Being a multipotentialite who’s always seeking to learn new things, I still want to be practical and not waste my time learning things that I may not use or master. That’s the polymath part of me. I would typically google things like “Is it too late to learn coding at 35?”, “Is it too late to become a psychologist at 40?” or “Is it too late to switch career to be a graphic designer at 40?”
Most of the answers I read from Quora, Reddit and personal blogs are encouraging. Professionals and experts would say that it’s not too late to learn anything but bearing in mind the practicality of it. While you can learn how to paint in your 70s (like Grandma Moses did), you can’t learn swimming at 80 and want to compete in the Olympics. But heck, what do I know? Perhaps someone has done it or could do it. I’ll find out.
We need to stop perpetuating the idea that the ability to learn and creativity decline with age!
This kind of thinking put a lot of unhealthy pressure on the younger generation to speed up and make things happen while at the same time preventing the older generation from pursuing their interests later in life.
In my mid-30s when I was contemplating if I should begin drawing, I did google the question “Is it too late to pick up drawing at 35?” and some professionals cited a few examples of creative geniuses that didn’t start creating art until late in life; Monet in his 40’s and Grandma Moses in her 70’s. Although I just mentioned two, there’s a long list in which you can find out.
Advantage of Learning at Later Age
If you’re still not convinced to pursue your learning at later age, perhaps I could share with you a few advantages that many older learners discovered.
Aging comes with a gift of life experiences which lead to the confidence and comfort of being in your own skin. While you may need to learn the fundamentals, you’re able to embrace the learning your way and explore the knowledge beyond that one particular source. When I was an undergraduate, I only learned from my professors and textbooks. I didn’t go over and beyond to deepen my knowledge on any subjects except it wasn’t my main interests which brings us to the next point…
Learn whatever the heck you like
I don’t know about you but our education system in the 90’s in Malaysia didn’t exactly give us the freedom to choose what we enjoy learning. While there are core subjects that we had to take, I wish I could have been given the opportunity to learn English literature and arts when I was in high school. As an adult learner, I just freaking enrolled in whatever subjects I enjoy; positive psychology, design thinking, and even European history.
Keep you happy and healthy
Our brain is a muscle and if we don’t use it, it will deteriorate and that’s when we get stupid. When we get stupid, we annoy the heck out of other people. It’s a ripple effect and it’s not good. We need to continue learning to save the world. Continued learning especially in the areas of our interests can generate the excitement like a child just learning to cycle. It keeps our mind sharp and improve our memory over time.
Meeting new people that you can connect better
Meeting new people is scary for introverts like me but connecting with people with common interests that I could have meaningful conversations with is amazing. So, learning at older age when we’re not distracted by teenage hormones and dramas is definitely better.
Now that you know the advantages of learning at later age, I hope you would go on to explore the subjects and skills you would love to learn.