Think you're a mature age student?
Think you’re a mature-age student? Not compared to this guy… Kimani Maruge never had a birth certificate, but he was pretty sure he was born in 1920. In 2003 when the Kenyan government offered free elementary education to all its people, Maruge, at the ripe old age of 84, became the oldest person in the world to go to primary school. Always on time and always with his socks pulled up, Maruge studied alongside his own grandchildren and was made prefect of his class in 2005.
I’m sure this story has raised a lot of eyebrows when it was first published. To be fair, it is quite understandable. For a man of his age to still be studying primary-level education, this is truly some bizarre story.
Based on our ideals, a man of his age should already be resting in some place with classical music playing in the background and a library of books to read. Isn’t this our idea of retirement? Isn’t our idea of retirement all about relaxation and basically not doing anything all day?
When I put it this way, it doesn’t seem too ideal, does it?
This particular story has fascinated me since it challenges our idea of old age. It showed that learning does not have an age requirement. In fact, there has been quite a support for learning new skills later in life.
A recent study focusing on the effects of learning in adult brain suggested that adults who continue to do mentally challenging tasks displayed enhanced cognitive ability when compared to those who were inactive.
The conclusion of this study and many other similar studies across the country support the idea of “use it or lose it.”
Knowing all this, Kimanu Maruge’s story does not seem to be too strange now, does it? In his own way, he is actually enhancing his cognitive function and improving his mental health as well.
So why not try to learn a new language, or perhaps learn a new skill now? Why not go back to school? The idea of slowing down as we age should not apply to us anymore. Learn while you can to keep your mental sharpness as you age.
By Kurt LaCount