We all want to keep our minds sharp and our lives interesting. The best way I’ve found to do that is to always keep learning new skills and stay interested in the world around me. I went back to college — old, really old. I thought it would be so hard but what I found out is that my life experience had prepared me much better than I could have ever imagined. I also found being around young people was invigorating!
If You’re Not Learning Something New . . . You’re Dead Already!
Our brains are a muscle that needs exercise. Learning new skills or studying about something we are interested in can bring a lot of satisfaction and keep our minds in shape. Learning a little will make you hungry for more. I went back for a degree in journalism at the age of 50. After I got my B.A., I went back for my degree in gerontology. I found I just love learning!
I was inspired by a friend of mine, quite a bit older than me who went back to school to become a doctor! Now she already had a nursing degree but at nearly 60 years old she made her dream of becoming a physician a reality!
My own mama was a granny when she went back to earn her high school diploma. She was surrounded by teenagers and 20-something students. It didn’t faze her one bit. She graduated at the top of her class. She was also quite popular with the younger people.
The Social Aspects of Classes and Schools
Attending a class keeps us engaged with others. Just being around new people stimulates our brains and keeps our lives interesting. Everyone has a story and can enrich our lives. We are all social creatures — some more than others, but all of us need people. Without human connections we become the most vulnerable. Those that isolate themselves are at the highest risk for morbidity.
The World is Your Oyster
You don’t have to go back to university to learn something new. More than ever before, most communities offer classes of every sort. My little town of just over 25,000 has numerous exercise classes, art classes, dance classes, sewing and photography classes. We even have a nearby community college that holds regular college courses at the local high school. Businesses such as ceramics studios and fabric stores hold classes all the time. Many universities now offer a full day to seniors free of charge and design classes and courses with older people in mind.
Teach Others and Teach Yourself
There are so many ways to help others while stimulating your own brain. Your local grade schools and high schools hold plenty of opportunities for you to get involved with young people and help them achieve their academic goals. You just cannot stay depressed when you’re helping a youngster learn to read or learn new math skills. Are you a good musician? Many schools have discontinued music classes because they cannot afford to hire a teacher. Your skills and experience can bring music into the lives of young people in your hometown.
Most libraries have literacy classes to help adults learn to read or improve their reading skills. You could make a huge difference in the life of an adult but taking a few hours a week to help them learn to read.
For the Caregivers Out There
Taking a class with your mom or dad can be so much fun. Ask them what they might want to learn and start looking for an opportunity to attend a class together. My best friend, her mother and her brother all took floral arranging classes. They had so much fun! I took photography with my daughter and we loved it.
Learn From Your Older Loved one
What skill does your mom or dad have that you would like to learn? Are they great at crocheting or perhaps they take terrific photographs? Whether it’s cooking or gardening, sewing or quilting, our older loved ones have a lot to teach us if we only ask.