The three ells of third age
Third Age is generally thought of as our time in life after we have finished working or caring for children full-time. So you might think of the three ‘ells of the third age as being loneliness, lethargy and listlessness or maybe lumbago, limping and loss of hearing. But the three ells I am thinking of are the three words in the alliterative university of the third age (u3a) logo – ‘learn, laugh, live.’
The logo describes what the movement is all about and challenges preconceptions of what being an older adult means. The ‘learn’ and ‘laugh’ of the logo are easy to explain. The u3a is structured round interest groups aiming to learn something new or extend their learning but in a social way allowing members to make new friends and enjoy themselves whilst learning. The ‘live’ in the logo is less obvious. Of course members live, but the point is to improve lives, so as a Trekkie might say ‘to live long and prosper’. Learning something new is believed to help with mental well being. Belonging to a group and being valued for your contribution can dispel loneliness and engender self confidence. Some interest groups have an element of physical exercise, to maintain muscle mass, improve agility, balance and well-being, thus helping us live well for longer.
Adrian Wakeford, a member of Emsworth and District u3a is trying to start a sea shanty singing group, which will draw on all these principles. Participants will learn together some of the history of the songs, learn the lyrics and have a good laugh while getting to grips with singing them. Turns can be taken at being shanty-man, the lead singer, who sings the verse followed by everyone joining in the chorus. The physical act of singing should be stress-reducing, be good lung exercise and just simply good fun.
If you are in your third age and have some ‘ells you would like to leave behind, whether your interest is sea shanty singing or something else, look at the Emsworth u3a website www.emsworthu3a.org.uk
The range of interest groups includes ambles and pub lunches, cycling, yoga and Pilates, creative writing, language learning, discussion groups, garden and theatre visits and many more. Emsworth u3a welcomes new members and encourages members to start groups, if they have an interest they would like to share or take up in a supportive and friendly environment. Gill, the membership secretary on 01243 389983 can also give you more information.