I feel like I'm getting stupider.
June 13, 2009

I can remember being quite smart at one point. Sharp, even. I had a good general knowledge, knew what was going on in the world, and was pretty quick with puzzles and problems.

Now? I feel dull-witted and apathetic. I don't pay much attention to current events, politics, or any of it. People 5 years younger than me could probably beat me in arguments about things I used to know quite well.

This is probably due to my mind becoming lazy because I'm no longer studying. 2006-2008 all I was studying was my Library course, so I still know lots about libraries. Just not much about anything else.

I'm not your typical stupid person. I'm still good with common sense and stuff like that. Just not as bright as I once was. Usually all I have to contribute to conversations is some sort of joke, rather than anything meaningful.

Is this a natural part of getting older, or is my laziness getting out of hand?

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bloomer bloomer - June 13, 2009 (06:23 AM)
I wonder about this kind of thing sometimes too. I do think there's a factor of getting older, as we all get a bit more stubborn as we age I think, whether we like it or not. But I imagine you're still not really old enough to have entered that valley. Your studies are pretty close behind you, so your brain shouldn't have sloughed into the mud or anything. Your body starts sloughing at 25 ;) 1% of your fitness goes for each year after 25 they say. 8 years later I can believe it.

Maybe you do need to just pump some fresh air of some kind through your day to day to rejuvenate yourself. The battle between the stability of routines and the need to try new stuff (in anything, large or small) becomes bigger as you get older. I sometimes feel sluggish and I really don't think I force enough changes on myself.
honestgamer honestgamer - June 13, 2009 (11:28 AM)
Yeah, I'm definitely letting myself become complacent with increasing stupidity--or have been. So I'm trying to make changes because I don't want to be one of those stupid old guys who maybe knows a lot but never puts any of it to use or does anything more than get up to go to the refrigerator sometimes before returning to the television to watch MASH reruns. There are smart old guys out there. Sometimes I meet them. My goal is to be one of them! When I'm older, I mean.
aschultz aschultz - June 13, 2009 (01:58 PM)
Sounds like maybe you want to look for something new and big and concrete to learn. Maybe a language or something. Fact is, the more you know, the more you know you don't know, and that's intimidating.

I know it's easy to forget all the stuff I've absorbed. For instance in the past few years I

* learned Perl
* learned how to google regularly for Perl, or to find modules people wrote for what I want to do
* got in the habit of looking at Wikipedia/dictionary.com regularly at the slightest hint of confusion over a word or famous person, etc
* got in the habit of bringing paper/pen everywhere I go
* gone through a list of old movies I wanted to watch and watched them
* been more able to track if something I do is actualy helping me learn more of what I want to
* wrote a list of stuff I wanted to be smarter at

None of these may make you smarter, but they leave the door open for possibilities. Since it's so hard to measure being smart, and you probably have a desire to keep getting smarter, and you can see all the information in the world growing exponentially, it's tough not to feel behind the curve.

I think the single most important thing I've seen in the past year, though, is a study of parents of smart kids. One of the worst things they could do for/to their kids was to say "you're smart. Go be smart." It was more harmful than doing nothing. Parents who gave their kids specific stuff to do, or linked Smart Activity A with Smart Activity B, got the most of their kids.

Applying this to myself, I know I get the least done when I say "gee I'm supposed to be smart." I get the most done when saying "here's something I want to learn more about, and if I'm behind the curve, there's an easy way to make up a lot of ground completely."

And if you want to be cynical, remember that most people are too dumb to realize they're getting dumber. You want to avoid that.

So, have a notebook or text file, write stuff down over the next week or so, and see what most you want to do. See if any two interests link up. Then get cracking. It's tough to make a new interest out of nothing, but I think you'll find you have lots of interests you forgot you wanted to explore in detail.
jerec jerec - June 13, 2009 (04:10 PM)
That's some good advice, guys. Thanks! I'm a few months away from turning 25, so I still have some time to turn it all around and become a mid 20's badass.
darketernal darketernal - June 14, 2009 (06:16 PM)
I know exactly how that feels. It's been like that for me for the last 5 years or so, and I am barely 25 years of age. When I was in my teen years, especially my late teen years I had a feeling I knew every bloody thing there is to know. These days, I'm glad to even remember half the things that I learned during my school/college days.

I blame the internet. It's a vast library of knowledge, but what we spend 99 percent of our time on it(in my case at least) is trivia that will do you absolutely no good in any aspect of life.

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