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Learning later in life

(9 Posts)
LaraGransnet (GNHQ) Thu 13-Dec-18 08:52:24

We've been asked to chat on radio this morning about learning later in life. It was triggered by a story yesterday about a woman who learnt how to drive in her 70s. So, is there anything you've taken up later in your life that has been surprisingly easy/very difficult/rewarding? Do you think it's more difficult to learn particular things after a certain age? Thank you smile

notentirelyallhere Thu 13-Dec-18 09:16:33

I have a friend who is 87 who, despite two rounds of cancer and spinal arthritis is currently learning the guitar! She was once a keen cyclist and now she keeps an exercise bicycle in her outhouse and aims to ride 3km a day! Her motto is 'life is like riding a bicycle, if you want to keep your balance, you must keep moving'.

I did my degree as a mature student. I'd love to be doing a further degree but no way with the fees. I'm going to yoga for the first time, returning to early drawing skills and trying to add painting. I do Future Learn courses, the best so far have been poetry and creative writing. I plug away at French and have recently joined a theatre group.

I came from a poor background and envy those with middle class cultural capital who have childhood skills to build on. I'm starting again but at least I have the time and enough income to keep learning. The worst thing is motivation, managing DH 24/7 and memory. My mind is sharp enough but ageing brings the frustration of grasping for words and facts that would once have been instantly available.

Anja Thu 13-Dec-18 09:22:23

It depends on the person and whether or not they have been a ‘life-long learner’.

GrandmaMoira Thu 13-Dec-18 09:23:05

I'm in my fourth year of an Open University degree and it has generally been easier/less time consuming than I expected.
I attend a class where we do a range of different crafts. I was never any good at art or craft but have surprised myself that I do quite well with some of the things.
I would love to have the confidence to have driving lessons but don't think I would manage that now.

Bellanonna Thu 13-Dec-18 09:40:01

I’ve been learning German for a while. The tuition involves a lot of grammar and I’ve had to grapple with new concepts that differ from other languages. Remembering all the rules means I have to work hard at it. We get lots of homework. I thoroughly enjoy the challenge.

Teetime Thu 13-Dec-18 09:53:32

Its never to late to learn and it can be so rewarding - we only use a small portion of our brainpower. I think the pity is that the cost of higher education is way out of reach many retired people since the OU went commercial.

M0nica Thu 13-Dec-18 17:17:27

I am always doing university extra-mural classes. Challenging subjects and it usually requires an essay or project to be done during the course. I have just finished one and signed up for two others.

Witzend Sat 15-Dec-18 19:22:27

I took up the piano again after retiring - around 50 years after passing only grade 2, so it was more or,less a case of starting again from scratch.

It was definitely harder. As a child I would memorise pieces without even trying - it's infinitely more difficult now, and even then I can only manage it with certain pieces (with very regular rhythms and clearly defined sections.)

I also found playing scales with both hands very difficult at first, whereas as a child I never had a problem.

On the plus side, after several years both my playing and sight reading are light years better than they were (sight reading was virtually non existent!) and I'm sure that forging all those new connections in my brain (e.g.knowing instantly what that chord is and where to find it, instead of having to think each time) can only have been beneficial to ze little grey cells, as Poirot calls them.

It's maybe 8 years now since I finished an OU degree (Humanities) which of course was a lot of work, but compared with the piano I didn't find it any harder to write essays or revise for exams, than I did in my youth. In fact I enjoyed the courses rather more than those I studied long ago.

wildswan16 Sat 15-Dec-18 19:28:37

I would imagine it is always easier and more satisfying to learn something "later in life" when we are more likely to be doing it for our own pleasure and interest, rather than cramming for exams to enhance careers etc.