When I was a little girl…I was obsessed with I Dream of Jeannie.
When I saw this beautiful woman with long blonde hair put her arms up over her head and shimmy her way into a magic bottle, I knew then, that I wanted to be a belly dancer.
However…it was not until I was 43 years old that I embraced the chance to learn how to dance and within a few short months, my instructor asked me to dance in her troupe and I belly danced for several years.
When I was a little girl…my father tried to teach me to speak French, his native language.
However…he said I was hopeless. He said, “I don’t understand you Lisa, you are a French kid but you are speaking French like an Italian kid. Nowhere on either side of your family are you Italian. I am French Canadian, your mother is French and Cherokee Indian, so why are you speaking Italian?”
I didn’t know.
He taught me a valuable lesson that day…be a sponge and soak up all the knowledge that you can.
If someone offers you a free class…take it.
If someone knows something you don’t…embrace and learn from that person.
If someone has valuable information that may help you in your career, your relationships, your life…then listen to them.
Over the years, I’ve regretted not knowing another language, I’ve regretted not being able to speak my father’s native tongue and I’ve regretted not learning enough from my father while he was here.
So…at 49 years old, I decided to learn another language. I was going to show my father, who passed away in 1986, that I can do this. I can learn a new language, master it and show him I can do this.
So…now I can speak Italian.
A little…un po! 🙂
But the point is, I’m learning and I didn’t think I was too old or too stupid to figure it out, I just wanted to learn something new and I didn’t let anything stand in my way.
Scientist have proven that our brains are a muscle and like our biceps, the more you use them, the stronger they get.
Benefits of learning a new language
Studies have found that speaking two or more languages is a great asset to the cognitive process. The brains of bilingual people operate differently than single language speakers, and these differences offer several benefits.
1. You become smarter
Speaking a foreign language improves your brain by challenging it to recognize, negotiate meaning, and communicate in different language systems.
2. Your decision-making skills improve
According to a study from the University of Chicago, bilinguals tend to make more rational decisions. Bilinguals are more confident with their choices after thinking it over in the second language and seeing whether their initial conclusions will stand up.
3. You improve your English
Learning a foreign language teaches you the mechanics of language: like grammar and sentence structure. You become more aware of language, and the ways it can be structured and manipulated.
Knowing these skills can make you a more effective communicator and a sharper editor and a stronger writer. Language speakers also develop a better ear for listening, since they’re skilled at distinguishing meaning from discreet sounds.
Guess what? These things are good! J
So think about it, when was the last time you learned something new? Just for the fun of it or for the passion of enriching your personal growth.
In closing, let me leave you with a quote from Matthew Lesko:
“It’s never too late to change. It’s never too late to make your life more worthwhile. By the time you reach 50 or 60, you have a good chance of making it to 80 or even 90 years of age. And you might as well be doing what you really want to be doing in the next 40 years of your life, if you didn’t have the chance to do it in the first part.”
Lisa V. Proulx