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The Psychology of Retirement: Coping with the Transition from Work by Derek Milne

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7

Learning for Life

Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be, the last of life for which the first was made.1

This upbeat quote underlines the idea of human development as a meaningful progression, introduced in the last chapter with ideas like the experiential learning cycle and especially that “all learning is relearning.” Having addressed some fairly somber issues in that chapter (e.g. regrets and dying), this chapter will take a cue from Browning and consider a number of cheery ways to enhance our development during retirement. I will now elaborate this emphasis on learning by considering the main ways that we can develop our mind and body in our “third age.” In terms of the mind, brain researcher Marian Diamond2 listed four established ways in which we can help our brains to be as effective as possible. These are not new ideas, but rather ideas for which there is growing scientific support. They are:

1. Balanced diet: what we feed the brain plays a significant role.
2. Exercise on a daily basis helps the brain as well as the body.
3. Challenging the brain: use it or lose it. It is easy to get bored, under-stimulated, and allow the brain to grow “flabby.”
4. Dealing with novelty: the brain thrives on newness in the challenges we face, as in drawing on new ideas, new learning, and fresh activities.

Regarding the body, in this chapter I will also outline why exercise is so vital for our wellbeing, and investigate some fascinating ways to develop excellence. These ways ...

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