Celebrating the 150th issue of the British Psychological Society's Research Digest, the editor invited twenty-something of the world's leading psychologists to answer the what nagging thing they still don't understand about themselves. Many of them are quite good reads, and one of them, Alison Gopnik, wrote that she does not understand why she would love her children so intensely when they are young, but look forward to see them go when they become adults. I personally don't think that's such a big mystery, but it reminded me of the one nagging thing I still don't understand about myself (yes, there's really only one thing left by now).
Why do I expect that I will be different from everyone else?
When people get older they tend to become more conservative, more scared of strangers, and less interested in learning new things. Set in their ways, people often say. Nobody picks up the banjo when they're forty (not literally), and no one learns a new language when they reach sixty. Why not? Because when you get old you get less flexible and less able to learn new things. Less interested in life? But why? No one can tell me. It's one of those things that are so ingrained in our life experiences that we never question it. I look forward to either disprove that those symptoms must not come with old age, or learn why it is that we end up like that. I fully intend to learn to play banjo when I turn forty, and plan to learn a new completely new language when I am sixty (e.g. Arabic or Mandarin). I don't understand why I shouldn't be able to.
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