For five years I visited Marion in the retirement home where she lived. She was confined to a motorized scooter and as the years passed she got out less and less, but she always had plenty to talk about during our weekly visits. One of the things she always said when she started a story was, "If I've told you this before, try and stop me!" I never tried to stop her, so I heard several times that her mother lived to be over 100 and when she died she was learning Spanish! Marion had the blessing of keeping her mind and memory until she passed into glory at 95, and she often told me, "Mom always said, 'Never stop learning.'"
Marion's daughter, Tracey, is also a friend of mine. She just retired as a Middle School Orchestra teacher and took a new job as the music teacher in a small Christian school. She's super creative and one thing she added to her list of accomplishments is writing articles for a local paper for Seniors. In her articles she talks about "creative aging"--following her grandmother's advice to never stop learning. Tracey recently took her own advice and started tap dance lessons, something she has wanted to do since she watched Shirley Temple movies as a little girl. Way to go, Tracey!
So I started learning too. I found an online non-accredited course about how to use iMovie so I could make videos of our travels and at least one for my husband's ministry. I got the idea on our most recent trip and my son, a computer professor in a local university, told me where I could find the course. I am learning so much! I have fun showing my husband clips from the class and telling him all the capabilities of video-making right on my computer. I'm a little more than half way through the eleven hour course and I have already written a script and been working on choosing clips to use.
While visiting my older daughter I watched her paint and draw and come up with fantastic art that she uses to decorate her house. I got inspired. My younger daughter also likes to paint, so I found a short course here in town and asked her if she would take it with me. We are looking forward to evenings together learning a bit about art and having fun trying to create a couple of paintings. I don't expect to hang them in my house (except maybe in my laundry room where I have all my "interesting" art). I haven't taken an art class since my oldest son was seven (in 1993) and together we took a water-color class. I am not a natural artist and I always said that I gave people three guesses as to what my paintings were!
So follow Grandma's advice and never stop learning. Pick anything that interests you and bring your kids along in the process. You'll have fun, create memories, and have plenty to talk about around your table!
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