This week I heard that 1 in 3 people will get Alzheimer's by the time they're in their 60s. I was stunned, since I'm unaware if anyone I ever knew had it, and I've known a lot of old people. (This can explain a lot about American elections though since most voters are 60+.)
Sometimes I think that people stagnate at about the mental age of 20. That's about the age they've finished learning how to learn. Everything they do after that age is a variation of a theme using the mental skills they've acquired by that time. Even if they learn new things, they're just using the same synapses in their brains to add to their store of knowledge.
When I went to college, I was confronted with the need to actually study. This was a very unpleasant awakening. I had managed to skip through school up till that point with very little actual effort, and I liked it that way. Watching my college classmates studying, I felt both reluctance and curiosity. Most of them looked miserable, and who wants to join in misery? At the same time, I wondered how they did it, and I asked them about their study techniques.
Most of them did some variation of endlessly repeating things and reading text books until the knowledge got wedged in their brains. I'm too dyslexic, and honestly don't have the attention span to dedicate to rote learning. One friend told me she made up little songs with the lyrics being test facts. That worked much better for me. Another told me to take really good notes. I could do that while attentively listening in class.
Most of the things I studied after college were learned in the same ways, and I got to a different point of mental laziness again. Again, I found myself liking it that way. I think it's human nature to do the least amount of work necessary. It's why we get fat.
At one of my jobs, I found my old methods didn't work as well as necessary for the tasks at hand. I read and took copious notes. I listened hard. I experimented. I tried to remember what I'd learned in 3rd grade math classes. I could feel synapses painfully growing in my brain -- and I found that after the initial doubts and misery, I loved it.
The most important thing I learned is that I needed to keep learning. It didn't really matter what I learned. I just needed to keep stretching my brain muscles to keep them limber. I'm not going to get Alzheimer's. I hope you don't either. Keep your brain and enjoy learning as a life-long process
Happy Memorial Day for those who live where it is celebrated. Remember those who died for your freedom to enjoy picnics!