Do you want to know how to stay young? One of the easiest ways is to never stop learning. There is increasing evidence that if you can keep an open mind and a lively curiosity, you might possibly live longer and enjoy it more.

Open your mind's eye and remember the excitement you felt as a child when you learned something new or mastered a new skill. Do you remember tiptoe anticipation? If you have trouble remembering this old song will give you a clue:

"I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus..."

Can't you just see the little boy or girl you were peeking around the corner? It is getting closer and closer to Christmas. You may have already found all of the presents that your parents hid. You may have shaken them and rattled them – maybe you even already opened them! If the wrapping paper happened to tear while you were rattling the present and you saw what was in it, it's really not your fault is it?

Will Santa come and bring you more presents? Will he bring you your heart's desire? You're watching and waiting, fairly shimmering with excitement and then you see....

But what did you see? If you think about it, really think about it, you may eventually conclude that you didn't really see Mommy kissing Santa Claus at all. Rather, you saw Mommy kissing Daddy, who was dressed up like Santa Claus.

You see, when you learn new things, you may find that the new information explodes old myths. You may not understand at first but if you nurture a new idea in your mind and take it out now and then to re-examine it, you may find that you have to change your mind or your way of looking at things or even your way of doing things.

Admittedly, while this is exciting, it is also scary. It is human nature to be most comfortable when we think we have things figured out. And it is human nature to want to be comfortable, so the world is full of garrulous old know-it-alls, people with steel-trap minds that have snapped closed on the leg of an idea and just will not let it go, even if the idea has died and is beginning to stink.

These people always have an opinion and if you don't have one, they'll be glad to share their opinion with you. Unfortunately, their ideas and opinions are all too often out-moded, erroneous, or downright boring.

Speaking of boring, what could be more boring than finally having time on your hands in retirement but having nothing to do with that time – nothing new to learn, no new ideas to explore, nothing to read but TV Guides and nothing to watch but soaps and game shows?

There is so much to learn! There are so many avenues of learning! If you have access to a TV and control of the remote, turn off the soaps and game shows (or sports) and tune in to The Learning Channel or PBS. Go to your Public Library and by-pass the Harlequin novel paperback exchange. Go instead into the non-fiction section.

Instead of listening to your favorite curmudgeon talkshow on the radio, listen to NPR or **gasp** listen to some other curmudgeon whose opinions you don't already know and with whom you may not agree. You may still not agree with them, but you might learn something.

Talk to your children or grandchildren – not to tell them the same old story for the umptiteenth time but to listen to what they think and learn what they are learning about. Talk to your spouse and listen to his or her opinion instead of giving them yours. Let them teach you. Your ego may take a bruising but it will survive and your relationships, which may already be bruised, might actually begin to heal.

Talk to yourself. Okay, not aloud; people will start avoiding you. But talk to your mind. Pry open that trap, take a close look at that idea. Sniff it. If it is rotting and foul, throw it away. Bait the trap with curiosity and wait for the next idea to come along.

A word of caution, though. Putting aside the hunting metaphor, let's move to a fishing metaphor: Don't swallow every new idea hook, line and sinker. It may look like a fat, juicy worm or an exotic bug but it may only be plastic or a piece of feather tied to a hook. In fact, it might not even be a real feather!

THINK! Two of the advantages of age are experience and wisdom. Use them well – and feed them well by keeping an open mind and a lively curiosity.

Author's Bio: 


I am a Baby Boomer myself and a newbie internet entrepreneur focusing on the Baby Boomer generation because I spent sixteen years serving as pastor in United Methodist congregations all over Kansas. Those congregations were made up primarily of Baby Boomer or older members, so I have developed some expertise with the Baby Boomer generation. I am now on leave of absence and living in Atchison, Ks. with my thirty-year-old son and two cats. I also help my daughter, also living in Atchison, with three sons, ages 9, 7, and 22 months, while their father is in Afghanistan. My blogs are found at