Recently, I took some classes and learned how to make pine straw baskets. I also took some art classes and worked with acrylic paints, colored pencils, and chalk. None of this learning was familiar to me.

I found out that my 73-year-old brain still works. I could follow instructions and produce a finished product that wasn't an embarrassment. And, wonder of wonders, I enjoyed learning new things.

Some of my learning hasn't been in a basket-making or art class. Some of it has been life learning. For instance, I've learned……….

Ÿ Most of the medical folks (doctors, nurses, and dentists) are young enough to be my children.

Ÿ I cannot name one song from the current Top Ten list, When I drive my car, the radio is tuned to either the 40's or 50's stations on XM. I can sing along with those songs.

Ÿ Cotton underpants are the most comfortable. They're even better when the waistbands stretch out.

Ÿ We go to restaurants that offer "early bird specials." Our regular dinner hour is 5 p.m. because we don't like to go to bed on a full stomach. Plus, smaller portions and cheaper prices are great.

Ÿ And, on a similar note, our bedtime is getting earlier and earlier. I used to be able to last until 10 p.m. Now I'm lucky to make it until 8:30 p.m.

Ÿ I don't feel that it is necessary to finish a puzzle or a book. I think to myself - "Is this worth using my precious eyesight?"

Ÿ Our TV watching has become predictable - re-runs of "MASH," "Law and Order," and "In the Heat of the Night" are our regular fare. Once in a while we'll try a new show, but most of them are on after 8 p.m.

Ÿ Nothing surprises me anymore.

Ÿ Every car on the highway goes too fast.

Ÿ Large gatherings of people make me nervous.

Ÿ Throwing things away can be very therapeutic. Instead of hanging on to a toaster that only heats on one side, I discard it. Also, chipped dishes and glasses don't hang out in my cupboard.

Ÿ Cruising is the ideal vacation. If you choose, you can spend an entire week reading by the pool. When the ship docks in a foreign port, you can stay on board and pretend that the ship is your own private yacht. While everyone else gets hot and tired doing the tourist routine, you can sip a Rebellious Fish cocktail on the deck. (For those who care, a Rebellious Fish contains orange vodka, passion fruit, orange juice, and blueberries. The blueberries swim around in the drink like fish.)

Ÿ Collecting things might be fun when you're young, but someone my age can't continue to do it. My house is only so big. I have enough of everything. My collections are complete.

Ÿ Buying books is just like collecting. My shelves are full. Now I go to the library or use my Kindle. Sure, you must buy books for the Kindle, but they are not clogging up my den.

Learning is important for a happy life. I plan to continue learning new things for many years to come.

If you would like to contact Dr. Smith, she can be reached at her e mail address: jsmith1313@cfl.rr.com [1] or in care of this newspaper.