One of the things that makes my 60s so enjoyable is that I have discovered the fountain of vitality in the form of learning. Learning contributes to the joy and purpose in my life. Each morning I make a cup of tea and go into my office where I study.
Right now I am studying Lisa Cron’s book, Wired for Story as well as reading a novel by Ian McEwan, Atonement. These are my books for this month and next. Cron’s book is teaching me how to create emotional logic in my novel. And McEwan’s book is an example of how it is done.
After I read, I write. I am learning to be a novelist. I am giving myself to the process and the practice, a daunting and exhilarating experience. The commitment and discipline to study feeds my vitality. Learning can nurture the body, heart and mind.
The process of learning has the potential to enliven us and inspire us.
You are never too old to learn. My husband, who still works as a consultant, recently found out that he could audit classes at the university with permission from the professor. As a result, he attends an advanced music theory class twice a week with students who could be his grandkids. He is stimulated and excited and it’s improving his bass playing. Most importantly, the challenge of learning brings him joy.
The choice to keep learning throughout one’s life can create purpose as well as community, and being 65 plus has its perks – one of them is the abundance of learning opportunities available to seniors.
Many colleges and universities offer classes that you can audit (no fee). Ever want to learn women’s anthropology? There is probably a class on that at a nearby college or community college. Call the administration office and ask about audited classes for senior citizens.
Many colleges have a life-long learning center that offer classes for our elder population. In my community you pay a yearly fee and you can take as many classes as you want to.
You can learn just about anything online and a good deal of it is free. So many online classes now offer webinars or videos that you can watch at your own pace. For some of us, we learn best when we hear and see an instructor speaking rather than just reading something. What interests you? I’ll bet you can find a class for it on-line. Udemy.com and Coursera.com are great places to start.
Probably one of the most under-utilized resources in a community is the library. Those quiet institutions not only contain books on every subject imaginable, but they are also a great resource for classes and lectures.
Many churches offer a wide variety of classes for seniors at no charge.
More than just classrooms, these centers offer a good many physical classes, such as dancing, Pilates, yoga or swimming, all at discounted fees or with no fee at all.
Learning something new staves off depression, boredom and anxiety. It keeps the mind engaged with life. It provides opportunity for community and can foster a sense of wellbeing. Choosing to learn is a positive action that anyone can take. You can study anything from gratitude to how to make crepes. And if it gets you out of the house a few times a week, all the better.
What’s that one thing that you have always wanted to learn? Would you take a community class or study on-line? What experiences do you have with on-line or university classes? Do you agree that you are never too old to learn? Please share with us in the comment section.
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