If I never learned anything new, I would not have a boring retirement. I have a variety of hobbies, an active church life, social friends, and family that is close to me. All this results in my having the schedule that works for me-half a day at home and half a day of doing "something" most days.
Even with a variety of hobbies, including doing crossword puzzles and reading, I think it's both fun and imperative that I continue to try new things and stay involved in lifelong learning. Studies have shown that physical health and mental engagement are important to long term mental health. More importantly, some of those same studies have shown that simple "book learning" is not as effective as learning hands on skills. We actively learn by doing, whether it is cooking skills, photography, playing the piano, wood working, knitting or crafting. We challenge our brains on a completely different level than, say, when we attend a lecture.
Folks who have been reading this blog for awhile know that just a few years ago I was a real full time student, attending classes 12 hours a week with college kids 20 years old-and mainly loving it. After my move, my time constraints changed (along with becoming an out of state student) and i put that on hold.
Lately however, I have been missing that "school like" level of challenge and have been looking to add a few new activities to my retirement schedule. Some are more challenging than others, some of them more active than others. Since I like to try new things and challenges these things fit into my day (and night) and keep me on my toes, at least for now
For example, once I week I am taking a college class on The Hebrew Bible in it's Cultural and Historical Context (at heart somewhere, yes, I am a geek). This is a once per week three hour class that is participatory and requires up to six hours some weeks of homework. This is actually part of a four year course on religion and culturalism.
I'm taking an online class in how to draw with colored pencils. While this is not participatory in the true sense, it is very participator on my end as I attempt expand my limited drawing skills anyway I can.
As mentioned elsewhere, I've joined a "drawing from the right side of the brain" class once a month, with each month being a different activity. This month we are supposed to bring our favorite poem, and we will be writing our own poem as well.
And finally, I've been talking about joining a book group for awhile-if only so I would force myself to read something other than police procedurals and I finally found one.
Trying new things is always good, in my opinion. Most of these new activities are free. Added to my Living Richly in Retirement book, my other hobbies and life in general they will, I hope, continue to keep me challenged and ready to learn more.
And now, to do the reading for my bible course................