The Creative Liberation Lab Notes

An official publication of Limeadestand Works

Aging is a bullshit excuse

November 03, 2018 | Geek topics

It has been said that one begins to get old when they cease to learn.

Honestly, I am tired of dealing with people who chalk their inabilities and unwillingness to learn off on their age. I'm tired of hearing something like "I'm too old to learn new software" or "I'm too old to go back to school." Often this same attitude is linked to their exaltation of aging as if it is something positive (remember: aging is just another word for a slow death).

I was fortunate to go to a community college after high school, where there was a diverse student body. One of my closest friends at the time was in her 60s and she was a 4.0 GPA student. She looked at least 15 years younger than her actual age.

Aside from a legitimate neurological disease such as Alzheimer's, there is no scientific evidence that aging makes it more difficult for a person to learn new ideas or skills. In fact, a study "found that the adults who were productively engaged in learning new skills showed improvements in memory compared to those who engaged in social activities or non-demanding mental activities at home."Another study indicates that one's rates of learning are largely unaffected by age.

So why is it that "old people" are perceived by society as someone incapable of learning?

I believe there are two big reasons why old people do not learn.

First, it's arrogance. As people age, they grow complacent and feel too comfortable in the way things have always been. They love to reminisce of "good old days," while turning their noses up at "the Millennials" or "the kids these days." Ageism, like racism and patriarchy, is deeply ingrained in our culture since time immemorial, and society tends to value the aged adults more than the younger generations.

Second, it's pure laziness and lack of discipline. When we were teenagers or young adults, we went to school every weekday and our learning activities were highly structured around an established curriculum. Once we left the school system, however, we no longer have that structure. This requires a much greater ability to self-discipline in order to learn. Life always comes with a lot of distractions. Many of us are easily sidetracked by the shiny new objects. We may also find it very difficult to get started with learning unless we avail ourselves to a structured learning environment.

Like muscles, disuse results in atrophy.

In short, aging is a bullshit excuse for one's unwillingness to learn.