Getting older doesn’t particularly scare. But the one thing that does kind of annoy me is how when we get older we find it a lot harder to get into new things.
There’s this interesting article by researcher Robert Sapolsky about our “windows of receptivity,” that is, the moment when we no longer are open to a particular kind of new experience. He discovered that “for at least one particular fashion novelty, the window of receptivity essentially closed by age 23; for popular music, it closed by 35; for an alien food type, by 39.”
This is why my mother doesn’t have a tongue piercing, why “Flashbacks” on C4 is so popular, and why I never see senior citizens picking up a tray of sushi for lunch.
Of course, as he concludes, there’s nothing really wrong about not dressing like an 18-year-old or still listening to the same music you liked when you were 12. But it’s just a little sad to think that, whether I like it or not, my palette is going to narrow itself.
But it’s not all that bad. In googling for that article I stumbled across this one by Carl Elliott, which references it. It’s also about the changes that happen with ageing, but he notes that “in most fields, the golden years for creative work fall between 30 and 40.”
Yay! So now that I’m approaching 30, does this mean I’m about to embark on my golden years, and will be producing magnificent creative works? Damn, I hope so.