Learning Cheap

trey Since my last child went off to college this fall, I’ve had lots of quiet time around my house. After 25 years of screaming babies, barking dogs, teenagers slamming doors, one would think I would welcome such peace. But it was very hard at first. The solitude was deafening.

Six months into it, my tune’s changed. This peace and quiet is simply luxurious. I’ve had time to read again, take uninterrupted bubble baths, and I can finally hear my heart telling me things that make this ol’ mama tick.

In this soul-searching time I’ve come to realize that I am happiest when I am learning, when I feel challenged. What I had labeled a restless soul is instead a very curious soul, one that needs to be fed constantly.

Remember, I have three in college. Three tuitions. There’s not a dime left for me to go back to school. Several years back when Facebook hit the scene with us Moms, I found a friend in Lynda.com. Lynda.comIn my pajamas, mind you, I can go to her website and watch any video I want – teaching me anything from Microsoft Word to how to navigate Facebook and Twitter – and I can watch it as many times as I’d like for ONLY $25 a month . . . all in the privacy of my home.

Then I found MeetUp groups. They are great. Simply type in your zip code, what you want to learn, and a listing will appear with groups who meet on a regular basis. Many bring in speakers each month. Others just offer a group ‘sharing’ time. At an average of $10 per meeting, it’s a real bargain. I might have to drive halfway across Atlanta, but it’s not only great for learning but also for networking. meet up logo

If you have an Apple Store nearby it’s worth the drive to take classes. They offer FREE workshops on all sorts of subjects. For $99 (paid at the time you purchase an Apple product), you can take unlimited one-on-one classes on how to organize your photos, email, your calendar.

lessons on a napkin

Lessons on a napkin in the Starbucks

My last recommendation is to seek out young people to teach you. Just today I coerced a young 20s-something to meet me at the local coffee shop and teach me some new social media tricks. For two hours we sat together and I drilled him with questions. I filled an entire napkin with notes. He was great ~ didn’t say “Yes, ma’am” even once. And for a little ‘going-out’ money, I got a wealth of knowledge.

So if you’ve got a restless soul, feed it. There are so many ways to learn. So many cheap ways, at our age, to stay ‘with-it!’

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