The pandemic/retirement combination has given me the time and leisure to turn my formerly occasional diversions into daily practices. On one level, they seem frivolous, but on another serve as calisthenics of the multiple intelligences. Those capacities of the brain to experience and understand the world through the separate (but always intertwined) lens of language, logical mathematical constructs, visual spatial imagery, musical sounds, physical manipulations, emotional responses and social connections. It struck me that my little hidden “vices” are all ways to keep the synapses of those different intelligences firing, exercise their muscles with their particular form of deep knee bends and keep their cardio-vascular systems vibrant and pumping.
Solitaire, especially the one I play that depends upon intelligent choices and patterns perceptions, helps awaken the logical-mathematical capacity of the mind.
Crostics gives the linguistic intelligence its daily workout.
Jigsaw puzzles light up the visual-spatial centers of the brain, fitting pieces together according to shape, color and the context of the whole image.
Then each day I take a giant leap from these pleasant (but muscular) diversions into the world of Bach and jazz on the piano. Here the logical mathematical world of rhythmic divisions and elongations, melodic flights inside the I, IV , V and more chords, intricately connecting lines weaving together joins with the spatial voicings of harmonies that each give different colors to sound and sometimes is married to the poetry of song. All three of the above-mentioned intelligences exercised in partnership with sound (the musical intelligence), feeling (the intrapersonal intelligence), social connection when I play at the Senior Homes (interpersonal intelligences) and kinesthetic intelligence as the hand searches for the right touch and practices the intricate finger coordination.
Thus, music as one of the highest human capacities because it depends on a mastery that includes all seven intelligences. If I had to choose just one daily routine, one discipline, music would be a good choice.
Luckily, no need to choose. And so I happily greet each day with my daily Solitaire, crostics and off and on jigsaw puzzles. As well as a walk or bike ride through the park, a book to read or listen to, a friend to meet occasionally for lunch. We humans have many different parts to exercise!
And you? What are you favorite diversions that help you stay both amused and mentally exercised?