Humans are living 30 years longer than they did in 1900. Now, those of us 55 to 79 have a "third age" in which to learn whatever we want, whether it involves going back to school or more casual learning on our own.
Here are five ways to learn in the third age. What, and how, will you learn in your third age? Share your thoughts with us at the bottom of the page.
Should you go back to school? The decision is a different one for each of us and depends a lot on age, retirement (or not), and finances. Have you always wanted to earn a degree? Another degree? This might be your time.
2. Take a Class Here and There
Going back to school doesn't have to be a serious endeavor. Many communities offer seminars in all kinds of fabulous topics taught by community experts in casual settings, often on evenings and weekends. If you're in your third age, chances are good you've taken a good number of these seminars already. If not, find out what your community offers.
You're likely to find classes at community colleges and senior centers.
3. Take a Webinar
The web is full of wonderful, and free, learning opportunities. Seminars on the web are called webinars, and many of them are free. Find the webinars that interest you by searching for the keywords that describe your interest.
- 8 Places to Find Free Educational Videos
- What Is TED?
- Free Lectures
- MIT Open Courseware
- Open Courseware Consortium
If you have trouble seeing your screen, and it's not your glasses, maybe your screen font is too small. We can help: Screen Font Too Small?
4. Be a Mentor
Teaching what you know and new things you've learned can be one of the best, and most rewarding, ways of learning even more. Find a person in your community, youth or adult, who could use a mentor. Have lunch once a month, once a week, however often the two of you decide.
Everyone I know who volunteers finds the experience far more rewarding than expected. I often hear people say, "I got so much more than I gave." And every one of them is surprised the first time. Volunteering is contagious. Do it once and you'll be hooked. You'll also learn new things. Every time. Be a volunteer.
- So Many Ways to Share Your Learnings by Volunteering
- Volunteer at Your Local School
- Service Learning Through Learn and Serve America
- 7 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Volunteering, from Joanne Fritz, About.com's Guide to Nonprofit Charitable Orgs
- Also from Joanne Fritz, Guide to Volunteer Opportunities Online