Age and Recklessness

People rarely become more reckless as they get older. Isn’t that weird?

The older you are, the fewer years of life you are utting on the line when you do something risky. Once you are in your nineties you have, almost literally, nothing to lose. So why not go for it?

Not in the real world: a teenager will always take more risks than her grandparents. At least it looks like that to me; a quick google didn’t find me much data.

And I have encountered exceptions. There are older activists who put themselves in the front line if oritests. They figure the police will either spare them, or attack them and look bad doing so. But we notice these cases precisely because they go against our expectations.

Hormones, I suppose, have a lot to answer for. Plus, not every risk is dicing with death. Sometimes it means dicing with falling over, which is more of a deal with senior-citizen bones.

And physical risks often come with other physical activities, which are less fun when your body is falling apart. You might give up off-piste skiing without being more scared of a fatal accident, just because it is less fun with arthritis.

Why am I interested, anyway? It’s because I clearly have some false intuitiions about ageing. Right now I imagine my risk tolerance will only increase as I get older. The actually-existing elderly disagree. So either I am destined for an atypical retirement, or I’m fundamentally wrong about how my future will feel.

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