My partner often asks me to read what I had written in the day to him, and as my fiction is theoretical physics-based, I often see him struggling to understand, especially after a long day at work.
“What do you mean, Achilles can never beat the tortoise?” He would ask.
“Infinite series, didn’t you learn about it?” I would sigh in exasperation.
“You forget, I didn’t swan around Oxford for 3 years contemplating the universe,” he would retort. “I was busy working to earn a living. Now I want to learn, so teach me.”
He is always trying to get me to think about new things, too. He would throw an academic paper at me across the internet with the subject heading, “Your comment please”… “Don’t be lazy, Tub, THINK!’
Or ‘Let’s learn together!” Welsh????? (OK, my mum is Welsh, but why do I want to learn a language that has 25 ways of saying yes????)
Sometimes, I just want to veg out. At almost 50, I think I deserve it. But against my wishes sometimes (on days I just want to mooch around in bed), we run side by side, we play-fight, we do yoga, we hike. And I am learning how to play the drums!
All this to Alzheimer-proof our brains. That’s a terrible disease that afflicts many, and there is no known cure. From Lisa Genova, this is how to do your best to stop the disease from eating your brain up (it starts at 40!):
- Sleep – good, deep sleep is important, as lack of sleep increases in amyloids in the brain which plasticises neuron connections;
- Cardiovascular health – cardio, cardio, cardio!
- Physical health;
- NEUROPLASTICITY AND COGNITIVE RESERVES – every time we learn something new, we create and strengthen new neural connections. It keeps the ratio of non-functioning synapses (plasticised) to functioning ones low. But the learning has to be rich, paving new roads: sights and sounds, associations and emotions. Thus, doing crossword puzzles doesn’t really help as it is merely retrieving known information. Having a partner who challenges you to learn new things and keep you excited helps your brain health A LOT!!!
Watch Lisa Genova on TEDX, which ends with a strong message, you will never forget your emotional memory:
“You might not remember what I have just said, but you will remember how I made you feel.”
Thus, my love, there might come a time when I can no longer remember you, but some deep part of me will never forget what you once meant to me.