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    Shake Up Your Brain a Bit: Get Outside Your Comfort Zone By Kathleen Rehl

    Kathleen M. Rehl, Ph.D., CFP®, CeFT® Emeritus



    In Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s latest book, Keep Sharp: Build a Better Brain at Any Age, he says “The act of experiencing something new—or even doing something that’s typical for you, but in a different way—can all generate these new brain cells.” He’s a practicing neurosurgeon and associate professor of medicine at Emory University School of Medicine. Gupta is also CNN’s chief medical correspondent.

    Gupta says your ability to process, understand and apply knowledge “can actually get sharper, can get better as you get older. . . It is sort of the use it or lose it phenomenon when it comes to the brain.” He’s a strong advocate of doing new and different activities to stimulate your brain, rather than repeating the same things over and over again.

    Following his advice, I tried a poetic form I’ve never used before—a villanelle. It’s a French verse structure with five three-line stanzas and a final four-line stanza. The first and third lines of the opening stanza repeat, alternately in the following stanzas. Line lengths are 8-10 syllables. Specific rhyming schemes are used. Composing my poem was a challenge as I stepped out of my comfort zone. Yes, I felt my brain stretch in creating the following piece:



    Banish Anti-Aging Ads Away

    By Kathleen M. Rehl




    “Be useful more than youthful,” I say
    Forget impossible lures
    Banish anti-aging ads away.



    Costly serums claim “look younger today”
    Fix sagging boobs, get facelift with knife cures
    “Be useful more than youthful,” I say.



    Advice to win the war against grey
    Makeup tricks can’t add brain cells for matures.
    Banish anti-aging ads away.



    Magic diets promise pounds melt away
    All super quick, no pain, sincerely yours
    “Be useful more than youthful,” I say.



    Products aren’t a rejuvenation way
    Targeting boomers, ads are dinosaurs
    Banish anti-aging ads away.



    Stop fickle focus on old cliché
    Celebrate your purpose that restores
    “Be useful more than youthful,” I say.”
    Banish anti-aging ads away.



    I encourage you to try something new and different to “shake up your brain a bit,” too. Have fun!



    Kathleen M. Rehl, Ph.D., is a Certified Financial Planner™ and author of Moving Forward on Your Own: A Financial Guidebook for Widows. Happily “reFired,” she enjoys writing
    legacy poetry and stories plus assists several nonprofits. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger’s, CNBC, USA Today, and many other publications. Her website is at