“The constant happiness is curiosity.”
— Alice Munro
Ah, the thrill of learning and trying new things! And the good news is science says curiosity is good for us as we grow older.
Aside from learning tech tricks for the business, here are a few fun things I’ve picked up over the last month.
— A new hand weaving project. I’m a novice weaver and am probably taking on too complex of an endeavor, but if I don’t try a Chanel-inspired fabric now, something inside me will shrivel up and die. Ever get that feeling? Am in the design stage right now, picking out colors and yarns. Every project teaches me something new.
— Poker. I’m not a poker player, but we were at the beach a few weeks ago with a couple of the WK (wonderful kids) and their amours when I got sucked into watching a replay of the World Series of Poker. A little help from Google and now I know how to play Texas Hold’em. There was not a lot of enthusiasm in my crew to play, so I downloaded the Zynga app and play against other people online (no real money involved). Vegas, I know you want me, but it’s not meant to be. I’d only bring Monopoly money to our relationship.
— A new workout: barre exercise. It combines yoga, ballet, and isometric exercises. I’m up at 5 am to make it to class, and it’s absolutely worth it. I’m getting stronger and more flexible, improving my balance, and meeting the most interesting and inspiring women around my age and older (87!).
Instead of berating myself for having a short attention span, er…being multi-passionate, I’m embracing the good news from the science community that says curiosity is good for us as we grow older. According to a May, 2018 article in Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, curiosity helps older adults maintain our emotional well-being. Okay, that’s great, but wait, there’s more: they found that curiosity is protective against mental and physical decline. Wonderful! Keeping the mind sharp and the body in tune is definitely the way I want to dance through my next 58 years.
The benefits of lifelong learning are seemingly endless.
More positive stats: Pew Research found that:
— 87% of personal learners say their activities helped them feel more capable and well-rounded.
— roughly two-thirds say their learning opened up new perspectives about their lives and helped them make new friends. More connections means more diverse perspectives, leading to an upward spiral in both (see our creativity post for further examples of the upward spiral).
Much like being a creative, there’s no one way to be a lifelong learner.
If you enjoy taking classes (yes, please), then the world is your oyster. You can take classes at a local college in person and online from colleges all over the globe. Once you hit 60, you may be entitled to audit classes for free, at least we are in Virginia state schools. Check your state colleges for their lifelong learning benefits and programs.
Here’s something I wasn’t familiar with: MOOCs – massive open online classes offered by universities and companies (www.mooc.org). They also offer Masters degrees, Professional Certificates and MicroMasters programs. You can find FREE courses in tech, science, and humanities subjects and even an 8-week course from UC Berkeley on The Science of Happiness!
Not looking for a traditional class? Have no fear, there are many ways to learn: Skillshare classes (I’ve taken Pro-Create classes here), Masterclass, checking the public library for lectures and events, making the most of your commute with an audiobook or a podcast, attending local workshops and Meetups, or starting your own (studies show that social connectedness helps you live longer). And don’t forget that there’s always a YouTube video that will show us how to do just about anything!
FYI: I recently discovered Hoopla and Libby which are our library’s free apps for checking out audiobooks. Libby does Kindle books, too. We’ve been Audible subscribers for years and like that service, but now that I’ve discovered Hoopla, we may be cutting back on the Audible. Quick audiobook rec: my husband and I both loved Born a Crime by Trevor Noah and The Rent Collector by Camron Wright.
No matter what your interests are, curiosity certainly helps us put the ‘grow’ in ‘growing older’!
With mirth and laughter , let old wrinkles come .
What sparks your curiosity?