I have a dear friend who is 88 years young. We’ve been spending time together since her husband passed away last year. She amazes me. She believes in lifelong learning to keep her mind sharp – and it seems to be working fairly well, although we do laugh together when she calls me “that lady who comes to visit me” because my name has slipped from her memory at just the wrong time. She loves to read. She especially loves to read the Scriptures. One of her most favorite things to do is to read the Scriptures in different languages. She is currently reading them side-by-side in English, French, and Icelandic, all of which she speaks with at least a little skill.
I have another friend who just started her Bachelor’s degree at the age of 76. Listen to her story here.
I didn’t appreciate learning opportunities when I was in public school. I think I was pretty normal. I did alright, but with a little more personal application I could have done better. I didn’t practice piano nearly as much as I should have. I didn’t have good study habits. I didn’t see the need to spend more time when I was getting by with what little I was investing. (Does any of this sound familiar?)
When I went away to university, things changed. My parents helped me pay for school, but I really wanted to be mostly independent. I applied for and got some scholarship money every term, and I had a part-time job on campus. I did everything I could when I came home for Christmas and the summer to find work. I also applied myself with a lot more diligence when I was at school. One of my advisors once gently chewed me out for not taking breaks when I was studying. He then told me to leave the study lounge and not come back for 20 minutes.
Even now, as a 50-something mom of seven, grandma of seven, wife, and business owner, learning is still a passion for me. Researching for articles for these newsletters, searching for new material to teach, digging to find solutions to clients’ health questions, taking workshops to learn how to manage a business in a changing economy, learning how to market on the internet … it feels like it’s not a curve, but instead goes straight up. it never stops. Some days I kind of wish it would – but most of the time I find the learning invigorating and satisfying. As the saying goes, “I’ve come a long way, baby.”
And yet, in truth, I hope to still be learning new things when I’m 88 years young. What would you like to learn when you’re 88 – or before?