When your career is in education, learning is a part of what you do, every day. But when you retire, it’s easy to fall into a pattern of doing things you’re familiar with. Research has shown, though, that to keep your mind agile, it’s important to keep learning new things and gaining new skills — in fact, exercising your brain can delay and sometimes reduce the effects of dementia.
I practise what I preach. I always loved music. As an adult, I decided to learn how to play the trombone, which was followed by joining a local band where I met and engaged with a whole new group of people with the same interest in music.
Science and math were always my interests; I dropped history as soon as I could and never took home economics. When I retired, I developed an interest in local history and historic cooking. And then I became involved with a local museum and a group of re-enactors. This is absolutely a new area for me. I’m learning new things and gaining new skills — and meeting another group of people and having a great time!
When I was first elected president of RTOERO, I wasn’t bilingual, so I couldn’t speak with our French-speaking members in the language of their choice. I enrolled in French classes. Talk about being out of my comfort zone! I have now delivered two speeches completely in French, something I never thought was possible.
So, take a leap: Enroll in a class, pick up a new hobby from the internet, learn a new skill. Not only will this keep your brain healthy and active, you may find new areas for socialization and feel really good about yourself and what you can accomplish.