Those of us in our 50s and upwards, Baby Boomers to Generation X, are certainly proving that we’re not the forgotten generations. More mature politicians, media stars and actors, of both sexes, are enjoying life’s high-profile positions. But are YOU making the most of your potential?
For many of us, the routine of work is a reassuring constant; an opportunity to use skills developed over the years alongside daily workplace camaraderie. When we retire often we find there’s not only too much time on our hands but also a continued need to seek knowledge and learn new things.
Back to school
Thought your student days were over? Maybe not. UCAS (University and Colleges Admissions Service) data (2021) showed a 24% rise in mature higher education applications. But it’s not just full-time study that’s available; part-time, online and short courses are also in the mix. Every university and college has a prospectus and online course information, making it easy to see what’s on offer. Maybe you can fulfil an ambition you’ve always harboured but never had time for. You could become the historian or creative artist you’d always dreamed of being!
Universities and colleges welcome mature students for their commitment, experience and life skills. Older learners are also likely to be in a better place to financially cover tuition and other student costs.
The University ‘of Life’
Launched in the early 1980s, the University of the Third Age (U3a) has over 430,000 members. U3a focuses on giving retired and semi-retired seniors an opportunity to meet others who have the same interests, learn new skills, or share knowledge. Look online to find your closest group and see what’s on offer https://www.u3a.org.uk/
Change up for charity
If further study isn’t for you, volunteering your skills could be a route to remaining actively involved. Signing up to be a magistrate or a school governor are worthwhile activities which provide new opportunities to repurpose existing skills. They tend to be roles which are taken up by those who have previously worked in positions of responsibility or managerial roles.
An excellent resource for the over 50s who are keen to get involved with good causes is Volunteering Matters. Over 10,000 people are currently working with the organisation on projects across the UK. One such extremely worthwhile scheme is Grandmentors, which matches older mentors with young people leaving the care system. Find out more at: https://volunteeringmatters.org.uk/pillars/older-people/
Keep yourself on course
“Continuously moving forward in life keeps you young” is the motto of 50-something Stiltz Homelifts CEO, Mike Lord. “Boosting life knowledge with new skills and commitments gives us that all-important sense of worth. At Stiltz we look at our service in much the same way – trying to get it ‘right the first time’ and taking pride in the difference we make.”
As the great C.S Lewis said, ‘You’re never too old to set another goal or to dream another dream’.