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Never Too Old

To keep on learning!

You are never too old to learn something new!

The agist philosophy that says “You’re too old” needs to go out the window, my friends!

Case in point: Practically my whole life I wanted to learn to speak other languages. My number one was German because my father was of German descent and it was his first language. It often irked me that he basically quit speaking it, almost losing the ability. Didn’t he realize that speaking to one’s children was the easiest way for them to learn?

My aunties, his older siblings, would sometimes carry on “secret conversations” at family gatherings, and oh how I wished I knew what they were saying! Dad would smile and maybe add a comment or two, but he rarely spoke German.

So, I grew up only knowing English. Sure, I took a bit of French in school, but that was hardly useful or conversational. I also gleaned a few Spanish phrases from TV and a trip to Mexico, but that doesn’t really count either. When I homeschooled my children, we dabbled in German, French, and Spanish, but nothing seemed to stick. It was just so hard! I lived most of my life resigned to the fact that I was unilingual and forever would be. After all, “they” say that learning a new language is too hard for adults past a certain age. If you missed the boat as a child, then too bad for you!

Poppycock! I just wish I had realized this sooner and banished the naysayers.

When 2020 rolled around and Covid hit, people started learning to do all kinds of new things to pass the time and not go stir-crazy. Baking, gardening, painting, playing music… you name it! I started practicing piano every day with the intent of getting better at sightreading.

AND I finally decided to take a leap and learn German, for real this time! No more excuses. “I’m too old” just didn’t cut it anymore. I spent money on a lifetime Rosetta Stone subscription and dove right in. It gave me purpose each day and I had lots of free time. I’d copy out lessons and listen while cooking or exercising. Since my daughter speaks German, I also borrowed all kinds of books and resources from her, too. I was in it to win!

Then I added Duolingo, a free language learning app, to the mix. (I soon got frustrated with the free version and paid for the yearly subscription.) I was spending at least an hour a day – sometimes more – and I was loving it! I’d listen to German songs while doing chores and try to figure out what was happening while watching German TV.

Three and a half years later, I’m still LOVING IT.

I am having so much fun! I don’t spend as much time as I did, but I’m pretty consistent with my daily dose of German. (As you can see from the picture I uploaded, I hit a 1090-day streak in Duolingo recently.)

Am I fluent? Not by a long shot! Will I ever use it practically? I’m not sure. We have no travel plans at the moment.

But I will keep on pursuing this lifelong dream because I am having fun and  I think it’s good for my brain. You can ALWAYS teach an old dog a new trick!


  1. Joanna Cann says:

    Ja, das ist super. Ich spreche ein bisschen Deutsch auch. I did about 590 days in a row on my Duolingo, but have decided to switch to French now as we are planning a trip to Quebec in June. It is so fun to learn a language. I am so proud of you for hitting an over 1,000 day streak. You are an incredible human being Tracy!

    1. tracykrauss says:

      I am suitably impressed with your opening line! Sehr gut!

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