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Learning: A Lifelong Joyous Occupation

By Trena Winans, Senior Services Education & Community Outreach Director

“Never stop learning, because life never stops teaching.” ~Anonymous

As a person who has dedicated my career to education, you may not be surprised to learn that I am a passionate advocate of lifelong learning. One of the great joys of this career is the constant need to gain knowledge on a variety of topics and skill sets. Through this journey, I see lifelong learners every day. These individuals seek out new experiences, challenge themselves to partake in discussions, and have a keen interest in important events both far and near.

There can be little doubt of the benefits of challenging our minds. Staying curious and thirsting for knowledge exercises our brains. New connections are forged in the brain every time we learn something we had not known before. Not only is the physical brain improved, when we learn, our worldview widens, our conversations deepen, and our ability to connect with other lifelong learners of any age is strengthened. On top of all of that, learning is fun!

Let’s look at some ways we can make learning our lifelong joyous occupation.

  • Read! All reading is fair game! Magazines, blogs, novels, non-fiction—reading these and more are part of our journey of discovery.
  • Take time to process what you learn. It is one thing to read, but a whole new level is achieved when you partake in discussion, journal or meditate on that knowledge.
  • Try something new. Think of any skill you do not currently have. From picking up a new sport, to art, to language, skill-based learning is a great way to keep challenging yourself.
  • Engage in a group learning experience. When you join others, you will hear ideas you never would have come up with on your own!
  • Step away from convictions. Our preconceived notions and assumptions can get in the way of new and expanding worldviews. Actively seek information that contradicts your  viewpoint. Try not to watch the same news source all the time.

Attempt to come at a topic with a fresh perspective.

  • Make time to learn. If you struggle to find time, consider making an appointment with yourself each day. When will you learn today?
  • Spend time with others who think. Not just people you think of as “smart” but consider who in your life always seems curious. Who is always trying some new hobby? Spending time with these people will tend to rub off on you.
  • Alongside your list of to-dos, consider keeping a list of to-learns. Consider it a bucket list for your mind!
  • Teach others!!! There is no better way to learn than to teach. Each and every person reading this has skills, life-stories and gifts to share.

Don’t you hate when you go to a funeral or read an obituary and discover for the first time the most amazing life story and skill set that you never knew about? How amazing it would be if more people stepped forward to share their incredible gifts with others while they could! In February, and again this month, we have articles highlighting a local couple. We also featured them in a Lunchtime Learner session and drew over 120 people who wanted to hear the story for themselves!

What gifts do you have to share? We would love to highlight more amazing local older adults both in their stories and in their skills! Give us a call or send an email to 633-3761 or
Twinans@mccoa.org. Teaching gives the gift of a lifetime of learning to yourself and to others.