Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Greatest. Scientific. Study. Ever.

I have it on very good authority that the scientists at the University of Edinburgh are really smart. Seriously. But sometimes smart isn't the same thing as wise. Apparently, 63 years ago, the thought entered somebody's head at this fine school to do a multi-decade research project on the effects that aging might have on human personality. To the surprise of absolutely no one alive or dead, then or now, the scientists discovered that personality at age 77 is quite different than it is at age 14. Speaking as someone who used to be 14, I could have saved them a lot of time and trouble, by answering the question this way..."duh!!"

1. When I was 14, I thought that the finest movie ever made was Billy Jack.
2. When I was 14, I thought that a realistic career goal was to become a shortstop in the big leagues.
3. When I was 14, my number one obsession in life was the tantalizing prospect of getting laid.
4. When I was 14, I practiced the guitar until my fingers bled, not for the love of music, but because I thought it might help me accomplish number 3.

So, yeah. . .life at age 58 bares little resemblance to life at 14. But, it's nice to know that a group of scientists have wasted the past 60 years proving what any sentient human being could have told them if they had merely asked. The experiences of one's life do, in fact, change a person. In a perfect world, these changes improve us, burning away the haughty arrogance and pride of youth with the wisdom that comes with humility. But, sometimes the opposite occurs, where the innocence of youth gets exchanged for the cold-hearted cynicism of bitterness. For example...

1. When I was 14, I laughed a lot more than I do now.
2. When I was 14, I didn't categorize my fellow man into political factions.
3. When I was 14, I played the guitar a lot more.
4. When I was 14, I didn't even know what bitterness was.

So, it's a mixed bag. With age has come some good things, and some bad. In many ways I am better at 58, but in some ways not so much.