It’s a universal fact that it’s normal for a child to be exploratory. Many kids pick up the guitar at the age of ten, the drums at 12, and the violin at age 14. Well, it makes sense because as beginners in life, they can be beginners in everything else.
However, when does the “beginner” state end? When you are 20 or 22? When are you too old to pick up the guitar? Why is it weird for a 30-year old to sign up for some weekend piano lessons?
No one really made a rule or a law that states adults can’t start new hobbies once they reach a certain age. But isn’t it too harsh that the whole world silently agrees on trying new things being weird when you are an adult?
It’s like the only new skills you are allowed to learn are those that will help you make money. And there is nothing wrong with learning income-generating skills. If anything, it’s actually necessary. However, it would be better if things like getting executive communication coaching to learn how to become a better speaker were as normal as learning how to ride a bike.
However, since there is no code prohibiting you from learning new skills even when you are at retirement age, go ahead and follow your heart. People will only think it’s weird, but you are not breaking any laws. Also, what separates weird and normal is usually just the number of people doing it. Start making that number bigger.
Aside from following your heart’s desire, there are actual benefits from learning new things as an adult.
Benefits of Trying Something New
1. Keeping a sharp mind
Although dementia is not a normal part of aging, you are more at risk of developing dementia as you get older. Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most common forms of dementia in the senior population. It dramatically affects everyday living due to memory loss and poor judgment.
Learning new things will help you strengthen connections between different parts of your brain. Tasks that are cognitively demanding tasks like learning a foreign language result in stronger brain connections.
Sure, you use your brain every day, but doing more cognitively demanding tasks has more benefits. Think of it like bodybuilding. You strengthen a muscle by using it more often. But aside from the frequency, you have to focus on the intensity—the weight of what you lift and the number of repetitions.
As you keep learning new things, you will find that your brain function improves. Your learning speed increases as you keep exploring. It’s just how the body works.
2. Getting a sense of pride and accomplishment
What is better, being a 40-year old or a 40-year old who can speak three languages? Your choices are not limited to these two, but why not pick the latter if you have to choose?
There is always a sense of pride when you achieve something regardless of age. However, achieving something despite obstacles like age feels more rewarding. It’s true that the adult brain is harder to teach. And it is this fact that puts new skills high up on the ladder of achievements.
Doesn’t it feel great to see people surprised at your cooking skills or your ability to maneuver a bicycle like a pro?
3. Developing patience and perseverance
It’s not easy to learn the guitar. You will develop callouses at your fingertips, and your wrists will ache. It will sound bad on your first attempts. Nonetheless, pushing on despite the hurdles is what builds your character as a person.
Learning new things will make you prove that patience is indeed a virtue. Aside from the benefit of a new skill, you equip yourself with values that will prove to be important as you face more challenging obstacles in your adult life.
Patience is a necessary tool in the face of frustration. And if you intentionally count the times you face frustrating things every day, you will be thankful that you never gave up on the guitar.
If you put things in perspective, the benefits of learning a new skill will help you in other aspects of your life. When you feel proud and accomplished, this positively affects your confidence. When you are patient, you can suspend judgment to make way for sound decisions. Both lead to a happier life.
It may seem like a silly little thing to be picking up a new skill in the middle of your adult life. But, given the benefits, what’s stopping you?