Originally Posted by LiquidFeet
The thing that prompted me to start this thread was my frustration at myself when I'm attempting to learn something new. I work very hard at driving a better "movement pattern" into my muscle memory so it will become an intuitive part of my skiing vocabulary, think I've pretty much succeeded, then later I discover I've backslid without realizing it.
Would a 20-something have this amount of difficulty?
I'm not sure it's as useful to compare yourself to a generic 20-something as it would be to compare yourself to what you were like at 20-something. No matter how old you are, you can always find people younger than you who are exceptional at learning things, and it's easy to compare yourself to them and blame the difference on age. I bet if you looked hard enough though, you could also find people who are older than you who are also exceptional at learning things. It might be worth finding some of them and asking them how they do it, especially if it's age specifically that you're suspecting is holding you back.
I doubt I'm old enough to have much credibility on this topic, but I also learn faster at 30 than I did at 20. I attribute this to a handful of things:
1) I now have approximately zero tolerance for poor instruction, and I act on that. I actively seek out the absolute best instruction I can find.
2) I'm much better at receiving instruction than I used to be. I no longer argue hypotheticals to understand the theory behind an action, and instead do a bunch of supplemental reading and ask my instructors "is it okay if I think about it like this?" and let them tell me why or why not.
3) I have a much broader base of skills to draw from, because I've got 10 more years of practice and experience in various things.
4) I have more self-confidence, and consequently much less fear of looking like an idiot, so I experiment more. It's like being 5 again, and it's really really fun.
5) I no longer believe people who tell me that performing an activity is complex. I seek out simplicity, and find that even complex outcomes are often a combination of simple inputs. Why learn 782 outcomes when you can learn 5 inputs and vary them to produce any of the 782 you need whenever you want? The 30 year old me can learn to control 5 inputs way faster than the 20 year old me could learn to mimic 782 outcomes.
Maybe find somebody older than you who's good at learning stuff, and see what his/her list looks like..