I am petrified of retiring. I know that I am most comfortable with a schedule and task to tackle. In working as a Daily Money Manager, I also work with a variety of very accomplished and educated individuals in retirement. While some are happy with their lifestyle, a segment are frustrated or losing step with the pace of change going on around them.
We all need purpose and meaning in our daily lives, and I think in some ways we believe retirement is a time to be free of responsibility … which also contributes back to purpose and meaning. The science seems to tell us that our brain also follows the “use it or lose it” philosophy.
A recent story in Science News reported that Learning Multiple Things Simultaneously Increases Cognitive Abilities in Older Adults. After just 1.5 months learning multiple tasks in a new study, participants increased their cognitive abilities to levels similar to those of middle-aged adults, 30 years younger. Control group members, who did not take classes, showed no change in their performance.
For now, my day job challenges me to problem solve and learn new skills to better run my business. When it’s time to transition from a full-time job, I plan to find at least part-time volunteer and educational opportunities to feed my love of learning … which may also help me maintain my cognitive health.
A Forbes article from earlier this year — Can University Retirement Communities Reverse Aging discusses how a new model for retirement called a “University Based Retirement Communities,” or “UBRCs, is reshaping how many are moving into their post-career lifestyle.
I still have a teen at home and admit that I loved the freedom I had living at college. While I spent a bulk of my time learning, I also had easy access to friends and social engagement. I could see really enjoying a URBC environment when it’s time for me to transition out of running a full-time business.
Most places in the United States have community centers that offer a wide range of classes. In our area, we also have both a local university and local college that offer Lifelong Learning classes for older adults.
You could also combine learning with exercise and try out Yoga, a spin class, or even Pickleball (which is my latest hobby).
As we age and our friends move away or make a celestial departure, it’s hard to build new friendships, but taking a class can at least help you meet people who share a common interest and might be a good way to make a new friend.
There are many benefits to learning at every age. I hope this might give you a reason to try something new. Encouraged.