The famous F. Scott Fitzgerald said, “For what it is worth: It’s never too late to be whoever you want to be. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start over.”
I have found that retirement is a perfect time to “start over” and to live your “best life.” Becoming a lifelong learner is energizing and a perfect way to stay connected to the world. If you are able to explore learning destinations through travel, go for it. If you prefer to do all of your learning online and you are motivated to challenge yourself, do it!
Online learning resources can be difficult to find, so I have listed a few that can be found online. I will start with my favorite:
The Great Courses Plus
Love, love, love this! I have always wanted to learn photography and I have taken live classes in the past. I always seem to forget much of what I learned as soon as I leave class, so I have found the National Geographic Fundamentals of Photography course as an excellent resource for me. I can review the courses as often as I like and the repetition helps with retention.
We have purchased DVDs from The Great Courses for years and now we have access to The Great Course Plus! I honestly cannot get enough of it! The Great Courses Plus is a subscription video on demand streaming service that features many of the same courses available for individual sale from The Great Courses. With thousands of in-depth videos by the world’s greatest professors, you’ll always have something fascinating to learn about. No matter how much you watch, there are no commercials! You can pause, rewind, fast forward or re-watch as often as you like and, let’s be honest….even seniors have ADD! The Great Courses will continue to create and sell video and audio downloads, DVDs and CDs, as well as provide free streaming for purchased courses. Check out their online catalog for offerings from partners like National Geographic and Smithsonian. Prices range depending on length, format and complexity.
For those who enjoy a more community approach to learning, this site offers a daily class schedule on a range of topics. Their landing page aptly reads “Take the Leap!” The classes are offered by some of the world’s top experts in their field. The diversity in topics includes photo and video, art and design, music and audio and craft and maker. Always wanted to play the drums? Take the class! Want to set up an Etsy or You Tube business? Take the class! Be careful because it is so easy to become immersed in learning with Creative Live! I started watching their videos early one morning and didn’t come up for air until lunchtime!
I recently watched a class on self-doubt and it helped me move forward in developing this blog! The classes are live but you can also purchase the video lessons, if desired. A daily calendar shows the topics available on any given day. Good news! There is an app as well!
This free online site helps you learn a new language or refresh your skills, such as those you learned during your 2 years of never used high school French. The lessons are short and are in a format that feels like you are playing a game. You can learn to comprehend, speak, and write in more than 20 languages and you can set the system to pace yourself in time frames of your choice.
Our world is getting bigger and bigger, or at least I hope it is. We are no longer stuck in a place where everyone looks and speaks like us. Life is so much more interesting these days. According to this site, America does not have an official language. English is our native language, but Americans speak many languages. Many of us have family members who are bilingual. Our children and grandchildren will be advantaged in business if they can fluently speak more than one language. Don’t you want to keep up with the times as well?
Learning another language has never been this readily available. You no longer need a physical school, a classroom, or a physical professor to get started. Besides Duolingo there are numerous online language instruction programs, such as Rosetta Stone, that allow you to learn the language of your choice in the comfort of your own home.
There are added benefits to learning a new language. Seniors who learn a new language open themselves up to different sections of the world and new awakenings. Our world expands as does our mind and our attitudes. Learning a foreign language also opens the door to an entire world of potential new friendships. Much research has been done showing that socializing later in life is extremely beneficial for your physical and mental well-being. If you don’t believe me, just Google it! But, if you can’t speak the same language, forming new bonds can be challenging at best. Get together with friends and have a “Learn the Lingo Supper Club “or Lunch and Learn” so that you can combine socialization, food, and learning all in one neat package! Insist that everyone speaks only the foreign language of choice. Let the laughs begin! Side note: Wine always helps at these functions. Tip: Bring a wine from the country whose language you are learning.
Lets talk about the elephant in the room as well. Dementia. the “D” word. Speaking more than one language appears to help the brain resist the effects of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), according to a study by Italy’s Vita-Salute San Rafffaele University in Milan. See, a few courses on Duolingo and I am quoting an Italian study! The study, “The impact of bilingualism on brain reserve and metabolic connectivity in Alzheimer’s dementia,” appeared in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The article states that delaying the onset of dementia is a top priority of modern societies, and the present in vivo neurobiological evidence should stimulate social programs and interventions to support bilingual or multilingual education and the maintenance of the second language among senior citizens.