Studying the humanities for pleasure at any age can enhance your life

Studying the humanities for pleasure at any age can enhance your life

By Kay Hutchins Sato,  executive director, The Frick Estate Lectures at

Nassau County Museum of Art

One of the best ways for us to stay sharp as we mature is to expose ourselves to new ideas as well as novel ways to consider what we already think we know well.

As we do this “mental exercise” we nurture our cultural curiosity and our natural desire to satisfy it, which makes living even more exciting and meaningful.

This is exactly why lifelong learning can offer us such an invaluable experience, no matter what our age. It provides each of us with a wonderful opportunity to stimulate our minds, expand our interests, and enrich our existence.

And what better way to truly stretch ourselves than to participate for pleasure in the study of fascinating subjects taught by engaging professors who love sharing their knowledge with us and with other intellectually curious adults?

After having spent years in the workplace or raising a family, we as mature adults are now in a position to know ourselves better than we did when we were younger, and we are more confident that we can look forward to things other than earning a living.

That’s where studying the liberal arts and fine arts comes in, not only to provide us with pleasure and knowledge but also to keep us cognitively alert and active for years to come.

As research studies have shown, when we join in for pleasure with a group of like-minded adults to do such guided activities as reading the classics together or discussing and appreciating great art, more neurons can be generated in our brains and new connections can be formed.

These activities may even lower our personal stress levels by providing us with the intellectual pleasure that follows as we enjoy acquiring some forms of new knowledge which we can be proud of.

Another benefit of engaging with like-minded individuals in these studies is that when interacting with others we are naturally able to alleviate feelings of anxiety and isolation – all of which is vitally important for us after the past few years of limited social interaction due to circumstances beyond our control.

Joining others to delve into topics that have triggered our curiosity may be challenging at first, but that’s what’s needed to help stimulate our brains and improve our cognitive functions.

Lifelong learning can not only enrich us but can also improve our memories, increase our attention spans, and enhance our reasoning abilities – all of which are worthwhile achievements for anyone at any age.

In short, lifelong learning can provide countless benefits, and studying the humanities as you learn for pleasure is an excellent way to stay connected to things that enhance your life.

Once you embark on this journey, you’ll soon be able to reap the rewards, so start looking around right now for mentally challenging programs to enroll in and get yourself back out there in the mix. You’ll be glad you did!

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