Vignettes on Aging – Curiosity

The wonderous joy of watching a baby or young child grow into its world can be characterized by many things, including its expanding curiosity.

Curiosity is not easy to measure since it’s presence is based on what people report it to be, which is subjective. However, it is general knowledge that our natural curiosity decreases as we age. This decrease occurs partly because we forget more as we get older and that reduces our desire to keep learning new things. That being said, for those whose memory is strong, curiosity is beneficial to keeping the memory muscle active. It’s sort of a chicken-and-the-egg syndrome.

Aging can make retaining new information more difficult, which makes us less motivated to seek it out, which, in turn, can lead to more cognitive decline. It can be a vicious cycle.

Remember those years when we thought we knew it all? No one could tell us something we were positive we already knew. And we knew a lot in those days – perhaps not as much as we bragged about. Satisfying our curiosity was on our terms, whether we needed the help we didn’t ask for or not. Oh, well, we made it to today so we found enough of the answers to make it here.

While curiosity doesn’t cure diseases or pay the mortgage, it may be able to keep us sharper as we age. There’s no scientific study to make the point definitively one way or another, however, it is felt that the more curious you are, the more motivated you are to seek out information. In turn, the motivation to satisfy our curiosity helps us learn more effectively. Also, there’s a part of our brain associated with sleep that we can keep in better shape if we do certain activities (known as your dopaminergic health). Many of those activities are associated with being curious and doing activities like research and looking for answers to satisfy that curiosity.

Finally, if you’re curious, you’re more involved, more active and fun to be around and less likely to let the down times overtake the good.

Follow your curiosity.

You have a choice just how much you will do in old age to keep going longer. Working out, eating right, residing in gratitude, and always being kind are all part of a healthy foundation for aging well.  Stretching yourself to remain curious is yet another simple and no-cost way to keep things going at a more pleasant pace.