Flipping through our local adult education organization’s latest catalogue, I must admit it offers a decent assortment of classes, some of which Hubs and I have taken.
For example, together we learned how to roll our own sushi, he took yoga for men (until he hurt his knee), and a friend and I took a belly-dancing class that made us laugh more than it helped us master our stomach muscles.
But some other offerings hold no appeal: I don’t want to learn how to be a dental assistant, make collage resin coasters or attend bridal boot camp.
So that got me to thinking about other topics that adult ed could offer, particularly for us baby boomers. Here are a few I came up with:
Snappy Comebacks in the Face of Ageism
Tired of feeling dumbfounded when the 20-something bagger at the market asks if you want help getting your groceries to your car? Are you tempted to bitch-slap anyone who says how good you look — for your age? In this class, you’ll learn to deliver witty ripostes that simultaneously raise awareness of the offender’s ignorance and insensitivity, and cut him/her down to size. Example: “Don’t worry about me, honey. Worry about your eyebrows.” A set of pocket-sized cue cards is included in course fee.
How to Learn a Foreign Language When You’re Forgetting Words in English
Don’t let tip-of-the-tongue syndrome hold you back from learning another language! Research shows that adults are actually better language learners than kids — despite perceptions to the contrary. You’re never too old to become fluent, and this engaging class provides tips and techniques for doing so, including how to interact in your chosen language daily without traveling, mnemonics and a wealth of free online resources to help you succeed. You, too, can become a polyglot!
Entertaining in the Age of Dietary Restrictions
Having people over for dinner isn’t as simple as it used to be. Gluten sensitivity, nut and shellfish allergies, lactose intolerance, vegan/vegetarian and Paleo devotees, acid reflux issues — what’s a host/hostess to do? In this hands-on class, you’ll learn to prepare a meal that accommodates eight different types of dietary restrictions, along with appropriate wine pairings. Class fee includes cost of food and a discount on our “How to Make New Friends” class.
Boomer Grandparent Etiquette I: Among Friends
Yeah, we know that your grandchild is the cutest, smartest and most interesting kid to walk the face of the earth. But when does talking about his or her achievements cross the line and become boorish braggadocio? What is an acceptable number of photos to show someone at one time? How often should you post about your progeny on Facebook? Do people without grandchildren really care? This class will help you recognize cues such as glazed-over eyes and backing away that signal it’s time to change the subject. Class fee includes a set of magnets for mounting your little darlings’ artwork and/or photos on the fridge.
Boomer Grandparent Etiquette II: Understanding Your Role
When your kids have kids, it’s a wonderful thing. But it’s important to remember that you are the grandparent, not the parent. In this class, you’ll learn where you fit in the new family order along with essential peacekeeping tactics such as avoidance of: expecting your kids to parent the same way you did, nagging new moms about their baby weight, hopping kids up on sugar before sending them home, demanding holiday visits, and pumping grandkids for information about their parents. Fun exercises will test your ability to zip your lip in various scenarios. You’ll also receive a list of alternative names for “Nana” and “Grandpa.”
How to Stay Sane When You’re Both Retired
If you’re one of the millions of married boomer couples approaching retirement age, you may be in for a rude awakening. For better or worse, retirement poses big challenges to couples who suddenly find themselves together all the time — especially if they haven’t really discussed their expectations. In this class, learn more effective coping strategies than starting to drink at breakfast, locking your spouse out of the house or running away from home — and avoid living unhappily ever after in retirement.
How Not to Sound Like an Old Fart
If maintaining an image of relevant coolness balanced with the gravitas that comes with age maturity experience is important to you, then this class is legit. Avoid dating yourself with passé words and phrases like peachy keen, in the swim and da bomb, and advance your hipster cred by using (appropriately) such of-the-moment phraseology as hangry, on fleek and FOMO—without sounding like an idiot poser anachronism. An especially useful class for boomer guys who want to date 20-something women, or parents of teens who want to understand what the hell their kids are saying.
Okay, fellow boomers—what do you think? What adult ed classes would you like to see? While you’re thinking about it, here’s your Boomer Haiku:
Having lived this long
we think we’re smart, but we don’t
know what we don’t know.
— Roxanne Jones
Roxanne Jones blogs at boomerhaiku.com, a mostly lighthearted, often irreverent look at life as a baby boomer, 17 syllables at a time. When she’s not tapping out haikus, she’s a freelance medical copywriter, enjoys chardonnay and contemplates plastic surgery to get rid of the wattle on her neck.