Rather than taking an entire course, do you want your
lifelong learning doled out in smaller portions—say around
18 minutes? Then go to ted.com and take a look at the incredible selection of powerful, potentially transformational
talks about a multitude of subjects. TED started as a conference for Technology, Education, and Design, but there are
now more than 2,200 of these top-notch talks about various subjects. One example? I liked “Your Body Language
Shapes Who You Are” by Amy Cuddy, professor and researcher from Harvard Business School. I’ve integrated her
helpful tips for feeling more powerful before going for an
interview—and before playing tennis!
Your Local Library
A gem in your backyard, libraries have, over the years,
morphed into a community hub instead of just a repository
for the written word. In addition to books, eBooks, magazines, and reference materials, libraries offer lectures, book
clubs, computers, community get-togethers, and rotating
exhibits. If you haven’t checked out your library lately, or
you think it’s a relic, take another look.
Lifelong Learning on the Cheap
The above resources are free, but if you’re willing to
invest a bit of money, there are additional possibilities.
For example, I took a magic course through my county’s
community education offerings. Always fascinated by il-
lusions, I found out how to do several “tricks” over three
one-hour classes for a mere $15. Check out your local
school system, community college, and university for con-
tinuing education/adult education classes at a reasonable
cost, and sometimes for free. For some of us, having other
students present creates a more compelling and enriching
You may find if you’re a “seasoned” learner, you can audit regular courses at a university or community college
for a low fee or for free, assuming space is available. For
example, at my alma mater, The University of Maryland, a
“Golden ID Program” allows those over 60 who are Maryland residents and not working more than 20 hours a week
to attend up to three classes per semester, on a space available basis, tuition-free. Some fees do apply.
Do you like peer-to-peer learning, or want to teach a
course? Consider Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes (OLLI,
www.osherfoundation.org). The Bernard Osher Foundation
is a 30-year old philanthropic institution that supports lifelong learning for adults “ 50 and better.” OLLI is present on
about 120 campuses across the United States, offering mem-ber-driven courses facilitated by peers and college faculty. For
example, a $70 annual OLLI membership fee at the University of North Carolina, Asheville, includes access to almost 280
courses, special events, socials, lectures, a weekly newsletter,
campus parking, and use of the library. For the cost of a nice
dinner, you can feed your mind for an entire year!
“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you
were to live forever.” Great advice, Mahatma Gandhi. Sign
Jan Cullinane is an award-winning retirement author, speaker, and consultant. Her current book is The
Single Woman’s Guide to Retirement (AARP/Wiley).