“Does Age Quash Our Spirit of Adventure?”
All Things Considered did a story today that I found fascinating. Robert Sapolsky, a Stanford biologist, did a study to answer the question “Is there a certain age when the typical American passes from the novelty stage to utter predictability?” When is it that we lose our openness to new experiences? When do we move from adventure to the routine and comfortable?
By age 35, most people don’t care about hot new musicians. Music from high school and college shapes their lifelong tastes. Between 14 and 21, they choose their music, and by 35, the door closes.
After age 39, the adventure window for new food slams shut. And if you didn’t get your tongue pierced between 16 and 23, there’s a 95% chance that you never will. Amazingly, aging bears, cats, baboons, and rats lose their sense of adventure as they age too.
The good news is that some people retain their sense of adventure. Characteristics of these people?
1. They don’t stay in the same job too long.
2. They don’t become good at it. They don’t become eminent.
There must be a balance between daring to do new things as one ages (and not getting stuck in a rut) and having familiarity and comfort.