35 – The Magic Number

#2: 35 Years is a Magic Number: They don’t let you run for president of the U.S.A. unless you are age 35 or older. I’m sure there’s some historical significance to this, but I’m going to posture that it does actually take that long to have enough experience under your belt to be able to see the bigger picture and how everything relates.

Sometimes I feel like I should just shut up until I’m 35, and quite often I do, especially when I’m around those much older, or younger, than me. I’m 27 now, almost 28, but I feel like I still have so much to learn sometimes. If you are really introspective and honest with yourself, you will see just how many things you are wrong about in a typical day. On top of that, I feel like I am full of hypotheses, but short on solid theories. I think that is where experience comes in. So I keep relatively quiet, at least in person!

To relate this “magic” number 35 to other things, I think about how long it takes a human to really get something right. For example, take prescription drugs. I would be wary about taking any prescription drug that hasn’t been in the market for 30 years. Just look at all the drugs that recalled within 10 years of being invented & sold, with tragic consequences for the people that took a chance on them. I’m okay with Penicillin, for example, and I almost trust aspirin and ibuprofen, and I’m becoming okay with birth control medications (remember it took at least 10 years to get the dosage to a safe level when it first came out, though they still haven’t resolved the ecological effects of excess hormones being peed into our water treatment plants, NOR has anyone really given serious thought to how they will affect future generations born to mothers with sustained higher levels of female horomones than natural).

But extend the hypothesis to other of man’s inventions. I bet it took a good 35 years to come out with a decent automobile, for example, or an airplane that resembles what we have today. My guess is it will be at least 35 years before the great invention of Internet becomes stable and well-rounded, for example on things like privacy issues and copyright infringement issues. I’d love it if someone with more time on their hands than me would look into this magic number 35 and tell me what is the basis for our needing 35 years (or longer) to get things right.

Americans declared their independence in 1776. Five years later, we had a constitution. Within 15 years, we had a Bill of Rights. Of course it wasn’t until 1865 that we abolished slavery, so that took much more than the magic 35 years to figure out…It took about 27 years total to get through the 12th Amendment ot the Constitution, (the next string of Amendments took place later, around the Civil war, involving citizenship rights). So not quite 35 years, but still in the ballpark…