frontal lobe · myelin · reflection

Myelin Has Reached My Frontal Lobe

Its amazing how our brains change. How they can suddenly comprehend something that didn’t seem possible before. Im a new believer in the lightbulb theory. I kinda always thought it was just something people said, “the lightbulb went on” or, “it just clicked!” Okay, ya right. Well ya… RIGHT is exactly it.

I have always been bad at math, ALWAYS. I was tutored all throughout high school, and even in college. Suffering through long nights of studying and hours of tutoring, id be lucky to get a B- at best. I haven’t taken a math course in four years, since I was a freshman, and just now I found out that I needed college algebra to graduate. Grudgingly, I enrolled in the class that I knew would be the death of me. It’s past mid-terms now, and I haven’t gone to the tutoring lab ONCE,  I guess you can say, “something fell into place.”

My mom says that your frontal lobe doesn’t develop until your early-to-late 20’s, I didn’t know what this meant exactly so I looked it up…

The results were shocking.

Turns out that its takes the better part of adolescence for our brains to develop a waxy substance called Myelin that coats our brains from back to front. Myelin is like an engine upgrade… it makes everything super efficient and super fast, like a brain zamboni, or a new oil change except we don’t get a new myelin layer every 3,000 miles… sorry. Anyway, it takes about 20-25 years for this myelin layer to cover the entire brain from back to front. As you may have guessed, the FRONTAL lobe, is the front-most part of the brain (stretching from the forehead to mid-skull). Since the frontal lobe is the last section of the brain to receive its myelin layer, it is the last to fully develop. Consequently, for most of our developing years we are stuck using an inefficient, awkward frontal lobe.

No big deal? Well let me just tell you what exactly your frontal lobe does. When fully developed, your frontal lobe deals with intelligent brain functions such as complex decision making, evaluation of cause and effect relationships, accuracy in assesing risks, planning for the future, reasoning, setting of goals and priorities, making sound judgement, and organizing multiple tasks. Conclusion: when developed, the frontal lobe rocks!

I can’t say for sure that my frontal lobe has developed. It would take a series of brain scans and a lot of money to find out for sure if it has, but I can take a strongly educated guess that it has recently developed, or is at atleast in the process of getting myelinated! How do I know? Well how on earth do you explain my sudden adeptness for mathematics? Let me re-highlight “reasoning” from the previous list of frontal lobe functions… I think that “reason” has to do with my brain finally understanding abstract ideas… ’bout time.

I had another “frontal lobe moment” this evening when I was doing my devotions (reading my bible).  I was reading a passage from Matthew, one of the gospels in the new testament. Before I go on let me just add that I think I’ve read the book of Matthew at least a half-dozen times; I grew up in the church and Matthew is a pastoral favorite and sunday school friendly. Anyways, I was reading the chapter where Jesus is tempted by the devil three times, in the last temptation, satan takes Jesus to the top of the world and says, “All this I will give you, If you will just bow down and worship me.” (Matthew 3:9). Jesus answers with, “Away from me, satan for it is written, ‘Worship the lord your God and serve him only.” Um, wow. For 21 years of life I have read/skimmed/typed/taught this passage and yet I never understood the actual meaning until today, Novemeber 4, 2011. At 22 years old it dawned on me… this passage isn’t telling me to physically stay away from worshiping idols, heck thats easy, what it’s actually saying is to not make anything more important than God himself. That includes wealth, desires, relationships, experiences, etc. It was like reading this message in a new light, I thought I had this one covered but turns out… I’ve been serving items and experiences over God for a long time now. The devil tempts us by saying, make money your priority and … well, you can drive a lambo, live in a mansion on Palm Beach Island, and have the help make your california-king-bed every morning. Wouldn’t that be nice? My eyes opened today for the first time and I found that I was in-fact kneeling to the enemy… I had no idea. The best part about this realization is that it didn’t come from a “small group,” it didn’t come from church, and it didn’t come from a theological professor. It came from my own head! Like I said, I’ve read this passage a million times and never understood the real message.

Now I’m not sharing this to say, “look at me, my brain is finished.” No, I’m sharing this because its wild. There is no greater feeling than figuring something out on your own when you doubt it was possible. It still blows my mind that I got a 99 on my College Algebra mid-term and not once did I ask for guidance. It was absolutely incredible to read my bible and pick up something new and profound instead of saying to myself, “well I knew that.” Its like having a brain thats ready to conquer a new level of thinking, and its awesome. If your frontal lobe has developed, or is developing, you know what I mean… or maybe this will help you to recognize your myelin layer as it reaches completion. If your not there yet, hang in there… the lightbulb WILL come on, I promise. One day it will all just… click.

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