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Imagine yourself trying to learn a new skill or craft at our age.  Now that more leisure time may be available, will there be the brain cells to do so?  Maybe doing so will create  more brain cells.  The Mayo clinic thinks so:  http://www.cbsnews.com/news/which-hobbies-help-an-aging-brain/.

Many years ago I tried to take a class to learn Chinese brush painting.  Actually I tried two times to do so, but classes were cancelled due to lack of registrants.  I have always loved  the grace and beauty of  Asian art. As far as my own drawing ability or even handwriting I am definitely in the something is lacking  category. So this  effort on my part may bring frustration, but also it may be its own reward.

Why try to learn a new skill at this age? I do not use New Year’s,  but rather my birthday to set goals for the next year.  As the years are more precious now  and time will move on with or without me, I am trying to set new goals for myself. I could get scientific about building new cognitive synapses in my aging brain,  but it is mainly amusing myself with  a new craft.  

So for a small investment in paper and ink along with a lovely present of ink wells and  brushes, I have the tools to try and see if I have the talent. It will be me,  my computer tablet and YouTube and hopefully not a lot of spilled ink. This may lead to total frustration, but my curiosity over rides my fear of failure.

Aging well involves still trying to build those brain cells you think you are losing.  Cognitive skill building does not  have to mean taking or teaching  a graduate course. Taking up a new craft  does not  have to involve a lot of  costly  materials.  I am not a chick with sticks or a bridge player, I never wanted to learn  Sudoku.

It is would be great to finally find that brush painting class, but  I am do not letting that stop me from learning  something that has always been in the back of my mind. They talk about left brain/right brain skills…what is important is to stretch out the learning curve so it is comfortable to gain a new skill.

Or enhance  an old one. Gardeners can become master gardeners, cooks can kick it up a  notch with better culinary skills or new cuisines.  YouTube is the the classroom for the world by the world’s inhabitants trying to help each other out. 

When our jobs, careers  leave us or we leave them , do not discount the energy and the  focus that you still have. Don’t brush off the opportunity to grow a new part of your brain.