Remember how we used to learn everything from books? When researching school essays meant a trip to the library to crack open an encyclopedia? If you wanted to learn how to do something new like the art of origami or how to grout some tile, chances are, you’d always end up with your nose in a physical book.
Today, it’s all on computers.
Information – new news, old news, and everything in between are now literally always at your fingertips.
Kind of makes learning new things a little easier, doesn’t it?
Learning can be fun and it enhances our lives in many ways. Besides the obvious (gaining knowledge of something), it helps us feel accomplished, fulfilled, and connected.
Did you know that learning keeps your brain cells working at optimum levels? According to recent research, this may actually slow cognitive and memory decline in aging adults.
Education improves our overall well-being. It helps us to feel and stay young.
As we age in today’s fast-paced society, maintaining a positive and healthy lifestyle includes being a lifelong learner.
To become a lifelong learner, you don’t necessarily have to go back to school and earn a degree (unless you want to – in which case, heck yeah, you got this!). There are some simple ways you can achieve your desire to stay in the know by using resources you can find online (utilizing those “at your fingertips” devices we mentioned) and in the real world. Here are some ideas!
Read the news. Read books, short stories, and blogs. Reading increases your vocabulary, comprehension, and intelligence. With smartphones, it’s easier than ever to stay informed on local events, breaking news, and happenings all around the world. And, veritably thousands of books can be accessed from any device nowadays.
True – we said you don’t have to go back to school and earn a degree. But, that’s not what we’re suggesting. You can take classes on an a la carte basis in a number of places! Your local college, community center, or senior centers are good places to start your search. Adult education classes can be found on just about any subject. From Shakespeare to learning casino games; if you can learn it, someone somewhere is teaching it. If traveling outside of your home is difficult, you can even join classes online.
Don’t get too hung up on the big picture. Set your sights on smaller objectives that take little time to reach. For example, say you want to learn sign language. Nobody can learn an entire language in one day. But, a couple of signs per day? That’s attainable. Set small goals and celebrate the learning journey rather than the fluency you’ll eventually achieve. Setting short-term goals (and then celebrating them) will keep you engaged, continually excited, and, you guessed it – learning!
Podcasts can be played anywhere. Listen while you work, cook, clean, exercise…whenever you want! Podcasts contribute to your intellectual well-being in the same way reading does. It gives you knowledge that you wouldn’t have otherwise heard and has the ability to strengthen your vocabulary. Depending on the type of show you’re listening to, it can also keep you informed about current events. Podcasts can be accessed from just about any smart device including your phone, Echo, computer, or tablet.
Teaching is a social activity. As you share with others, you’re simultaneously learning more about the person you’re sharing with. You learn a lot about social cues, often without even realizing it. You’re actually polishing your art of interacting with others simply by showing someone how to do something. Furthermore, one of the best ways for you to understand a concept is by explaining it to someone else. No, really! Have you ever had a hard time comprehending something you just read? But once you tried telling your partner or a friend about it…it just suddenly clicked? You’re not alone! This is an actual thing called the protégé effect. It’s when someone puts in more effort to learn information when they’re teaching it to another.
If you’re looking for adult and senior education opportunities, then start here!
Originally published October 09, 2023