A message across time to my 16 year old self

Hey, I don’t have much time, but I want to tell you something.

Adulthood is great, but it’s not what you think.

Remember when we were six and we thought it would be so cool to be able to shave and use the lawnmower just like daddy? You know how that turned out, right? Yeah. Adulthood is like that but on steroids.

Sure, you make your own money and drive your own car and own your own house. But you find yourself doing things like driving your own car across Houston to protest the valuation on your own house so that your escrow sucks up a smaller portion of your own money. If you don’t know what “valuation” and “escrow” mean, believe me you will. No rush.

Don’t get me wrong. Adulthood will be awesome. It will be most awesome in many ways you are not mature enough to appreciate yet. Don’t be in such a rush to be “mature.” If you skip past your teens trying to be “mature” more quickly you’ll actually end up being less mature when you get there. Do your maturing as a teen. It’s way more painful to become mature once you become an adult.

I appreciate all your hard studying and your intellectual curiosity, I really do. But dude: Look around. Pay attention. Enjoy things. Make friends. Those are important too.

And now that I look at you, well…  I am still glad you’re a pretty much a nerd but I am damned grateful that you don’t have access to Facebook.

Okay, I gotta go. Someone who claims he’s “me at age 70” is on the other line. Says it’s urgent.

Love you, you knucklehead,

You in your late forties

Thank you Dr. Obvious, your work here is done.

This interview with a brain science author confirms that middle-aged brains are plain smarter than teen or even young adult brains. They have more and stronger connections, more perspective, and just plain more data in them from which to arrive at better decisions faster.

Less obvious and perhaps more interesting were some tips on how to maximize your brain power through middle age:
Exercise is hands-down the surest way to improve your brain and grow new brain cells.
Those Brain Age style puzzles don’t help that much. Unless your goal is to get really good at puzzles.
Social interaction helps keep your brain sharp.
And exposing yourself to diverse views and opinion strengthens your reasoning abilities and connections in your brain. Which confirms my hypothesis that talk radio and news commentary channels rot your brain.

It also makes me feel better about my aging strategy of becoming more eccentric — by acquiring odd hobbies and cultural interests — as I age. I just need to ramp up the excercise as well.