The other day I celebrated my two-year anniversary studying Spanish (and now Italian) on Duolingo. I've told many people I know or meet about Duolingo, and a few have started using it. (Sadly, most have not.)
It's been a wonderful way to include language study in my life. Ten minutes or even up to an hour a day I can learn new words or concepts or strengthen (or re-learn) skills. How hard is that?
After working through the Spanish for English speakers tree a few times, I continued working on it until I reached Level 25. Then I did the Reverse Tree. Following the advice of many on the discussion board, I ordered a copy of Harry Potter Vol. 1 in Spanish, and am now on about page 60. Even though I only know maybe 3 or 4 words out of 10, I'm working my way through it and enjoying the process. Using a dictionary was slowing down my progress and my enjoyment, so I pretty much ditched the dictionary.
At the same time, I've begun studying Italian. I'm hoping to repeat the process I followed in Spanish. So far, so good.
In the end, much of life is about self-motivation. In spite of the stresses and vicissitudes one faces, it's nice to have formed a positive habit such as foreign language study. As you probably know, along with exercise and music, it's one of the practices that may help stave off dementia. http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/10/more-languages-better-brain/381193/
So, I just wanted to share my Duolingo anniversary with you. I'm happy to be part of this community!
Leí los libros Harry Potter en español en mi Kindle. Con Amazon Prime, los tomé prestados de Kindle Lending Library gratis (un libro por mes). No sé si esa opción aún esté disponible.
Una ventaja de los ebooks es que puedes ver la definición de una palabra por haz clic en ella.
I joined in March 2016, and have missed only one day. Spending about 90 minutes a week in general, as you say one must have some self motivation. First calendar month was very hard, it has been awhile since I asked my brain to do heavy lifting of the memorization sort. Good product, I believe in spaced repetition.
Obviously we agree on the qualities of enthusiasm and motivation. It's one thing to be motivated when you're young, in school, working at a career, and so on. But when you're retired, it's a whole different ball game, and the self-motivation skills you've developed during a lifetime have to take you through the duration.
I am indeed enjoying Italian!
Congratulations! Thank you for writing a little more about your situation and about the importance of habits. I am still working but far enough along to be thinking about how life will be in retirement and you are an excellent role model. Good luck with Harry Potter and Italian.
Thanks for your kind words. I started thinking about the importance of keeping active in retirement when I was 40! Because of that, I may have been better prepared than some. It's really important, IMHO, to have goals, projects, and significant activities in your life after your career is over that will keep you going strong in your 70s and beyond. You never know how long you'll be around, and too many people I know start declining quickly when they retire.