Like many old people, I am interested in learning something new; in my case genealogy, but also hiking and perhaps something totally new like wood carving. Almost every active old person is trying for a new hobby. Painting, pottery, writing a blog, hiking, etc. I have one friend who makes pottery and is good enough that she spent time on a cruise ship teaching pottery to other old people. An interesting and unusual experience.
Community colleges are full of courses that will teach you something. As are senior centers. The problem is that the materials that they use are frequently too complicated, too advanced or too long for old people.
While sitting in the Smithtown Public Library, I got to thinking about this; and, about some sort of handbook for old people. This naturally led me to think about how I learned when I was young. A tremendous influence on me was the Boy Scouts. So I checked the card catalog for the Boy Scout Handbook; it was at another branch. But, I did find the Boy Scout Merit Badge Series.
This was just what I needed. There are 132 of them. I checked the ones on genealogy, hiking, and wood carving. Each provided the basics for the topic selected and a list of resources; not to mention the tools that you need and how to use and care for them. Each provided several hours of interesting reading and was thought-provoking. Thought-provoking is good for the old.
Each provided something that we didn’t have 60 years ago, such as discussing GPS receivers; but, reminding you, that if the battery died, you were back to “navigating the backcountry with traditional tools.” Tradition, I know; GPS is a bit more difficult and dead batteries haunt me all the time, from hearing aids to cell phones.
I may order some; or check out my library at home. Travel should be enlightening, even if you are only in a strange library.
For more information go to: www.scoutstuff.org. The merit badge pamphlets are $4.99 each. You can probably afford a dozen. While at the site, take a look at the packs, etc. They have a lot more stuff than they did 60 years ago when I was paying 25 cents for a Merit Badge Pamphlet.
My wife is taking painting, so I may have to get her the Painting Merit Badge Pamphlet.
You might also try Amazon.com and get a $4.95 Merit Badge Pamphlet for your Kindle.
You are never too old to learn from the young.
I am still driving; however, I am more and more uncomfortable driving on freeways, especially through unfamiliar cities. And, at my age, the journey is more important than the destination; I am aware of the ultimate destination, and am not quite ready to arrive. I am curious and have exhausted my interest in freeways. I don’t need 70 miles an hour, irritable drivers and large trucks.
I drive frequently to Tucson; grandchildren, you know. I am a member of AAA. Last Saturday I asked for a “TripTik” from Albuquerque to Tucson without driving on freeways. AAA and their skilled staff provided a “TripTik” route with only 14 miles of I-25 or I-10. It tracks the Mexican-US border and takes me to new places. My journey will take 10.3 hours instead of 7.5 and will be 126.9 miles longer. It may require an overnight stay; however, AAA provides a list of motels and restaurants. I also got an electronic version of the “TripTik” which is on my i-Phone.
I can afford the extra time. I can use the stimulation. I need a topic of conversation other than aging.
It’s the journey, not the ultimate goal, even though, I am statistically 20 years away from my “ultimate goal.” I will let you know how the trip turns out.
Another simple way to plan your trip is to go to Google Maps, click on “show options,” check “avoid highways,” and print out a map that avoids freeways.