Tom Jepson Creative

Changing Tastes


The other night whilst eating family dinner I was listening to my wife explain to our 4-year-old daughter why people like different things and, as we grow older, we might like different things than when we were young. She was referring specifically to our sense of taste, however it sparked a thought.

It strikes me that as we get older we consciously have the ability to 'let things go' and yet are equally able to unconsciously 'grow apart' from certain things, certain people, certain places.

It has happened to all of us: the favourite album we listened to non-stop growing up suddenly sounds very dated and doesn't hook us like it used to; the group of friends we hung out with every weekend through our adolescent years having less and less in common, eventually drifting apart and never seeing each other again.

Our 'tastes' change.

Our minds have two states for gaining knowledge and making memories. Fluid inteligence ebbs and flows as we experience new things and are immerse, wide-eyed in our world. Crystalised inteligence is our long-term memory; the foundational learnings which, to put it in a really simplified way, make us us.

The more progress through our lives the more our intelligence is hardened; crystallised into what we know as our 'tastes' and preferences. Although fluid intelligence might give way to crystallised intelligence as we age, we still have the opportunity to grow, to maintain an aspect of fluidity, and become better people in the process.

We can consciously choose to change persepctives, opinions, and behaviours as well as 'soft' likes and dislikes such as movies, books, or how much sugar we have in our tea. Our minds may also opt to shift our feelings - you might wake up one day and, God forbid, decide you just don't like coffee that much! The unconscious letting go of something may be driven far more by our emotional engagement than if we are making deliberate, conscious choices.

While our tastebuds might become slightly less adventurous as we hit our later years, we don't need to let the same happen to our sense of wonder and joy as we experience new things; it's a freedom we have as humans to evolve and grow, never bound by limitations other than the ones we perceive or put around ourselves.