VOICES: Where did I put that jar of moonbeams?

Did you ever swing on a star or carry moonbeams home in a jar, crooning along with Bing Crosby or swinging with our nearer star, the tri-state’s own Rosemary Clooney? If you did, you can do so again. If not, here’s your chance.

How? By participating in a learning-in-retirement program, through which you can acquire new interests and ideas to add to the moonbeams in that jar or rediscover, dust off, update, and revitalize old pursuits and passions.

Thanks to advances in science and medicine, people are living longer lives than ever, and many are seeking lifelong learning opportunities, especially those that offer learning for the sheer joy of it. According to TheSeniorList, when asked what is appealing about lifelong learning, the vast majority of those who said they were interested responded that their motivators were: enjoyment of learning (82 percent), increase in personal development (73 percent), and personal fulfillment (75 percent). An unexpected bonus that most discover along the way is the expansion of their social circle.

With no tests or quizzes to take, no papers to write, and no grading to fear, the experience of learning through exploration, discovery, and discussion in the company of other curious and eager retired learners offers great satisfaction and pleasure.

Miami University’s Institute for Learning in Retirement (ILR), founded in 1997, is a nonprofit educational organization that offers a wide variety of noncredit courses, events, and activities to meet the continuing educational and social interests of anyone over age 50. ILR is governed, supported, and financed by its members. In addition, opportunities abound for getting involved on a deeper level as a volunteer.

Recent ILR participants shared comments such as…

“ILR is a fantastic way to keep our minds active by learning and sharing new findings with other adult learners.” - Sharon Chapman

“Lifelong learning classes often lead to meeting new lifelong friends, wherever the journey leads!” - Shelly Abrams

“What a wonderful array of interesting topics. It is always difficult to choose only those one has the time to attend!” - Ken Grabach

“Absolutely fabulous experience! As a former teacher and lifelong learner, I thoroughly enjoyed the classes. I feel that the information was so beneficial that I will continue to grow in my thoughts and even make decisions from what I learned.” - Pamela Hudson

“ILR is the highlight of my retirement!” - Anne Morris-Hooke

ILR offers a wide array of courses and events twice a year in several convenient locations in the area: Oxford, Hamilton, Fairfield, West Chester, Monroe, as well as online, which means that the courses are available anywhere in the world where there is an internet connection.

ILR volunteer instructors — retired or working professionals and scholars — create a stimulating environment through an exciting array of academic and general-interest subjects.

Five-week terms are offered each spring and fall. Classes typically meet once a week for 75 minutes. In addition to live, instructor-led courses there are lecture series that feature a different speaker each week. With one membership fee, students may enroll in as many courses as they want.

Courses are supplemented by Special Events, open to both members and non-members, which are scheduled before, during, and even after the term. These include self-drive tours, day-long bus trips to locations of artistic, historical, or socio-economic interest, special courses/lectures, parties, etc.

The array of more than 75 courses and events that will be offered in the upcoming spring term, March 27 to April 28, will appeal to curious minds in many fields: health, travel, art, music, politics, history, science, cooking, crafts, and much more.

ILR spring registration is now open. To learn more, request a catalog, or register, visit the ILR website at MiamiOH.edu/ILR or call 513-529-8500.

Then look for that jar of old moonbeams, dust it off, and get ready to fill it up with new beams.

Sante Matteo is Professor Emeritus of Italian Studies at Miami University and currently serves as Secretary of the ILR Board, and has taught and enjoyed taking too many ILR courses to count.

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