The Learner in Me

At the onset of my retirement I was determined to keep my mind active and stimulate myself intellectually.  I feel that I have accomplished my goals in this area.  I have engaged in quite a few activities that keep me thinking!

I have always been an avid reader.  Some of my fondest summer memories are of sitting on my driveway on bookmobile day.  I would listen for the announcement “This is your St. Louis County Bookmobile…..” as the library on wheels wended its way through the subdivision before setting up shop.  Now, I sit on my computer and click on books to request or borrow for my Nook.  I make occasional forays into the brick and mortar library to see and borrow the real deal also.   The true bliss of retirement for me has been having the opportunity to read whatever and whenever I want.  There are books I have pursued leisurely and others I have attacked.  There are weeks in which I have read only at lunch and weeks in which I have devoured 700 page books in two or three days.  At some point I decided to keep a list of the books I have read so that I could remember which books to recommend to friends.  My list now contains twenty titles.

Attending classes had always been something I enjoy so of course I have signed up for a few.  There are opportunities in my area for those of us over 60 to get reduced rates on classes either through my local school district or through the community college.   During my second semester of Tai Chi I realized that my knees were not tolerating this form of exercise so I stopped that.  I loved the basic drawing class I took and enjoyed the time spent with the other students, most of whom were also retired.  I am waiting until some construction work is finished around our house so that I can take another drawing class. My dog and I also took the last series of classes for her to try to become a therapy dog.  That’s a story for another post.

I have not been doing as much writing as I hoped I might.  Most of my writing in the past has been limited to graduate papers and projects. I would like to experiment with some more creative forms of written expression.  Since retiring I posted a few times to this blog and I wrote a few short chapters in what might become a book of teacher stories. A few months ago I ordered a video and book on creative non-fiction writing.  The 24 lectures are presented by a college professor.  Those I have watched are interesting and helpful but it feels odd to write to a prompt and have no one provide feedback.  I stopped the classes once the weather became nice enough to garden but look forward to going back to them now that it is too hot to spend much time in the garden.

I have also discovered the school of YouTube!  I now realize that I can learn anything from these videos.  I have viewed many drawing videos which have really taught me a lot about various facets of drawing.  I learned about Smash Books and made a recipe Smash Book for my daughter for Christmas.  I have recently been watching videos on creating “mixed media” projects.  It’s an art form that creatively pulls together a number of arts that I already know how to do. I have gathered materials to begin a lengthy project when the aforementioned construction work ties me to the house for a month.

Penny Press and Dell puzzle books are stacked next to my comfy chair.  I love logic problems, Sudoku, cryptograms, and various other puzzles.   When working in Sudoku books I usually skip ahead to the challenging puzzles but have discovered that I am missing some strategies.  I took time to read a few more chapters from The Mensa Guide to Solving Sudoku and learned some useful new techniques.  I find all of these puzzles provide good mental challenge as well as being fun.

Retirement so far has been great.  I know I will continue to keep mentally active and look for new learning opportunities.  I can’t wait to see what other things I can learn!


One response to “The Learner in Me

  1. Debbie, I’ve been discovering many of the same strategies for intellectual stimulation and loving the opportunity to learn new things just for the fun of it. I also love logic problems and have taken up Sudoku. I clearly need to learn some of the advanced solving strategies, however; I can’t always solve the hard puzzles and am completely stymied by the “challengers.”

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