Taking a good class can offer the benefits of both a workout and a community. Some classes, like Pilates, step aerobics, or kick boxing, offer mostly physical workouts. Others, like Natural Gardening, Personal Finances, or Beating Diabetes, may involve mostly mental effort. And some, like Tai Chi, Yoga, Pilates, Flower Arranging, Woodworking, and Beginning Guitar, stress coordination of our physical and mental efforts.

Teaching a class is a great way to share your talents with others, and taking a class offers an opportunity to enrich your life by developing new skills and meeting new people, who just may turn into good friends. Every class is also a learning community that features both teacher-to-student and student-to-student interaction.

Interesting classes are offered by most senior centers and also by the community education programs of many school systems and community colleges, as well as by many living communities. If you work out at a gym or health club, it will almost certainly offer classes that will help motivate you and make your exercise more effective.

Activity

List three different places where you might find a class you could take or teach. List three classes you would enjoy teaching or taking. Investigate and see if any classes are available in your areas of interest.

It's amazing how the minutes can roll into hours, days, months, years, decades, and roll us along with them. Unless confronted with some major life-altering event, we may find ourselves just going along for the ride without paying much heed to alternatives or long term consequences.  And as long as our fundamental needs are met, maybe that's okay. 

But now and then it's also good to stop and take inventory. As Socrates said, "The unexamined life is not worth living." How okay are things, really? How satisfied are you with your life right now, and what could be done to improve it?

How good is your health? Are you getting enough exercise? Are you eating good food with plenty of fruits, whole grains, and vegetables? Do you have access to a treadmill, or to a Tai Chi, Yoga, or Pilates groups?

Have you maintained or renewed the passions and interests that animated your younger years? If not, how could these be rekindled? Do you love to paint? Collect? Make music? Travel? Garden?

These are just a few examples of questions you could ask and answer as you pause to examine your life. You know best what matters to you. 

Activity

Take a half hour or so to pause and take stock of your life, as it is right now. Use questions and topics like the examples above, but drawn from your own life. Write this down, on paper, in your Blog, or on the Forum to share and discuss with a friend. Compare lists with your friend and discuss how you could take direct action to set your lives on a more satisfying course.  

"Our wills and fates do so contrary run/That our devices still are overthrown; / Our thoughts are ours, their ends none of our own," says the Player King, meaning perhaps that for all we may do and think, the future is never entirely in our control.

Call it "fate" or "karma" or "God's will" or "blind chance" or "serendipity" or . . .. The name is not as important as the essential concept: Events often turn out differently than we had expected. Other factors, beyond our control, often shape our lives in unexpected ways.

That's not to say we are powerless to shape our lives. We can think and act with integrity, generosity, mindfulness, courage, persistence. We can do all this and more, but in the end who knows which of us will be struck by lightning or cancer? We are parts of a much larger whole that has its own inscrutable origins and ends.

We may not like this or think it fair, but if we can accept it, we can focus better on acting and thinking in the here and now without illusions or bitterness or regret.

Activity

Recall a time in your own life when you experienced an unexpected turn of events--for better or worse. Or if you prefer, tell about such a situation that has been in the news. Describe the situation briefly and tell what, if anything you learned from the situation.

Reclaim your past. Don't let it just slip away. Your life is like a novel or motion picture in which you are the main character. Why not write it down, or if you'd rather, get a voice recorder and and simply speak into it. Such a project may seem daunting at first (what to say? how to begin?) but don't be put off. You can start anywhere and just write down the facts in a clear and straightforward manner.

If you don't feel comfortable writing about yourself, write about someone else, maybe a parent or child or another person who had an impact on your life. Or begin writing about a place, maybe a neighborhood you once lived in or a place you once worked.

Another sort of project could be a family history, not about you but about your ancestors, as far back as you can go. In the process of gathering details, you could contact family members for their recollections and memorabilia.

A great place to do this writing would be your Blog on this Website. If you want to include a photo gallery, you can do that here also. By using the blog and the Gallery together, you could produce a digital scrapbook for your friends and family.

Activity

Begin telling your life story in words and pictures. Make a blog that tells about a person, place, or event that influenced you. Use the gallery to include pictures that help to illustrate. Share this with friends and family. Invite them to comment.