Sunday, January 14, 2007

Birthdays After Thirty

My birthday was on January 9th--I turned thirty-something.
Isn't it funny how you want to avoid the bday at all costs when you get into your thirties? As children, we long for the birthday. It's that one day of the year that belongs to you and you alone--unless you are a twin, of course.
My favourite birthday was my twenty-fifth. I was living in New York at the time, debating whether or not I should move back to Toronto to go to school and 'make something of myself'. I was a mess. My friends took me out dancing, got me drunk and we ended up sitting in our favourite diner at 5 am. The reason I remember this particular bday so much is because I was at a crossroads. The crossroads in your life you will always remember. I liked the feeling of the unknown facing me. It was scary and exciting at the same time--that's a difficult wave to ride but when it comes your way, ride it.

So, I have no New Year's resolutions and I don't plan on making any. I think resolutions are pointless as you always end up failing at them which makes you feel bad about yourself. If you do want to make resolutions, how about ones you can keep like 'I want to watch more TV in 2007' or 'I want to drink more wine in 2007'. Now those are attainable goals.

I finally saw The Departed last night. It was incredible. What a great movie and an amazing cast. Leo needs the Oscar this year so I hope he get's it for this movie--it would be a treat for him to win one for a Scorsese film.

Here is yet another reason one should learn a second language:

Being bilingual can delay onset of dementia
Study: Keeping parts of brain active can stave off Alzheimer's up to 4 years

Updated: 2:52 a.m. ET Jan 14, 2007
OTTAWA, Canada - People who are fully bilingual and speak both languages every day for most of their lives can delay the onset of dementia by up to four years compared with those who only know one language, Canadian scientists said Friday.
Researchers said the extra effort involved in using more than one language appeared to boost blood supply to the brain and ensure nerve connections remained healthy — two factors thought to help fight off dementia.
“We are pretty dazzled by the results,” Professor Ellen Bialystok of Toronto’s York University said in a statement.
“In the process of using ... two languages, you are engaging parts of your brain, parts of your mind that are active and need that kind of constant exercise and activity, and with that experience (it) stays more robust,” she later told CTV television.
The leading cause of dementia among the elderly is Alzheimer’s disease, which gradually destroys a person’s memory. There is no known cure.
Bialystok’s team focused on 184 elderly patients with signs of dementia who attended a Toronto memory clinic between 2002 and 2005. Of the group, 91 spoke only one language while 93 were bilingual.
“The researchers determined that the mean age of onset of dementia symptoms in the monolingual group was 71.4 years, while the bilingual group was 75.5 years,” the statement said.
“This difference remained even after considering the possible effect of cultural differences, immigration, formal education, employment and even gender as (influences) in the results,” it added.

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