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Not Ready to be Put Out to Pasture

I got to see Josh’s old college, though the students were mostly be off-campus.  This was good because if they were there, I would have likely spent the bulk of my time there thinking “my good years are behind meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee” in the face of their optimistic youth.

Not that I’m dramatic or anything.

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The Atlantic recently reported on a study that looked at the age that people peak in terms of skills.  It turns out that I still have a few good years ahead of me.  The author writes,

The takeaway from the study is a happy one: There’s no single “smartest” age—people of different ages are best at different things. While in your 50s your memory might start failing you, your days of enjoying a brobdingnagian lexicon are still ahead.

YES!

It is nice to know that there is plenty I still have to look forward to such as increased vocabulary and understanding how things work, though I should probably stop saying things like college is wasted on the young since apparently certain skills peak in the late teens and early twenties.

I guess there is a reason to have those kids in school after all.

I’ve been reassuring myself that just because a skill peaks at an early age doesn’t mean that we lose it.  It simply means that we’ve reached the point where it’s as good as it’s going to get in the intellectual sense.

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I think we have this impulse as humans to always be moving towards something better and not being happy with the plateau.  Which is great in the sense of self-improvement, but bodes poorly for being content with the happily-ever-after.

No one wants to think that their best years have already happened.

We live in a society that values youth, even if young people have a crap vocabulary.  Look at that!  I am living proof!  I just used the term “crap” to describe vocabulary instead of the erudite word I will reach for in my sixties and beyond.

It is odd to be an adult.  To think of yourself as grown up.  That time period once seemed so far away.  And then, suddenly, it’s here.

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I always said that when I was an adult, I was going to eat cookies for dinner.  And now look at me, with a big plate of lettuce.  What happened?

What promises did you make about adulthood when you were younger?

P.S. Tomorrow is #MicroblogMonday.  Get writing.

13 comments

1 Jenn { 05.31.15 at 9:04 am }

I eat all the ice cream I want. I don’t know if I promises myself anything really. I would really like to not move constantly and get to read more like I used to.

2 loribeth { 05.31.15 at 10:30 am }

When I was a kid, I HATED it when we’d visit my parents’ friends & relatives and they would exclaim over how much I’d grown since the last time they saw me. I vowed I would never, ever do that to a kid when I became an adult. And of course I have — although I immediately regret I when I do, and I have bitten my tongue trying not to on many occasions. 😉

3 Working mom of 2 { 05.31.15 at 11:46 am }

I don’t really remember making any promises in that regard.

This post and this issue is really hitting a nerve with me right now. I’m looking in the mirror thinking, how did I get so old? I remember when I was younger thinking about older people chasing youth ” why don’t they just accept it? They’re old.” It’s as though they were a separate category of people who had always been that way. Now I’m at an age where I’m a lot older than people I viewed as old, grownup, etc. I’m my youth. Yet I don’t feel different in that way. I still feel like there’s a young person inside, mismatched with this body. Do in retrospect probably everyone “old” back then probably felt this way too.

4 Lori Lavender Luz { 05.31.15 at 11:51 am }

Ha. I promised that when I became a parent I would remember what it was like to be a kid and instead be empathetic! I would be understanding! I would let the poor kid have more of a say in bedtimes, limits, foods, scheduling, all things!

About that…

How about “mediocre” or “meager” instead of “crap,” you youngun?

5 Cristy { 05.31.15 at 2:45 pm }

I had to laugh because “crap” is my go-to word when I’m exhausted and disappointed in the final product. Hence I’m sorely in need of a new word.

I remember all too well all the promises I made when I was younger about what I would do and not do as an adult. I sincerely try to stick to most of them, but there are ones that make me realize how naive I was.

And I’m at the pateau, striving for the next level. How I hate the plateau.

6 torthuil { 05.31.15 at 5:02 pm }

Hmmm, kind of tough: I don’t think I looked that much ahead as a child. I think I wanted to publish a book, and I wanted to be “famous” for something. Also I wanted to be compassionate and understanding of people because in my early teens my family went through a rough spot where I felt that people were not understanding enough of each other, and it struck me as very unjust. As to how I feel about those things now: I stopped caring about formally publishing anything in my early 20s. Basically I looked into the effort it would take, and decided that it wasn’t worth that much to me. I also stopped caring about being famous. It seems like people become famous now for very foolish reasons and again, it wasn’t worth it to me and my “normal” life was of far more value to me. I like to think that I have followed through on my wish to be an understanding and compassionate person.

7 Queenie { 05.31.15 at 9:58 pm }

Writers ALWAYS get better with age, so you are all set!!!

This may not make any sense, but I sometimes look at people who I know are my age and think “wow, that person looks so old.” In my head I think that I don’t look that old, although of course I do. I don’t feel my age at all. But on the other hand, I am enjoying every year to its fullest, and try to live without regrets. As long as you are enjoying yourself and feel fulfilled, it doesn’t matter what age you are.

8 Mali { 06.01.15 at 1:34 am }

When I was young, I don’t think I made promises to myself, other than that I would travel and learn about the world. I did think though that being an adult would be fantastic, because I’d be self-confident and assured. Ha!

You my dear make me want to scream “my good years are behind meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.” I’m feeling old today.

9 Mali { 06.01.15 at 1:37 am }

PS. I really like that the things that are important to me – like vocabulary, comprehension, and information – are peaking now and continue on into the future! Who cares about word pairs?!

10 Jessica { 06.01.15 at 4:26 am }

When I was young, I thought the world was my oyster. I thought if I worked hard, I would become successful. I missed the mark.

11 Valery Valentina { 06.01.15 at 2:45 pm }

As a teenager I was overwhelmed by the idea i had to find my soul mate amongst 5 billion people. I was able to narow it down to 5 million, but that didn’t reassure me much.
I promised myself that as a student I would go out and buy new socks instead of doing laundry. Was disappointed to find out how much that would cost.
Not sure when I came up with the idea, but I discovered that as an adult you can have chocolate or cookies at work and NOT share. Somehow that stays, whereas the cookies-for-breakfast or crisps-for-dinner were just one offs.

I get tired of the idea of trying to climb up from my plateau. I’m not broken so I’m not fixing anything!

12 Jess { 06.01.15 at 11:59 pm }

It is comforting to know that some things get better with age and experience… I feel like it’s important to always keep learning. I think I always thought I’d have unlimited candy and treats in my house, because I lived in a severely treat-limited, diet-heavy house. I do have The Candy Drawer, but now that I have treats available I don’t always want them. Which isn’t a bad thing.

13 Middle Girl { 06.05.15 at 8:01 am }

As a kid all I wanted was not to be a kid anymore. I didn’t really dream of what kind of adult per se. Once I found art I wanted to pursue that in some form or fashion.

And now, well into my 50s, trying to make time and energy for hobbies that will generate some income, at some point.

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