Thursday, April 9, 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!

As mentioned at the end of last week’s blog, a wise older woman once told me that the ideal life, after leaving the 40-hour work force, should be composed of 1/3rd work, 1/3rd play and 1/3rd giving back. This was her life philosophy, a philosophy she felt would keep her connected to society as a productive, contributing, and respected elder. She wanted nothing less than a complete redefinition of the societal roles of older adults, and was determined to do her part to make that a reality.

What’s your later-life philosophy? Have you though about how you can put it into action?

Certainly there is more than one way to make your life philosophy a reality. In these blogs, however, you will discover a tool that can help you reach your goals, a tool known as lifelong learning. By choosing the challenge and excitement of personal discovery that later-life learning offers, you’ll get the help you need to create a life that reflects your own personal philosophy. Think about it. Lifelong learning really can help make your life philosophy a reality.

Reaching that goal however, can be challenging. But - throughout our lives, we’ve met many challenges and persevered. From the turbulent years of our youth, through the years we struggled to raise a family and succeed at our chosen careers, into our mid-life crises, we’ve seen it all. Now, in our Third Age, we are perfectly positioned, not only to improve our own lives through learning, exploring, and serving, but to redefine the role of older adults in our society. Our experiences, the wisdom we’ve earned, and the knowledge we gain through lifelong learning, become the very tools we’ll use to reshape society’s views of what it means to be an elder.

We know traditional cultures of the past held older adults in high esteem. Unfortunately, today for the most part, elders are often viewed as burdens, a useless drag on society, interested only in taking, not giving.

Nothing could be further from the truth. According to a 2002 study undertaken for Civic Ventures, the San Francisco organization dedicated to redefining our Third Age, Americans over 50 now devote more time than ever before to bettering their communities. It makes perfect sense: we have the time and energy to do so, now that the pressures of raising a family and laboring in the job market are behind us. But our society as a whole still does not take that into consideration when picturing older adults.

This has to change, and we can make it happen by using lifelong learning as our tool. Seventy-eight million of us are standing on the brink, ready to pass into the Third Age of life. Others are already there. With little effort, working together as we learn, explore and serve, we can blow the tired stereotypes of retirement and older adults right out of the water. We can become treasured resources, guiding other generations, and society as a whole.

The pioneers of modern-day lifelong learning, most from the “Greatest Generation,” are still working hard to make that change a reality. But there just aren’t enough of them to change the mindset of an entire society. They need our help. Our sheer numbers, combined with our proven zest for adventure and challenge, will make our work easy. And all it takes is one simple step…

Getting involved with lifelong learning!

Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Lifelong learning is an incredibly valuable tool, not only in our quest to create better lives for ourselves, but in our quest to create better lives for everyone.

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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