The 50s are the new 30s............What an insight!

The 50s are the new 30s............What an insight!

14th September 2014, by Rachel Paling

A couple of weeks ago someone said this to me in response to my comment that somehow we are all looking younger than our “chronological” age and since then I cannot stop thinking about this.

You see, it is true. Somehow, perhaps through improved living standards or perhaps through some other unknown fact, we all seem to be defying age and appearing and acting as if we are twenty years younger. Obviously there will be exceptions and by no way do I mean to generalize, but I know many 80 year olds who appear and act in their 60s: many 70 year olds who appear and act in their 50s; many 50 year olds who appear and act as if their 30s etc etc. What an insight and isn’t it wonderful!

And the blessing of it all is that in our mature years we are still able to make and shape our lives to exactly what we desire from life. Having spent our 20s, 30s and part of our 40s working out who we are; recovering from broken relationships and knowing exactly what we want or exactly what we do not want, we are ready to embrace life to the full and really search for what we enjoy doing and what we wish now to learn or unlearn. And the beauty of it all is that we now know that the brain has plasticity: that we can learn at any age. All those myths that after the age of 40 it was a downhill track have now been blasted away and we now know that we can learn AT ANY AGE. I know many mature students in their 40s and 50s; for example, my neighbour’s daughter is now embarking on her second year medicine at University at the wonderful age of 45.

So, if you are in your mature years never underestimate your learning potential. Life is an eternal learning process, so why ever stop? Coming back to the brain; yes the brain has malleability or plasticity as the scientists call it, so the brain can change and make new neural connections constantly. The only problem is that the brain likes comfort and habits, which means that it is not so fond of change or the “new”: it takes a lot of energy and effort to embrace the new, but it is really worth it.

At any age, learn something new: a new sport; a new hobby; go back to study the topics or subjects you always wanted to study; go back to university; learn a new language or even two. Retrieve that childlike curiosity and inquisitiveness for the new; you never know, if we become more and more like children in our thirst for learning we may even be able to regress more years so that the 50s become the new 20s!

© 2024 Rachel Marie Paling

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