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Rob Jenkins - Why growing older is a losing proposition

Getting older is not for weenies - although it's certainly true that weenies get older, too. Have you seen Al Gore lately?

One of the problems with aging is that the body does it much faster than the mind - certain parts of the body, in particular.

I remember when I was 25, for example, I still felt like I was about 18. My wife says I acted like I was 18, too, but that's beside the point. The point is that your mental age always seems to lag 5 to 10 years behind your chronological age.

Maybe that's why I spent so much time wondering if I'd ever "feel" like an adult. Well into my 30s, even with all the accoutrements of adulthood - loving family, rewarding career, crippling debt - I still felt like a pretender, like someone playing house.

Then one day in my late 30s, as I was paying bills while child No. 4 used my checkbook for a teething toy, I suddenly realized two things: one, that I finally felt like an adult, and two, that it's way overrated.

Still, the brain-body lag persists. Now that I'm in my mid-40s, I still feel like I'm about 37, which might not seem young to some of you but sounds pretty good to me right now. This is problematic because my mind thinks I can still do things I did routinely back when I was a little more nimble, such as playing two hours of pick-up basketball or smarting off to my wife.

So if you see me walking around with a limp, you'll know why. I'm talking about the basketball, of course.

The other bad thing about getting older is how much knowledge you lose along the way. No, I'm not talking about Alzheimer's or dementia. (At least, I don't think so.) I'm just talking about the gradual seepage of information that accompanies aging.

Sure, conventional wisdom holds that we GAIN knowledge as we grow older, but that's manifestly not true. Just ask any teenager with 40-something parents.

Or ask me. When I was 16 I knew everything - or at least I thought I did, until I reached 19, at which point I was absolutely positive I knew everything.

Once I got to be about 22 or 23, though, I didn't feel like I knew everything anymore. This trend continued over the decades that followed, as I got married and started my career and had children. Each year, I felt like I knew a little less.

Now that I have an 18-year-old and a 20-year-old of my own, I'm repeatedly reminded that I hardly know anything. That's a lot of seepage over 30 years.

The good news is that, although older, I'm hardly old. Heck, if longevity statistics hold true, I could easily live another 30 to 35 years.

Just think how little I'll know by then.