Lifelong Learning, Exercise For The Mind

by Kevin Burton

   Had some fun last week speculating about new hobbies that could take the place of fantasy football, should that pastime drive me too crazy.

   I was picking from a list of 50 hobbies for seniors on the website A few of the hobbies, such as axe throwing, were laughable and I did my laughing.  Some sparked a real interest though.

   At the top of that list was lifelong learning.  I’m not sure lifelong learning qualifies as a hobby per se, but seeing it on that list reminded me of how little I take advantage of plentiful opportunities to learn.

    “Those passionate about expanding their knowledge and expertise should continue their lifelong learning pursuits,” wrote Maddy Crozier who compiled the list of hobbies. “With both online and in-person classes available, active adults can learn foreign languages, history, art, architecture, creative writing, and anything else that sparks their interests. Plus, there are plenty of free courses and lessons online.”

   I love the concept of lifelong learning and also of educators teaching people how to think, how to reason, how to gather and use data to for the best interests of self and family.

   I don’t know that I invented it, but I have often used the term “nimble-minded” to describe someone adept at gathering and sifting through sometimes complicated information on the fly, making the most of it.

    In the past I have watched some songwriting seminars. I have seen maybe 20 You Tube videos about Watergate. But there is a lot more I could be doing.

   Instead of watching the video of the 1995 “refuse to Lose” Mariners beat the Yankees for the thousandth time, I could get some information about search engine optimization.  I’m sure it’s out there.

   When you stop learning you stop growing and stop living in one sense of the word. Your brain needs exercise just as your body does.

   The hobbies list includes joining a book club. I will include that one under the lifelong learning umbrella, provided of course you are selective about the books you read. Listening to podcasts and volunteering are also listed. These can also fit under lifelong learning.

   Some of the hobbies, such as hiking and bowling, are ones I have done occasionally and would do again. Maybe camping, maybe boating, while trying not to combine the latter with swimming.

   Gardening and fishing are hobbies I would be into if I could be fairly good at them and get some food out of it.  Surely there are You Tube videos on how to clean fish that could get me there. 

   This catch and release thing I have never understood.  If I’m spending all that time and money on fishing equipment and actual fishing, the purpose would be to put food on the table. 

   Speaking of food, cooking is an occasional hobby that I’ve been doing lately. Playing an instrument (keyboard) is one I have let slide. Shame on me for that one especially.

   I have never tried candle making but wouldn’t mind trying. We like the Yankee Candles a lot.

   “When you make your own candles, you can customize everything about them, from the calming scent and color to the shape of the holder,” Crozier writes. “Candle making is a deceptively simple hobby, and there are so many different waxes, essential oils, and containers to choose from, leading to endless combinations to try. Candles also make great gifts and crafts to sell for a little extra money.”

   Other hobbies?  Adopting a pet, done that times two. Board and card games, both ongoing for us. Travelling, love that one and we are just about to get back into it.

   Writing? Not sure that one would ever get off the ground. Maybe Jeannette can try that one.

   We’ve just entered the fourth quarter of the year. I don’t believe in New Years resolutions or in waiting until a certain day to start or re-start good habits. But entering that season gets me thinking along those lines.

   With all these things plucked from Crozier’s list and many more I could look into, looks as if I have my play cut out for me.

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