiss, so he had no problem drilling without giving me novocaine, or whatever, as long as I didn’t move. He was cool, too! As he worked, we discussed my favorite topic even then – politics! He liked Barry Goldwater!
Whenever the pain got bad, I would think, “No matter how much this hurts, it can’t kill me, as painkiller to the heart could.”And the pain would diminish. Also, the dentist adopted the brilliant practice of saying, “Just about five seconds more.”
Again, the pain would diminish. And I’d leave the office with no numbness and not returning pain a few hours later as the drug wore off. A win-win, IMO.
Back to the recent past. I laughed as the dentist and her assistant shuddered at the thought of me not getting a shot. Of course, I had prepared. Took an aspirin a half hour before the procedure started. Fired up a CD-player with earphones in my ears.
The CD was a song sung in Ladino, the beautiful language of the Sephardic people who had left Spain in 1492 and spread throughout the world, always keeping their culture and language alive.
If I listened very carefully to the CD, I could understand the songs. Then, I was interrupted from my reverie by my dentist saying, “Okay, that’s it. We’re done.” What??? Huh? Angrily, I accused her of secretly giving me a shot.
She vehemently denied that. And, truly, I realized I didn’t feel numb. But, I also hadn’t felt a thing. My expectation had been that it wouldn’t hurt much, not that it wouldn’t hurt AT ALL!
My second language-learning experience was scary. Again, I had a CD, but this time I was learning a completely new language. I had a 45-minute drive to Portland once a week, so I thought I could avoid wasting time, listen, and learn on the way.
I got all set up, but had to stop at the grocery store before heading up to the city. I got back into the car, fired up the CD, started to back out of my parking space — and nearly hit a parked car behind me!
My brain had been totally engaged in trying to answer a question on the CD in the new language. I ripped the earphones out, turned off the CD and never tried that again. I had listened to Books on Tape with no problem, but trying to respond by pulling words out of my brain was an entirely different mental exercise.
So, there you have it. The power… and the weakness, of the brain.
Note re: the market. Stay on the sidelines. Think of the cash you are accumulating as earning 3% to 4% by NOT being invested in a stock whose price is declining by that much.
For the math-challenged – say, the stock goes from $100 to $80 dollars. You still have $100, so you have “made” $20! Even more than 3%!
However, if you have followed my advice to get good dividend-paying stocks, you are earning a higher percent because the dividend stays the same while the price goes down. Win-win. Ah, life is good.