Green & Growing vs. Ripe and Rotting

I’m 56 years old and I’m taking the SAT this year.

There’s been a lot of chatter lately about IQ tests and whether or not they are a valid predictor of success in life, or at least of suitability for various professional pursuits.

According to Jordan Peterson, IQ scores are the best measurement anyone has come up with so far which can predict a person’s station in life.

In contrast, Nassim Nicholas Taleb says IQ testing is bogus and doesn’t mean a thing and he says it in such a way that it leaves someone like me (of moderate IQ) thinking he must know what he’s talking about:

In any event, I’ve been thinking a lot lately my own mental development and I often think back to when I was in High School preparing to take the SAT’s and how I really enjoyed that process. Learning new vocabulary words, learning new synonyms and antonyms, practicing math problems, etc. It was an exciting time in my life and I felt at the time that my brain was on fire.

I scored a 1,430 on the SAT (730 Math, 720 Verbal), which was like the top 1 percentile, so I was very happy with the result, which I’m sure helped me get into an Ivy League School, but I remember there was one girl in our class, who scored something like a 1,570 (out of 1,600) and I remember thinking at the time “how is that even possible?”

Since then I’ve heard of people getting a perfect score of 1,600 of the SAT and I’ve often wondered if I’m capable of that. Why not, I think, it simply means not making any mistakes on the exam, getting all the questions right. No big deal, right? Should be doable!

Then I thought to myself, you know Alan, you should have just taken the SAT every year since High School until you got that 1,600 perfect score. Eventually you should be able to get it, I thought.

There’s an old Chinese saying “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is right now.” So yes, I should have been taking the SAT every year all along as a way to keep my mind sharp, but why not start now?

My sister once told me this saying: “You’re either Green & Growing or you’re Ripe & Rotting,” and I’ve always thought that was such a powerful way to approach life. To always be green and growing in your outlook, habits and actions.

So why not start taking the SAT now, at the ripe old age of 56, and use it as a regular tool for staying mentally, intellectually and spiritually sharp for the rest of my life. And who knows, I might one day be able to get that perfect score, which of course will be the ultimate ego boost. And who doesn’t want another one of those?

So here’s the plan: On March 9th of 2019, I’m sitting down for 3+ hours at the Pasadena High School and taking my first SAT in 39 years. I’ve decided not to study at all for this exam, I’m going in fresh, with zero preparation, just to see what intellectual powers still remain on the emaciated frame I call my brain. Let’s get a baseline score which I can improve on in subsequent years.

Wish me luck!

Father of Five, Husband of One, Slayer of Dragons.

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