Perhaps one of the greatest aspects of getting older is the appreciation we develop for learning – which I firmly believe translates into growing older. Getting older and growing older are not necessarily the same thing and, in fact, growing older may be a whole lot more fun than ever imagined.

Of course, we all know that getting older is a biological process that happens to every human being. And while there are healthy and positive things that we can do to slow down or minimize the impact of these biological processes, there is no magic potion and no fountain of youth that can take us back in time or halt what nature has intended.

Getting older is something that cannot be controlled but growing older is something that you can choose to do in many different ways – and the beauty is that we can start to grow older at any age!

A senior female university professor sits in a circle with her class in the library. She holds a clipboard as she speaks to the group.

I once heard someone in their 60s say that he wished he had discovered his love for learning when he was younger. This person enjoyed trying new things so much now that he thought if he had appreciated it when he was a child or young adult then his brain could grow and absorb more than it could now. Whether it was playing a new instrument, or painting watercolors, or even studying history – he thought he’d be a much better musician, artist, or scholar if he committed to loving learning as much then as he does now.

While there may be some truth to all of this, learning at any age can be meaningful and can provide so many benefits, particularly in the right environment that provides ample opportunity.

Of course, everyday learning in the traditional sense can mean things like words in a new language, how to cook a recipe or how to garden – there is an endless list of hobbies and activities that have been shown in studies that they can be beneficial to your health and wellbeing at any age.

But there’s another kind of learning that can also be done that’s more subtle. That is, learning from yourself and from one another. Everyone has had their own unique experiences, both positive and negative, that have shaped who they are today. Taking the time to also listen to what others have to share – and to explore their stories and other perspectives that you may not have heard before – is very enriching and fulfilling.

That’s why it is so important to surround yourself in a community, like Brookdale Living that fosters learning and growth. Because every single one of us is getting older no matter what we choose. Now, let’s have fun while we grow older.  (SP)