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Breaking the Old Dog Stereotype: Why You Should Learn New Tricks

 People are very open-minded about new things – as long as they’re exactly like the old ones. – Charles Kettering

 Developmental milestones are so important when children grow and change. We record their first steps, first words, even their attempts at eating and dressing. As they age, children continue to learn and master skills at school or with hobbies or interests. Their lives revolve around trying new things.

Their achievements are recorded through high marks on report cards or trophies and awards. They may go on to college and earn degrees. They start careers and train on the job, gaining experience and receiving promotions. They marry and have children and instill that sense of progress and exploration in their offspring.

At some point after middle age, people tend to stop that growth. They become comfortable in their routine and are less likely to step away from the known and really explore and initiate. They stagnate. They, in essence, stop learning, and that can affect their brain function.

Does this sound familiar to you? When was the last time you tried something new? Not ordering something different on a menu, but something completely foreign that you have never done before, something you may have been interested in but considered yourself too old to accomplish.

It’s Never too Late

 Aging people can benefit greatly from trying new things, but there is a catch. In order to maintain or enhance brain function, those new things need to be stimulating and complex. Your new experiences should go beyond a one-time event; rather, you may want to focus on mastering a new skill. That can include learning a new sport, a new craft, a new language, or perhaps a new technology. All of those things that seemed possible when you were younger are still very much available to you if you allow yourself to be challenged and even a little humble.

Failure is Growth

 How many times have you heard you need to make a mistake in order to learn and grow? You have not outgrown that part of life any more than you have your ability to learn new things. You can work towards mastering a new ability when you become vulnerable and recognize you may not always be an expert. You can learn from the experience of others, and you may need to get used to needing help, asking questions, and messing up. It was okay to make mistakes when you were young, and it’s still okay, no matter what your age.

A World of Possibility

 Galloway Ridge wants to issue a challenge to our residents and loved ones. We would like you to look at the monthly calendar and find something new to try. Maybe it is an activity that has always interested you or just one that catches your eye. Step outside of your box, and maybe bring someone with you. Join one of our discussion groups. Participate in the Total Brain Health Workout program. Try the watercolor painting class.  Make plans to go to the Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer Carnival on Saturday, July 30. Embrace the goal of trying new things.

There is no shortage of options, and we encourage you to try something and let you know what you think. If what you have in mind isn’t offered, let us know that too. We want to hear from you so that our activities and programming appeal to you, our residents. Get out there and learn some new tricks!