Lifelong Learning Just for the Fun of It
Lifelong learning is more than adult education classes. It’s an attitude that can foster deep personal fulfillment. When you participate in lifelong learning experiences, purely for the fun of it, you not only boost your knowledge but also enrich your life.
Consider these creative ways to constantly expand your horizons and your happiness.
• Take On a Stretch Project. Set out to do something you have no idea how to do. Tap your mental prowess and build a website, or get physical and build a backyard oasis complete with (gulp!) hardscape. Just changing out a faucet can be a stretch project if you’ve never tackled plumbing before. There’s an undeniable thrill and a sense of satisfaction that comes with pushing yourself to learn something totally unfamiliar.
• Try a Short-Term Experience. Whether it’s seasonal work or a volunteer vacation, a short-term “job” experience can provide a life-enriching learning opportunity. Historic sites, art museums, and parks often need peak-time assistance. They offer a host of job and/or volunteer opportunities, from participating in historical reenactments, to becoming a tour guide, to restoring wildlife habitats.
• Consider a Grown-Up Gap Year. Many adult Boomers are taking a career break or jumpstarting retirement with a gap year—they’re taking a year off to embark on a totally different path. Some use the time to learn completely new skills or hone their talents. Others follow a lifelong passion, volunteer abroad, or go on a spiritual retreat. Some who’ve tried it say this is personal exploration at its most extreme and most rewarding.
• Create a Learning Circle. We all know talented people—Joanie creates beautiful ceramic tiles, Nancy knits, and Eva’s ability to concoct decadent desserts borders on professional pastry chef. You also have your own talents and skills. Why not organize a series of social events among friends to share your various talents? Sponsor a monthly hands-on how-to night. Keep it simple and make it fun.
• Teach Others. It’s been said that, “To teach is to learn twice.” When you share your knowledge with others, you grow your own understanding. There are many ways to be a teacher—help train a co-worker, write an article on a topic you know well, or give a workshop presentation.
• Be a Hometown Tourist. Grab a guidebook and visit landmarks and historic places in your own backyard or in neighboring locales. Many tours are free or available for a nominal fee and there are a wide variety of places and subjects to explore.
• Attend Wellness Seminars. Local hospitals frequently sponsor seminars to bring the latest medical information and health tips to their communities and many are free. Raise your health IQ on a wide range of topics including nutrition, stress management, exercise, and yes, bladder leakage.
• Seek Out a Club. What’s your passion? Chances are, there’s a club or group focused on what you love. Getting involved in a club lets you learn from experienced members and gives you the chance to share your own expertise. Many clubs sponsor workshops, speakers or field trips to let you grow your interest or skills. Clubs are also an ideal way to cultivate interest in a new hobby, too.
Your brain has an infinite capacity to learn. Each time it does, your life is enriched in new and exciting ways. Why not learn something new today and every day? Try it and discover happiness in the joy of achievement and the thrill of the effort!