Learning should be an essential part of our daily lives. No matter your interests, reading; travelling; public speaking; cooking classes or doing crossword puzzles, all add to the pleasure of daily life’s lessons. The end result is we are happier for accomplishments achieved – large or small. And, happiness leads to a more balanced and healthier life.
A number of my friends have recently determined to pick up college studies that they had missed when they were younger. Some wanted to complete degrees that were started and never completed. Others had interests they felt would be enhanced by taking specific courses that were designed to complement their life’s activities. In both instances, the individuals believed the lessons made their lives more enjoyable and worthwhile.
It hasn’t been too many years ago, that people looked toward the age of sixty-five as being close to life’s end. In truth, that was usually the norm rather than the exception. The actuary tables of that day strongly indicated life expectancy for men was to cease in the mid-sixties. Consequently, a lot of males gave up at that age and stopped looking toward the future. Times have certainly changed. Today, life expectancy has moved toward the early eighties for men and even longer for woman. Obviously, that is due in no small part to the increases in the efficiencies of health care and preventive medicine. On the other hand, men and women today are seeking more knowledge and ways of improving their lifestyles. The results can be seen in an older population that is not satisfied with retirement, but want to continue in the work force as well as remain active in a variety self indulgences. Try getting a tee-time on your local golf course on the weekend if you think I’m wrong.
There was a recent television news program featuring a man who was 104 in age and just completed his sixth 26-mile marathon in just over eight hours. And, a woman who had her right leg amputated at birth, but plays and teaches golf to those handicapped. By the way, she turned pro in 2003 and played on the Futures Tour for three years. She will tell you that she never gave up and never stopped learning.
Recently, I have had the opportunity of witnessing first hand a large number of men and women of varying age applying their skills to second and even third job offerings. For the most part, they had one thing in common, they were in their sixties and seventies. Most were college educated and had worked and retired from a variety of professions, but did not want to stop the daily activity of getting out of bed and working – even if it was on a limited basis. According to the management of these firms, these older individuals were their best workers on staff, and their experience level made them valuable assets to their new companies. It was not unusual to find upper management asking these older clerks and cashiers questions about company policies and performance.
Yes, it is a different world and one where learning lessons never ceases. Who knows, but we could be looking at a time in the very near future when people nearing the century mark will advise us younger “seniors” how to stock a shelf or sell a product.