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Why Are Older People Considered Boring? Is It the Culture – or Is It the Truth?

By Cyn Meyer December 03, 2022 Mindset

Old people are boring – truth or myth?

While you can split hairs and say, “it depends on the individual,” it’s certainly a broadly accepted stereotype that old people lead boring lives.

Stuck in Our Habits

Why? Basically, humans tend to fall into a serious habit of doing the same thing repeatedly. You could even say that a part of us is designed to be boring.

Here’s what I mean. It’s a natural instinct for us to not spend our energy making conscious active decisions throughout the day. In fact, we make about 35,000 decisions per day on autopilot. They take place in our basal ganglia instead of the prefrontal cortex.

The reason is, we were built to reserve our energy for fight-or-flight mode to survive in the wild. What’s more, we’re designed to procrastinate to avoid any stressors in life.

The glaring problem? We’re not living out in the wild anymore (most of us anyway, particularly if you’re reading this article from your computer).

So, if our species is designed to reserve energy and procrastinate on those adventurous plans you dream about, imagine doing that for decades. Put another way, the longer you repeat your boring habits the more stuck you become in those habits.

And when you’re stuck in a habit of doing the same thing repeatedly (for decades), you’re more susceptible to other outcomes that make you even more boring.

That’s right. Like not having anything new or interesting to say.

Confined by Comfort

When you stay within the cozy walls for your comfort zone, you don’t have anything new to talk about. Your experiences and stories remain the same and you end up lacking something stimulating to add to a conversation.

Which leads to that classic stereotype of “old people repeat themselves.” Pretty boring on the receiving end, right?

What’s more is, your brain craves new experiences. To create new neural pathways (which you can do until the day you die), you need new experiences. Your neuroplasticity and cognitive health depend on it.

Another side effect of being stuck in rut is you become accustomed to your own opinions – and only your own opinions. You limit what your mind is exposed to, which is also another way to not have anything interesting to say. Who wants to hear your same opinion over and over again?

Boring Doesn’t Pertain ONLY to Older People

Not to worry, though. These characteristics aren’t applicable to all seniors, and are, largely, misconceptions spread by culture.

The truth is: You can be boring at any age.

In fact, a study by Airbnb claims that women reach a “peak boring” age at 35 (for men it’s 39). Supposedly, age 35 is when women are least likely to do things like stay out late on a weekday, try a new hobby, make a new friend, or book a spontaneous trip.

If you’re a woman in your 60s, and ready to make the most of your golden years, these activities are exactly what you should be doing if you want to live your ideal exciting and purposeful retirement lifestyle.

The problem? Here’s where culture comes in. Culture trains you to be more sedentary as you age and pushes you to fear the aging process altogether.

Take, for example, the sheer amount of TV seniors watch per week – a staggering 47 hours and 13 minutes for people aged 65+. Not to mention all the anti-aging messages broadcasted on TV.

Basically, culture trains you to stay boring – which also means further procrastinating on your biggest dreams and continuing to reserve your energy by living on autopilot.

Who Is Most Susceptible to Being Boring?

If you take a look at the root cause of boredom, professor John Eastwood and team conducted a study out of York University in Canada that revealed there are two very different personality types that suffer from boredom:

People Who Are Mentally Impulsive

The first group includes the mentally impulsive, those who are chronically under-stimulated and always looking for new experiences but don’t think the world is exciting enough.

People Who Are Afraid to Step Out of Their Comfort Zone

The second group consists of those who aren’t satisfied with being comfortable, yet they’re chronically bored because they’re too afraid to try something new.

For seniors, culture pushes you into the second category. But, there’s good news – you don’t have to stay in that category.

You Can Beat Boredom and Culture

Here’s what you can do: Simply get out of your comfort zone.

In other words, seek new experiences. Learn something new. Immerse yourself in new activities. Meet new people. Be open-minded.

There are so many benefits to creating new growth experiences for yourself, including:

  • It’s good for building neuroplasticity and maintaining your cognitive health.
  • It’s exciting and gets you out of a rut.
  • It increases your chance of meeting new people.
  • It’s good for your mental and emotional health.
  • You’re more likely to find something fulfilling and purposeful by challenging yourself.
  • You’re less judgmental.

The gist of it is: The good stuff – including not being boring – happens outside of your comfort zone. So, stop procrastinating and claim your place! You might just excite others in your social group to do the same.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

What can you do (big or small) to step out of your comfort zone? What autopilot routine or habit can you break to create a growth experience for yourself? Please share your thoughts with our community!

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I found the 47+ hours a week of television watching so astonishing that I clicked on the link. The link took me to an article that had no statements at all about the TV habits of people 65 and older. Disappointing.

The article makes good points. I find trying to surround myself with other people who are busy and active can inspire me to stay out of a rut. Making a commitment to an activity or group or external deadline can be a helpful motivator.


I live in the 55+ community, where there are 1149 independent homes and lots of people here. I participate in on-site activities. God knew where to place me in my retirement. Go to church and community activities. I travel a lot as much as I can afford. Heading to Thailand in February 2023. Las Vegas in January, and India in April. Israel in November celebrating Jesus and a college friend birthday. It’s hard for me to stay still. I travel with a tour company called “Gate 1 travels.”

Mary Wells

This is the first time I have posted so please excuse the length of the post. I want to share something that has helped me immensely and I don’t know how to say it more succinctly.
I have found that between staying isolated during the Pandemic, chronic pain and a history of depression, I have become boring. I’m so happy to have read this article to encourage me to go back to being more adventurous.
One thing I did even before the pandemic was to make a pie chart of the things that nurtured my spirit. Whenever I started feeling depressed I looked to my chart to see which area I was neglecting. For me my areas of fulfillment are my Family and Friends (lunches, phone calls and emails), my Physical Health (exercise,& doctors visits), my Mental Health ( counseling, getting enough sleep and kindness to myself and others), my Marriage (date nights, honest conversations & listening), Creative Time (Art Appreciation and Card making), Travel (by car and air (B&B’s- even to nearby places)
Hope this technique will touch someone’s heart.

Susan Schank

I love to travel. Italy in the fall and we just returned home from Palm Springs. On the way down we stayed at Morrow Bay in California which was absolutely gorgeous! Lots of new adventures to remember and talk about.

Jan Miletich

Goodness 47 hours of TV? Who has time for that? I maybe watch a show or two in the evenings probably a total of 12 hours a week. That’s it

The Author

Founder of Second Wind Movement, Cyn Meyer offers education + coaching to help seniors transition into amazing next chapters and age successfully in place. She helps them live out active, healthy, happy "retirement" years, so they can better evade depression, loneliness, Alzheimer's and nursing home occupancy.

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