My Mom is absolutely amazing…I’ve never encountered another human being who has tackled so many different subjects and learned such an array of skills in one lifetime. Whether it be French, bridge, cooking, flying, painting, chess, building a website, poker, Energy 101, Buddhism (see what I mean!) – she clearly takes the term life-long learner to a completely different level! With the vast influx of new online classes sprouting up, such as those offered by Coursera and Udacity, there’s ample opportunity for all of us to learn another skill or pursue a new hobby. Here’s a picture of my Mom hang gliding at 70 plus!!!!
In fact, according to AARP, most baby boomers report that they feel online classes fit very nicely within their busy schedules and satisfy their desire to learn at their own speed. Instead of raising your hand, you can grab the teacher’s attention with a click of the mouse! In addition, very often you will be in the ‘ether class’ with much younger students and it’s a great opportunity to match wits with a different generation.
There are so many options out there – if learning to program in Dreamweaver is your idea of fun – www.lynda.com can get you up and running in just a few weeks. YouTube is a fantastic source in terms of finding a plethora of “How-To” v-blogs that will introduce you to subjects you probably never dreamed of learning about – for instance, the how to make fake poop video has over 2.5 million views – might come in handy with the grandkids – just sayin’! (Did you click over to the video – it’s actually not as gross as it sounds). But I digress…..
Baby boomers have lead the pack in terms of entrepreneurial pursuits over the last decade – if that has always been your dream perhaps it will only take a few online tutorials to take you to the next level. For instance, www.entreprenuer.com offers a great set of blogs and videos for people who want to start a new business. Life experience provides a unique insight into what works and what may not – being able to spot and forecast trends based on past experience certainly gives boomers a leg up in business!
One of the keys to success with online education is to tap into something that you’re already passionate about – or feel you may have a knack for in terms of picking it up with ease. For instance, the website www.encore.org is a great resource for people who want to start a new “cause related” career. Their motto is “leave the world better than you found it.” Don’t you just LOVE that philosophy! This mindset can drive you to make money and help others, which might empower you to reignite your sense of purpose. Turn your passion into profit!
If it’s a hobby you strive to capture online there are plenty of resources for that pursuit as well. Learning how to garden, craft furniture or surf is well within reach these days. Perhaps you’ve always loved music but never had the chance to learn how to sing or play an instrument. If you want to write, free blogging tools such as Blogger or WordPress allow you to self publish and build your audience. Oh wait – we can’t forget my Mom….let’s add belly dancing to her ‘mastered it’ list above!
Whether it’s to make money, pursue a second (or third!) career or simply for your own personal entertainment, don’t let the voices inside your head convince you that you can’t try to learn and apply a new skill. Remember, these are your 30 Bonus Years, with bonus being the key word!