From their first breath, babies begin learning. They are constantly taking in information about the world around them and using it to make sense of their world. At some point in their younger years, some form of formal learning usually takes place whether it be preschool, Sunday school, swimming lessons, art classes, or sports. They then continue with formal education (homeschool, public school or private school) until about the time they become legal adults.
Some choose to continue their formal education by going to university or college or technical or vocational school. Others take evening courses or attend seminars.
Studies of neuroplasticity in the brain tell us that the brain is continuing to form and develop throughout our lives and can change even in middle or old age. Your brain actually undergoes physical changes whenever something new is learned or memorized. That’s pretty powerful.
Recent studies suggest that learning a second language, even as an adult, could delay the onset of dementia by several years. It used to be thought that decline of brain function with age was just a given, but it is now known that a lifetime of intellectual stimulus seems to combat the decline and protect the brain from the usual effects of aging.
It is never too old to learn a new skill or to further your education. You don’t have to go to school to learn. There are many ways you can keep your brain sharp and continue to expand your knowledge.
- take evening classes
- learn an instrument
- attend seminars in an area of interest to you
- sign up for conferences or conventions that interest you
- listen to speakers (online through podcasts or in person)
- take a public speaking class
- go to a cooking demonstration or class
- attend decorating or floral arranging classes at a local greenhouse or garden center
- take a pottery or other type of art class
- learn a new language
- listen to those you know who are experts in a certain area
- go on tours of places you are interested in (kind of like an adult field trip!)
- did I mention reading?!
Just last week, I was able to listen to an online summit on Educating Traumatized Children. From the comfort of my living room, I was able to hear informed speakers on topics that were of interest to me and expand my knowledge in this area, which will help me in homeschooling my kids, two of whom have experienced trauma.
Although I have put my official pursuit of formal education on hold, I have continued to learn about topics that I am passionate about. I love learning and when there is a topic that I want to learn more about, I devour books on the subject, attend any seminars or courses I can find in my area, talk to others who are further along in their studies on the issue than I am, and find information online through websites and podcasts.
Learning enriches my life and hopefully makes me somewhat more interesting. I’m also hoping that it helps to keep my brain sharp as I age. My father-in-law who is in his 80s is still very quick and still has a very good memory. I don’t think that it is a coincidence that he is also someone who enjoys puzzles, strategy games and reading.
So for today’s assignment on your journey towards the life you want, consider what it is that you would like to learn and then take a step towards that even if it’s just reading one article on the subject or checking out a book at the library.
Join us this month as I share ways to help you move towards the life you want to live. Join me in the challenge. Ready to jump off the cliff?