I can go very bad places in my head when my mind is not occupied. I know this, and thus I registered for College Algebra via an online course this summer. The class started on May 16th. I started on April 22nd. The class ends on July 24th. I completed it by the 6th. Today is the 9th. I have completed the three math tests required of me to begin nursing school on the 29th of August and have already begun to study one of the several books also required for the nursing program.
I'd like to believe that someday I'll be balanced and serene enough to spend time in that mythical place they call "retirement", but I suspect that will not be the case. My brain is active (hyperactive) and is serving me well in the late-in-life course of study I have chosen. For that I am grateful. However, it is not my friend when I allow it to idle. I've lived on the dark side for most of my life; apparently that is my default setting. There are worse things than cramming information into one's gray matter until the moment of death, but it does sound like a bit of an effort.
It's not that it's impossible for my mind to be settled and mellow; I have studied and practiced meditation and have been sporadically successful at achieving states of "emptiness" for admittedly brief spans of time, but it takes a gigantic amount of effort for me to meditate. The right place, incense, the right sort of pillow on which to sit, silence, making sure that my eyes are positioned correctly, that my back is straight, and that my hands are in the relaxed curve they are supposed to form.
My hope is that I will make an excellent nurse. The body is old, but the mind is still working. What a relief it will be to focus that mental energy on helping others.