3 SIGNS OF PSEUDOMATURITY: These young teenagers sought out friends who were physically attractive; their romances were more numerous, emotionally intense and sexually exploring than those of their peers; and they dabbled in minor delinquency — skipping school, sneaking into movies, vandalism. The fast-track kids didn’t turn out O.K.
At 13, they were viewed by classmates with envy, admiration and not a little awe. The girls wore makeup, had boyfriends and went to parties held by older students. The boys boasted about sneaking beers on a Saturday night and swiping condoms from the local convenience store. They were cool. They were good-looking. They were so not you. Whatever happened to them?
Now in their early 20s, many of them have had difficulties with intimate relationships, alcohol and marijuana, and even criminal activity.
They are doing more extreme things to try to act cool, bragging about drinking three six-packs on a Saturday night, and their peers are thinking, ‘These kids are not socially competent.’
Cool Kid (Gianluca Fabrizio/Getty Images)
ANXIETY: Adolescents, on average, experience more anxiety and fear and have a harder time learning how not to be afraid than either children or adults. It turns out that the brain circuit for processing fear — the amygdala — is precocious and develops way ahead of the prefrontal cortex, the seat of reasoning and executive control. This means that adolescents have a brain that is wired with an enhanced capacity for fear and anxiety, but is relatively underdeveloped when it comes to calm reasoning.
GREAT DC LOVE DEBATE: 71% of D.C. residents are single, and that’s certainly not all by choice. “There seems to be a lot of great men and a lot of great women and they seem to not want to be single. And yet for some reason, there seem to be more of them than ever.”
Why are people single? Are women crazy gold-diggers and men commitment-phobic players?
Life coaches talk of how to change your at-ti-tude, live in the moment and stop treating dates as “spouse-hunting safaris.”
The D.C. dating scene is more focused on relationship status than substance: “I think people have way too many agendas and don’t know how to live life. They just want the title — married, engaged, in a relationship, somebody loves me.
From left: Keri Russell, devious K.G.B. spy on “The Americans”; Julia Louis-Dreyfus, beltway egotist on “Veep”; Kerry Washington, home wrecker on “Scandal”; and Robin Wright, icy schemer on “House of Cards.” Credit Craig Blankenhorn/FX; Lacey Terrell/HBO; Danny Feld/ABC; Nathaniel Bell for Netflix (NYTIMES)
GENDER EQUALITY IN DC? There is gender equality of a kind in Washington. On television, it’s the one place where it’s safe to say that women are as bad as the men.
AARP DATING: $2500 dating coaching for the 60+. 45% seniors are divorced, separated or widowed. One coach charges a $3,600 registration fee that is good for up to three years, and an additional $7,200 once a couple is matched. The 60-plus crowd represents the fastest-growing segment in online daters.
Dr. Judith Himber, 73, and Robert Galvin, 75, who are dating, outside Dr. Himber’s home in Cambridge, Mass. (Mylan Cannon , NYTIMES)
One of the big dating challenges for both sexes in this age group is that they are so rusty “they go back to their same awkward self at age 20, insecure and unsure.”
Many women are much more likely to be happy with a guy who has less money, or even less education, than they would have in their 20s or 30s.
Companionship is among the top reasons both men and women over 60 seek love. For the 55+, more than 80% of both men and women said that the main reason to couple was “to share life experiences, past and future.
Few get offended with prenuptials. Financial considerations are among the biggest reasons people in their 60s and older are reluctant to remarry. Many also worry about protecting their children’s inheritance.
Tiger Leaping Gorge, China (Credits: Christine Lai)
WHAT YOU KNOW: “When I turned forty my father told me that I’d enjoy my forties because in your twenties you think you know what’s going on, in your thirties you realize you probably don’t, and in your forties you can relax and just accept things. I’m 58 and he was right.” (Martin, age 58)
WINGING IT: “All adults are winging it.”
CUMULATIVE HEALTH: The way you treat your body has a cumulative effect; it’s not that your body suddenly breaks down one year, it’s been breaking down all along without you noticing. This is the decade to slow down that breakage.
SETTLING: “Don’t settle for mediocre friends, jobs, love, relationships and life.” (Sean, 43)
YOUR FRIENDS: “Surround yourself and only date people that make you a better version of yourself, that bring out your best parts, love and accept you.” (Xochie)
TRAGEDY: “Tragedy happens in everyone’s life, everyone’s circle of family and friends. Be the person that others can count on when it does. I think that between 30 and 40 is the decade when a lot of shit finally starts to happen that you might have thought never would happen to you or those you love. Parents die, spouses die, babies are still-born, friends get divorced, spouses cheat… the list goes on and on. Helping someone through these times by simply being there, listening and not judging is an honor and will deepen your relationships in ways you probably can’t yet imagine.” (Rebecca, 40)
TAKE CHANCES: “Unless you are already dead — mentally, emotionally, and socially — you cannot anticipate your life 5 years into the future. It will not develop as you expect. So just stop it. Stop assuming you can plan far ahead, stop obsessing about what is happening right now because it will change anyway, and get over the control issue about your life’s direction. Fortunately, because this is true, you can take even more chances and not lose anything; you cannot lose what you never had. Besides, most feelings of loss are in your mind anyway – few matter in the long term.” (Thomas, 56)
FAMILY TIME: “Spend more time with your folks. It’s a different relationship when you’re an adult and it’s up to you how you redefine your interactions. They are always going to see you as their kid until the moment you can make them see you as your own man. Everyone gets old. Everyone dies. Take advantage of the time you have left to set things right and enjoy your family.” (Kash, 41)
HAPPY MARRIAGE: What counts in making a happy marriage is not so much how compatible you are, but how you deal with incompatibility.
GOOD SELFISHNESS: “Be a little selfish and do something for yourself every day, something different once a month and something spectacular every year.” (Nancy, 60)