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Lifelong learning

Posted August 20, 2014 in Advice Column, Windsor Heights

There are a number of things about the month of August that I am confident about.  August is the last official month for summer. The weather in Iowa will have hot temperatures and high humidity. Most families will be scrambling to complete the things on their summer list. Lastly, school will resume toward the end of August.

As school gets underway, consider making a commitment to lifelong learning. Lifelong learning is a way aging adults keep ourselves challenged, investigate new possibilities and stay engaged with the dynamic world we live in. There are several benefits to maintaining focus on learning for a lifetime. It allows us to keep our minds active and improves memory. Learning facilitates social interaction and increases confidence. Lifelong learning instills a feeling of accomplishment.

There are a multitude of opportunities to learn throughout our communities, churches, senior centers and area colleges. Find something that you are interested in and get enrolled for a class. Many of these are free of charge or at a discount for older adults. We do live in a busy world, and it can be hard to find the time to learn anything that isn’t essential. Even those who do appreciate the practice of lifelong learning can find it difficult to make the effort.  Here are some tips for installing the habit of lifelong learning.
• Always have a book. Set a goal to always have a book that you are reading.  It doesn’t matter if it takes you a week or a year to finish it.
• Keep a “to learn” list. It’s very common to have a “to do” list. Try keeping a “to learn” list. Write down ideas for new things you’d like to learn. Maybe it’s to learn a new language or skill. If it’s written down. you are more apt to do it.
• Teach others. Share your new found knowledge with others.  The repetition of sharing will help to solidify learning.
• Start a project. Do something you’re not familiar with. Learning something new will be both a challenge and fun.

There aren’t many external forces that will persuade you to learn. The desire has to come from within. Once you decide you want to make lifelong learning a habit, it is up to you to make it a priority in your life.

Information provided by Susan Ray, executive director, The Reserve Urbandale, 2727 82nd Place, Urbandale, 515-727-5927.

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