Photo credit: Unknown
You worked hard for it, and now you’re there. Retirement!
But retirement may not be the blissful state we always imagined it would be. If you’ve always been used to being busy, before long you may find yourself ready to climb the walls. Rather than allowing yourself to lapse into boredom or depression, why not think about continuing your education?
There are a lot of reasons why going back to school in your retirement years might be a great idea. Here are a few:
Studying helps keep your mind sharp. We joke about “getting old” and “losing our edge” – but the fact is, age does not have to signify a drop in mental acuity. Just as there are things we can do to extend our physical vitality, so we can do things to keep our minds sharp – and maybe even make them sharper than they were when we were younger and less mature! Researchers at the University of Texas at Dallas studied adults aged 60 to 90. In the study, they divided participants into different groups and assigned them activities of various levels of difficulty to determine their effect on the participants’ memory. The researchers reported that “the groups that were confronted with continuous and prolonged mental challenge improved,” while those assigned easier tasks did not. There’s nothing like going back to school to provide you with “continuous and prolonged mental challenge” – so embrace it!
Studying provides you with ongoing challenges to keep you growing. As a retiree or “empty nester,” suddenly finding yourself with time on your hands can lead to confusion and frustration. Going back to school will reintroduce you to a world of deadlines and focus – and you won’t have time to be bored!
Studying creates discipline. Speaking of deadlines, going back to school will give you plenty of these. Deadlines are wonderful for spurring us out of lethargy. And if you are struggling with reorganizing your world as you enter retirement, studying can provide much-needed structure that can serve as a foundation for prioritizing other areas of your life.
Studying opens the door to a world of knowledge. By the time a person leaves the workforce, he or she may feel they have seen it all. But the reality is that we live in a very big universe, and there is much we have yet to explore. Don’t miss your chance!
Studying increases the quality of your work. Going back to school involves a lot of formal writing...and formal writing is an exacting skill that requires that you cite sources and thoroughly research what you are going to write. As a minister, going back to school greatly improved the quality of my preaching, because I learned to always verify my sources and make sure that any declaration of fact that I make is actually factual. The more consistently factual your statements are, the greater the confidence people will place in what you have to say.
Studying helps you be more confident. When you know you have done due diligence and have the research to prove it, you can speak with confidence. Learning good study disciplines will go a long way toward getting you there!
Studying helps keep you from robbing the world of the things God created you to contribute. God created you for a reason. He has allowed you to gather a lifetime of experiences and wisdom. Going back to school will help you become a better teacher so you can share those treasures with the world. Instead of your golden years being a time of gradually fading into oblivion, why not make them a season of lasting contributions to the generations following after you?
One of the most common excuses for not going back to school is that “I’m too old.” NONSENSE! Over my years as a college instructor I’ve seen people of all ages go back to school and do well. It’s not uncommon today for individuals in their 70s and 80s to graduate, determined to use the rest of their lives to do something meaningful.
At this stage of your life, you have an incredible store of things to contribute. What you don’t have, however, is the luxury of unlimited time. Every day is precious. That’s why you shouldn’t wait another day. Don’t be sitting there 10 years from now, thinking, “I wish I had gone back to school.” Do it!
 Learning New Skills Keeps an Aging Mind Sharp. (2013, October 21). Retrieved March 24, 2015, from http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/news/releases/learning-new-skills-keeps-an-aging-mind-sharp.html
Originally published March 24, 2015, on LinkedIn.com