Three years ago, on another blog, I introduced the ‘Keep Your Brain Active Challenge,’ concept with an aim to encourage others to stay active mentally as well as physically. Although the phrase has not [yet] become a popular jingle, I remain committed to talking about the importance of activity and the positive effects on the brain.
Over the past month, while I myself have been generally dispirited, in part due to a personal situation, I made an effort to meet with people who are noticeably immersed in inspirational levels of activity. In today’s post, meet Scott and Rick who impressed me with their engagement in social interactions.
Research shows that people who are regularly engaged in social interaction maintain their brain vitality. [alz.org]
My friends and I were having lunch on the deck of a restaurant overlooking Ann Lake in Minnesota. It was hot and sunny – I love to sit in the sun and my friends indulge me. From the only other occupied table on the deck, the sound of music wafted toward us.
A soulful voice singing a country music song accompanied by strumming guitars was a perfect backdrop to the view of the wide quiet lake below. The pleasant after-lunch digestive was provided by Scott and Rick, two long-time friends playing for their own enjoyment and their homage to nature; and we got a delightful interlude.
“Music brings peace, harmony, tranquility and contentment,” said Scott.
Scott’s and Rick’s history goes back many years. In the 1980’s they were coworkers and subsequently friends in the Minneapolis School District; and as friends often do, they became interested in each other’s leisurely activities. Consequently, Scott, who had been playing guitar since childhood, taught Rick how to play a few chords on the guitar.
The friends eventually changed jobs and lost contact with each other for many years. Rick continued to improve his guitar skills to the point where he started a band; meanwhile Scott continued to practice his craft. Rick led his band for over fifteen years playing gigs all over the state.
In 2012, both men now retired, reunited fortuitously at a cafe. They talked for several hours, continuing their conversation on a park bench outside. With their guitars irresistibly nearby on their motorcycles, the evening ended with them playing and singing together. It was the beginning of the rest of their lives making music together.
The joy Scott and Rick experienced playing together that evening at the cafe is at the core of their life’s philosophy – “to bring joy to others.”
Both men and their families are involved in activities for seniors where they not only provide musical entertainment, but more importantly participating with the groups.
Scott and Rick especially appreciate the opportunity to engage in personal conversations with the residents at the nursing homes they visit. “Listening is paramount,” said Scott. “By learning how to listen to each other, Rick and I created a unique sound.”
For as long as they are able, Scott and Rick plan to be active – dance, learn new songs, entertain at nursing homes, and play their guitars after lunch at cafes where allowed. “It’s worth the effort. It’s fun. It’s rewarding, and brings joy to other people,” concluded Rick.