Date Night

by Allen

OHSU Brain Awareness Date NightSeveral years ago, my wife Mary and I discovered a  new, exciting way to rekindle our romance:  We started going to the OHSU Brain Institute’s BRAINet luncheons. This then led us to the OHSU Brain Institute’s Brain Awareness Series lectures. Going to a Brain Awareness Series lecture has become “date night” for us: We drive downtown, do a little shopping, have dinner somewhere new, and then go to the lecture. It’s more fun than a movie. We both like to learn.

We’ve been going for three years, and have found that the more you get into the BAS lecture series, the more things it gives you to be curious about. I’m 71, I’m not going to be a neurosurgeon, I’m not trying to compete with these guys. I just want to learn. It’s like going to a baseball game: You’re not going to play the game, you just want to have fun and enjoy.

The OHSU Brain Institute, selects neuroscientists who are really great speakers. We’ve seen Larry Sherman a few times - he talks a lot about nature vs. nurture, as well as what we inherit and what we learn. He’s a natural entertainer, bringing science to a relatable level. Douglas Fields is like the Garrison Keillor of neuroscience:  a wonderful sense of humor. But I can’t say I have a favorite. All have been wonderful. There’s no one I wouldn’t go back and hear again.

When I go to OHSU Brain Institute events, I feel like I’m about to discover a new land, like Columbus. The issues discussed apply to more than just neuroscience; they apply to society. For example, how can we best develop creativity - and use it to solve problems in organizations. Don’t just think out of the box, throw away the box!

We love the lectures because they are relaxed, educational and well-done. You walk away with an understanding. For us, the date night is to enhance the romance of our marriage: We’ve been best friends for 52 years, and married for 50. Learning is one of the things we like to do together. We sometimes attend with friends or neighbors, but we’ve also met a ton of great people at the events: We now have a whole circle of friends we’ve met through Brain Awareness Season who are also curious about life and learning. More than solely sitting there and listening to the lectures, it’s the whole package.

I believe everyone has a natural curiosity. It’s built into us. Some of us get out of the habit. We need to be like kids: Just be curious. We get so caught up in our lives that we push down the curiosity and some of us don’t grow. Life is about growing, not coasting - and going to the Brain Awareness Lecture Series is an important part of that.