Feeling Dumber As I Get Older: Part II

Published on May 7, 2019

Last week I posted an article about getting dumber that caused a little bit of a stir because I blamed ad's and social media on my "dumbness". It was actually a really fun article to write, but in all honesty I didn't even get to the point I really wanted to make. I got distracted.

Funny, as that's what the post was all about ?. However, I wasn't distracted in a social-media-is-evil  kinda way, like the post insinuated.

Actually, as I write here on 200WAD I usually just wing it and after a couple of minutes words just start to flow and I simply roll with it.

Alas, and further to the point, what I really wanted to talk about was why I am "getting dumber" as I get older. In the last post I briefly touched on the concept of neuroplasticity and how the brain is capable of rewiring itself. So, when you learn something new your brain creates new neural pathways and strengthen connections to multiple areas of cognition.

Now I'm not a doctor, nor do I claim that any of this fact. But that's just what I know to be true, so far.

The point I wanted to flesh out is that as I am getting older I am noticing that my brain feels as though it's forgetting old skills and thought processes that were once associated with my former self.

That probably sounds a bit weird, right? And I don't really have any hard evidence to back it up (if you do, please share ?!). But it's hard to deny - I can feel it happening. For example, I've spent the last 3-4 years so focused on learning how to code and advance my career that it's almost like my brain had to tip out the old to make way for the new.

And in reality, a lot of the stuff from school and university aren't useful to me anyway, so maybe that's why it's just dissolving out of my brain.

In essence, learning is not just a matter of taking in information indiscriminately, but an active process in which much more is taken in than retained.

Recently I read a pretty crazy stat that read something like this: "you forget 50% after one hour and 77% after one month, if you are not consolidating the new information regularly."

So on one hand it really feels like I am simply purging out old info that I haven't used in years (ie) school, university. And on the other, when I do learn something new I have to really work hard to retain it.

And I assume the older you get the harder it is to retain new information, especially after one session. Isn't that why people say learning a foreign language is much, much harder as an adult than as a child. Your brain literally hardens up as you age; it's not soft and malleable like a child's.

Anyway, this topic really interests me a lot. Perhaps I'll keep digging to expand upon what I've written and actually back it up with science. If you know of any good books, articles or info on the subject, please feel free to share it in the comments below.