Well, you gotta love this study (if you're me, anyway), cited in an article entitled: "Older Brain Really May Be a Wiser Brain," in the NY Times.
"It may be that distractibility is not, in fact, a bad thing,” said Shelley H. Carson, a psychology researcher at Harvard. “It may increase the amount of information available to the conscious mind.”
I've been trying to convince my girlfriend (who's 6 years younger than me) of this since we've been together. "I may not remember the details of things, but I remember the essence," is my frequent claim, frequently met with rolling eyes.
Come on, Doc, bring it on!
“A broad attention span may enable older adults to ultimately know more about a situation and the indirect message of what’s going on than their younger peers,” says Dr. Lynn Hasher, a professor of psychology and a senior research scientist. “We believe that this characteristic may play a significant role in why we think of older people as wiser.”
Yes! Grandpa Pete rules! He taught me about patience, and being willing to try new things based on trust without needing to know first what it was I was trying. I learned from him that rushing actually makes things ultimately take longer, and that an over-sized intellect can be an impediment to exploring life. He made me look forward to being old. I couldn't wait to be wise.
“These findings are all very consistent with the context we’re building for what wisdom is,” says Jacqui Smith, another researcher and professor of psychology. “If older people are taking in more information from a situation, and they’re then able to combine it with their comparatively greater store of general knowledge, they’re going to have a nice advantage.”
That's right - a "nice advantage!" That's why I'm not afraid to take on all the younger Hollywood types in trying to become a screenwriter at my age. Now, if I could only remember where I put my reading glasses.