Thursday, April 2, 2009

Lifelong Learning Thursday

Nancy Merz Nordstrom, author of Learning Later, Living Greater: The Secret of Making the Most of Your After 50 Years will share the benefits of Lifelong Learning on Thursdays.

The Secret for Making the Most of Your After-50 Years.

Lifelong Learning in Your Later Years… 
a Health Club for Your Mind, Body and Spirit!

Now that you know how lifelong learning became my passion, with today’s blog we begin our exploration of this fascinating subject. But first, let me ask you…

Do you want more out of life? Do you want to make the most of your “After-50” years?

If the answer is yes, then fasten your seatbelts – we’re about to shift into warp drive and take a journey into an exciting new world. Before we start, however, a few words about “retirement.

What is your image of retirement? Think about it.

What I can tell you is that for most people, that image is one of early-bird specials, golf games, and retirement communities in the Sun Belt. It’s early-to-bed nights sprinkled with bingo and grandchildren. We’re used to images like this because of the way retirement is portrayed in the media. It’s how most people, over the last century or so, lived their later years.

But, for those of us who took part in re-shaping the country during the 1960s; for those of us who have worked our entire lives to produce an outstanding quality of life, and for those of us who have endeavored to improve our society’s cultural mores, the face of retirement is about to change. A redefinition of that old image is definitely in order.

In fact, let’s start right now by not even calling it “retirement” any more. From now on, we’ll call it the “Third Age of Life,” (First Age being our childhood and the Second Age being our working/family years). Remember those three-stage rockets that powered our quest to reach beyond our planet out to the moon? Well, like them our own Third Age of Life will propel us to explore realms never before seen and will enrich our lives in ways we never imagined.

Forget going quietly into the good night; we can and will turn our Third Age into the best years of our lives!

So, how will we do this? Quite simply, by taking control of our destinies. After all, recent studies show a huge upswing in longevity; people are living longer than ever before. Half of all the people who ever lived to age 65 are alive today. By the year 2030 between 20% and 25% of the country will be made up of adults over age 50. That means most of us have a good twenty or thirty years left of life once we leave the working world. That’s plenty of time to take control.

According to an AARP study conducted in 1999, 80% of us plan to continue working, but in new and different ways. Only 16% of us plan a retirement like that of our parents. And 4% are undecided about their plans. If only 16% of retirees want the same lifestyle as their parents, where does that leave the rest of us who yearn for a more exciting and challenging Third Age?

Well, we have a choice.

We can join that 16% and allow the popular portrayal of retirement to continue – we’ll wile away our hours cooling pies on windowsills and sipping lemonade on our porches while we contemplate “the good ole’ days.”

Or, we can take charge of our lives and boldly begin a new phase of exploration. We’ll indulge in lifelong learning at home and seek it out in exciting new venues . We’ll give back to our communities. We’ll once again work to raise the quality of life in our society.

Our minds will lead; our bodies and spirits will follow.

A wise older woman once told me that the ideal life, after leaving the 40-hour work week should be composed of 1/3rd work, 1/3rd play and 1/3rd giving back. What a wonderful philosophy!

It was David Lloyd George who said, “Don’t be afraid to take a big step. You can’t cross a chasm in two small jumps.” For many of us, dipping our toe in the waters of lifelong learning may be a big step, but it can be the first step on an exciting new journey.

For more information on Learning Later, Living Greater visit
You can purchase Learning Later, Living Greater at

Till Next Time…

Nancy Merz Nordstrom is Director of the Lifelong Learning Department at Computer School for Seniors (

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