Monthly Archives: May 2011

A new grief…

I am currently confronting something that has been creeping up on me over recent years, but is now right in my face.  The actual number that goes with my age has never worried me but I’m becoming increasingly aware that the more years I pile up, there are things now happening to my body that I don’t enjoy.  I now have osteoarthritis in my knees and can no longer squat down, because they simply will not bend as fluidly as they used to when I was younger.  If I have to retrieve something from underneath my desk, this takes a concentrated effort to not only get down but to get up again.  Fish oil, glucosamine + chondroitin and slow release pain-killers definitely help and I’ve almost accepted this reduction in movement.

However, I am now being faced with the slowing down of my mental capacity.  I have just started a week in a homestay to learn a foreign language before meeting a friend to spend three weeks soaking up the culture of the country.  I studied for several months using CDs but nothing has prepared me for the difficulty of learning from a professional teacher.  He is determined that I will learn ‘properly’; this means understanding the grammar.

I am someone who constantly bemoans the appalling standard of English used by the majority of people these days – those to whom this is their native language.  There seems to be a cavalier attitude towards using the correct tense of words, or understanding that past, present and future tenses even exist.  It drives me nuts when I hear a newsreader using a word incorrectly or see journalists writing badly constructed sentences.  People in these professions especially ought to know better.

Now I am being forced to reassess my judgment.  While I agree with my Italian teacher’s opinion that you cannot learn to speak a new language if you don’t know the correct way to write or say things, I now realise that it’s not so easy to learn.  I believe that being taught properly while we are in Primary School and continuing into High School is the best way to go.  Our brains are young and super absorbent at this stage of our lives.

My grief now is that I feel I’ve left it too late to learn another language; my brain is just not capable of retaining information the way it used to.  Why, oh why didn’t I start lessons when I first thought about it – about 35 years ago?!  What makes it sadder is that I think the anxiety I’m suffering because I can’t remember from one lesson to the next what I’m supposed to have learned, is actually making it even harder for my brain to store the new knowledge I so desperately want and was so excitedly anticipating.  Knowing this isn’t helping… getting older sux!

www.janegillespie.net