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The question is how you build learning into your day without sacrificing productivity.


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At night, my kids and family and the dishes tend to consume what energy I have left in the day. So where do I find the time for deep, immersive learning that will keep my brain young? Many people I know in the field have many more years and experience beyond me, and will laugh at my own thoughts about aging. Figuring out the right direction or strategy on a project is no longer a guessing game.

If I want, I could probably coast for a decade. But right now, typing this, my brain is tired even after multiple cups of coffee during the day.

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Will my brain-dead hour slowly stretch earlier and earlier until my productivity time fades out? Will there come a time when my peak daily productivity time lasts about an hour? The young can be old and the old can be young — biological age is irrelevant.

Or rather, you have to acquire new learning that challenges or subverts what you thought you already knew. That sense of awareness about yourself and life rarely correlates with age. Tip: To read more on this topic, see How to encourage risk-taking and idealism without falling prey to cynical attitudes born from experience.

Growing Old in America: Expectations vs. Reality

Here are a few short survey questions to gauge your thoughts on this topic. You can view the ongoing results here :. Toggle navigation. About API documentation course Simplifying complexity Podcasts Contact Archives Misc. Stay current with the latest in tech comm. Keep current with the latest trends in technical communication by subscribing to the I'd Rather Be Writing newsletter. Search results. Upcoming event:. The engineering demographic can make even a relatively young person seem old.

Tweet Share. Is age an excuse for all the new things you don't try? Do you spend more time reminiscing about what once was instead of planning on what's to come? These questions and more are indicative of the mindset you have around age. And, as this research shows, will affect how you actually age. Tao Porchon Lynch still keeps an active schedule, professionally and socially. Her body and mindset is indicative of her innate drive. You can see Tao in the photo above, assisting me in a posture she had just flawlessly demonstrated, mere months after her wrist fracture in Fifty years from today I'll be her age in this photo.

Perhaps if I keep thinking I'm in my twenties I'll still stretch myself into this shape. One thing is certain: if I don't think I'll be able to, I won't. Mindset matters. The science is on our side. Based in Los Angeles, he is working on a new book about spiritual consumerism. Stay in touch on Facebook and Twitter. To experience real fulfillment, it's important to evaluate opportunities before jumping on board. Big Think Edge For You. Big Think Edge For Business. Preview an Edge video. Sponsored by the Institute for Humane Studies Insiders and outsiders keep democracy alive: Whistleblowing, civil disobedience and discourse.

Sponsored by the Institute for Humane Studies Why pitting prejudices against each other keeps society free. Youthful mindset can slow — even reverse — aging, research suggests. Your mindset can rewind aging, physically and mentally, as these jaw-dropping experiments show. Photo credit: Freestocks. Surprising Science. Astrophysicists: gamma-ray jets exceed the speed of light. California researchers develop drug cocktail that reverses aging — results 'remarkably promising'.

Why Germany is a blank spot on Google's Street View. Strange Maps. Others may recall the enthusiasm, in the early twentieth century, for implanting monkey glands in people, a procedure that was held out as a scientific solution to the problem of aging.

Yeats had a related procedure. The fountain of youth is always splashing away somewhere. Behind the optimistic promise of heading off aging in spaniels and, soon, in their owners lies a sadder reality: that even foundational research cannot always cure a fundamental problem. Despite what had seemed to be groundbreaking discoveries in the basic genetics and pathology of dementia, no cure or even promising treatment for senility, as it once was called, is in sight.

Here, there is talk not of imminent innovation but of discouragingly minute work proceeding on many slow-moving fronts over decades. His tenth-floor office is filled with reproductions of Blake illuminations and Whistler portraits, while photographs of his children cycle on the screen saver behind him, blended with images of whales and dolphins, a particular interest of his. He is white-haired, with the soft accent of his native Switzerland.

This 88-year-old has some advice about staying young — and happy

We do tissue staining, taking a piece of brain or an entire brain—slicing them into very thin sections, which we incubate with an antibody that labels a specific population of neurons, and we collect that. Or we can load neurons with a fluorescent dye—inject it, using a very thin glass pipette that runs right into the neuron—so then we have a fluorescent neuron!

In a large common lab outside the microscopy rooms, there are shelves holding rows of what look like hinged, dark-wooden cigar boxes. It looks small, because it was incubated in a chemical process—we started with the entire hemisphere and then incubated it in an alcoholic treatment, and it shrinks by two-thirds. Then you stain it, and there you go. The brain room is a revelation. Here they are: human brains, monkey brains, dolphin brains—the space between brain and mind never seems so large as it does when you actually see the material of mind, curved and segmented, as ugly as an intestine, floating in a fixing solution.

It looks beautifully broad, with nobly large-spaced convolutions. Finding the brains of senile cetaceans is hard, he says. The relative importance of the two was disputed, but many scientists concluded that those plaques and fibrils clog the brain as coffee grounds clog a drain. It seemed likely that there would be therapeutic benefits if they could be cleared away.


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They are the old-fashioned sins: obesity, a lack of exercise, bad diet—and the diabetes that these can produce. For all the cascades of research into longevity, the new science often seems to distill into old wisdom: be fit, stay thin, and you will look and feel younger longer. Every elder is unique, and will have had life experiences and habits that are unique. Then we need to have a better understanding of the causative factors.

There are leads that point to a number of interesting markers. There are proteins that play cellular roles that effect a cascade of reaction inside the cells, but it becomes very difficult to target specifically without altering other functions.

6 Ways that Thinking Changes with Aging (& What to Do About This)

None of it is easy. As you take off the agnes suit—piece by piece; the boots and then the wrist weights and the impeding gloves—the feeling is disconcerting. We forget our insides, and fold ourselves back out. The true condition of youth is the physical ability to forget ourselves. Glenda Jackson, now playing Lear on Broadway at the age of eighty-three, captures the indomitable egotism of the aged. Watching her onstage, we are asked to recognize not just the anger but also, eventually, the wisdom of age.

A decade and a half ago, a Presidential council chaired by the bioethicist Leon Kass produced a report raising questions about research into extended longevity. Eerily, they were given a precise phenotypic marker, a blemish above the left eyebrow, and were given, too, the ill temper associated with age. Promised eternal life, they were cursed with ever-progressing aging, and were the most miserable people alive.

We may indeed already be converging as a population—irascible millennials who feel dated at twenty-five and determinedly upbeat boomers who insist on feeling young at seventy—on a single American age, a kind of shared perpetual middleness, where we will dye our hair and take our pills and suddenly collapse in the midst of the dance.

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In the past, as science and medicine annihilated old curses, we worried about losing the corresponding compensating benefits. And yet pain in childbirth, which some thought to be foundational to what we call Judeo-Christian morals, could be largely subdued without any loss to mother love; consumption was cured without lessening the romance of romantic poetry. Perhaps the loss of aging will be one more in that series, where, like all the other super-centenarians, we will dance and make love and ski, sharp-eyed, right to the edge of the still inevitable cliff. Brave New World Dept.

May 20, Issue. By Adam Gopnik May 13, Some view old age not as a fact to be endured but as a disease to be cured.


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