There is a well-known theory in the study of memory called consolidation. It’s the idea that when you take in new information, you need time to process it such that you retain the information.
It’s proposed as a possible explanation for the role of sleep. It has a physical correlate in the processes of the brain (the subject of my Masters thesis). It’s the reason that vegging out, going to bed or even getting drunk after a heavy revision session can all help with retention (I’m not actually recommending the latter!). It even goes some way to explaining Homer Simpson’s problem (“Every time I learn something new it pushes something old out of my brain”).
At the time of writing, barely a month has passed since I spent three weeks climbing in Russia but it seems like a lifetime ago. I’m sure it’s something you can relate to: you get back from a holiday and you’re immediately plunged back into the real world. Work, family, TV, laundy, washing up… You “forget” all about the great trip you’ve just had.
Life is a busy place to be. We’re always trying to cram more things into: 100 Things To Do Before You Die, Must See Places!, “The Next Challenge”. But sometimes it’s important to just sit back and give yourself time to think. Time to reflect and look back on the things you’ve done. Time to appreciate them.
I talk a lot about expeditions and travel but I think this is applicable across the spectrum of life. Give it a try. Turn your computer off. Go for a walk, get behind the steering wheel, make a cup of tea and stare out the window – whatever works for you – give yourself some space and see what pops into your head.
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