When middle-aged or elderly people think of learning, they usually complain that they are too old to take up a sport they have never done before, learn a foreign language, etc. Their family and friends reassure them, though, that it is almost never too late to learn and in my opinion they are right.
It is unquestionable that the best time to learn is when we are young. Our cognitive skills then are at their best. Older people have to make more effort if they want to learn skills which average teenagers master very quickly, but later in life we can still make use of our grey matter. There are people who successfully complete courses for senior citizens. Of course everything takes them more time, but with the help of a patient teacher and the right motivation elderly people can still develop their qualifications.
Although taking up a sport is also possible, it is probably harder and harder as we get older. We have to come to terms with the limitations of our body as the time passes. Younger people are generally fitter and have more stamina. There are, however, older people who have managed to stay in shape due to regular exercise and good genes. They succesfully learn to ski or swim in their fifties or sixties.
To sum up, if someone is relatively fit and healthy and has not completely lost their mental capacity, they can learn something even if their young years have long gone. It is important to remember that it is regular exercise for both our bodies and brains that makes it possible to use them until old age.
to complain – narzekać
to reassure - zapewnić, uspokoić
unquestionable - bezsprzeczny, niekwestionowany
cognitive skills – zdolności poznawcze
effort – wysiłek
grey matter – szare komórki
senior citizens – seniorzy
patient – cierpliwy
to master – opanować
limitations – ograniczenia
in shape – w formie
relatively – stosunkowo
mental capacity – zdolność umysłowa
to come to terms with – pogodzić się z czymś, zaakceptować