Updated: Oct 7, 2022
Remember when we were little and our parents told us to stop saying we couldn’t do something and instead, give it a try? That lesson needs to be dusted off once in a while and applied all through our lives. We can learn new things IF we try. Here is why you should stop believing the adage: “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”
You Can Teach an Old Dog New Tricks
Working with elders reveals the patterns that either make for healthy aging or a steady decline. Those who choose to keep learning, enjoy exploring new things and places, and stay active, age much better than those who quit. They may still be experiencing declining health but there’s a spark that keeps them engaged with life.
Never have I seen this better portrayed than by a woman who, while confined to a wheelchair with arthritis, still glowed with vigor, life, and humor. She was joyful and a delight to be around. Her situation didn’t govern her attitude and will to pursue life. She was still learning new things and doing what was possible rather than focusing on what wasn’t. As a result, she was happy in the midst of difficult circumstances.
Her choice to keep learning and work around age and health-related limitations yielded several great results. She clearly was experiencing joy, an ongoing sense of relevance and engagement, and a positive relationship with her adult daughter. As I watched them together, it was clear they had a good time and appreciated one another.
I’d encourage all of us in the gray-haired crowd to avoid the old dog excuse for shunning new things. Yes, we may hit a few roadblocks with things we truly can’t do as we get older. That’s okay. What if, while pushing through excuses, we found some new activities, talents, hobbies, or means of interacting with loved ones? It would be well worth the effort. Just like it was when we were young and learning to do something new 🙂
While you’re learning new things, check out last week’s blog on setting grandparenting goals for the new year!