Doing Something for Yourself
Maybe Helping Others
As hard as it is to conceive for some of us, there might be other things to do than play a daily round of golf or bridge, watch endless offerings from whatever streaming service you have, or whatever else you may have taken up to occupy all that time you now have post retirement. Maybe you should consider activities that challenge yourself and keep your brain young, maybe learn something that could benefit your spouse, family, or community. Maybe even take up something that you’ve always wanted to try or will allow you to start a new enterprise or join an existing business or non-profit.
What I am urging you to consider is to take steps to further your education by improving or updating your credentials or skills, or even venture into new areas that are of an interest to you or of use to your family or community. Maybe even learning technology skills that will help us make sense of the many devices and services that we attempt to deal with daily.
There are, literally, thousands of sources for new educational opportunities. With the vastly increased emphasis on and availability of on line courses, you need not even leave your home if you don’t want to. In addition to on line courses, some are a combination of in person and on line; some are Zoom classes that combine the comfort of staying at home with the ability to interact with the instructor and other students. It is no longer “one size fits all” in education.
The majority of colleges and universities in the US offer tuition-free courses for seniors. The free classes do not give you credit, and are subject to space available, but are available over a broad range of topics. Just like your “classmates”, you will most likely have to buy your own textbooks or any other materials needed, but some campuses may give senior discounts or you may be eligible for a grant (see link below). If strictly academic pursuits are not what interests you, you can often find skill-based classes at trade schools or community colleges. At both college and other settings there are often classes awarding participants CEUs (continued education units) or certificates of completion, if that interests you.
Internationally the online courses offered by US universities are available or, there are other outstanding resources you might try as well. One of which is U3A U3A International – U3A International Activities and Information. U3A Online | U3A Online (Great Britain) u3a - Home (Australia)
In addition to the intrinsic rewards of gaining skills or knowledge, there are several other benefits to consider:
There is research that shows that any intellectual stimulation improves memory and may reduce the vulnerability to dementia. In fact, there are studies that show that learning and reading actually lowers stress and decreases blood pressure, which lessens the risk of heart disease and stroke. By giving you a sense of accomplishment and purpose, you can feel good about yourself and decrease your chances of developing depression or anxieties.
Another benefit is that you will have the opportunity to meet and be challenged by others. As you engage with instructors and other students, you are introduced to a completely new social circle that will prevent you from being socially isolated while broadening your worldview.
So break your routine, try something new, go alone or get a friend to join you, but please do give serious thought to the benefits, satisfaction, and fun of taking advantage of the educational opportunities at your fingertips.
Seniors in Education - Grants for Seniors
Senior Education: Information and Resources for Senior Citizens (seniorresource.com)