The saying goes, ‘in order to be old and wise, one must first be young and stupid.’ That needs a closer look, though. You simply cannot go from being young and stupid to being old and wise: where is the period between – and how to make it longer?
It’s not as simple as it might look like. Or even true, let’s face it – everybody would search for another option, as there must be some!
Let’s think at people and the saying in 2 cases:
What about this? You say ‘no’ to something, and you might be thinking of a time, years ago, when you had already experienced it. This justifies your ‘no’. The time you pass on the opportunity of risky fun. You pass then on another experience, being a little bit old and wise. But you end up passing on a bit of life.
Your time on Earth is limited, so let’s make the most out of it. An ageless human attempt.
Some of the biggest lessons in life that you discover, are normally learned from your mistakes. Your own experiences are etched into your memories way more profoundly than any lesson someone else can teach you. Though it might take one mistake made over two, three, seven times, eventually, you’ll learn from them. So in order to be old and wise, mistakes sometimes have to be made. And be made by you.
There is a certain bliss that comes from being young, immature and with few responsibilities. When your decisions affect only you and maybe the few other young participants around you. The world is your oyster, your playground, your future. There are no children to worry about, no jobs to get to, no bills to pay. They say those are the golden years, and people even speak their wishes aloud to want to go back.
But that’s where they are wrong. Just because your life moves on, the number on your age gets bigger, and your hair gets grayer, does not mean that you have to leave that mentality completely behind. Quite the opposite! Actually now, in this moment, you are the most conscientious, the most mature, the smartest and the wisest you have been your whole life.
Now is the perfect time for you to tap into your inner child. Old and wise is usually connected with depictions of being boring, of sitting at home, of being tired. This ‘preview’ of how you are going to be in the future is actually quite gloomy when you think about it. Though not many people would turn down the idea of having wisdom, but with your eyes opened to the world, it usually goes hand in hand with this facade of not being able to DO anything FUN. This is wrong.
Just because you are older now does NOT mean that you have to portray the persona of the old man in the rocking chair, giving out advice in winding stories. The opposite of being young and stupid doesn’t have to mean old, wise and boring. Though you might like to tell stories and pass on your wisdom, there is a time to get off that rocking chair and step off that porch.
You never know unless you try. This saying is something you should carry with you as you get older. The stigma of age is so short-sighted into thinking that what someone can do is so limited. The number of medical problems go up, and energy levels go down. The possibility of risk of injury sky rocket, while the number of invitations you receive to go hiking, fishing–or going outside, period, decline rapidly. So many barriers in front of you! Break them now!
When you are young you feel limitless. You feel invulnerable. You feel that your life has no end date. When you get older, your eyes are opened to the fragility of life, you see your body decline, you see your friends’ health weaken, and you are more conscious of your time ticking away. This is the exact stage in your life when it is time to be a bit adventurous again. Once you come to the realization that you are limited, that your time is short, and you recognize what truly is important in life, then you have nothing else to lose!
Old doesn’t have to mean boring. Instead of wisdom, call it maturity. Replace ‘restricted physicality’ with liberating freedom. Instead of health issues, call it the opportunity to realize what is truly important.
It’s true with wine, and with some cheeses. Think of yourself not just like a matured meat and bones, but think of yourself as that priceless wine bottle with the big kick at the end. Give life one last go. Show the stigma that age doesn’t mean sideline. If you have to go a bit slower, go a bit slower. If you have to choose the easier route, do not be embarrassed. Participate in life! Do not sit the sidelines. You might have twenty, thirty, forty more years on this Earth. In the end, we regret the chances we never took.
Of course this doesn’t mean treat life like the ‘Yes, Man’ and get reckless with it. But continue to see life as a gift.
Continue to see each day as an opportunity to enjoy something. Continue to enjoy your life, right up until the end.
Be old and wise right now! Though the rocking chair is quite comfortable on the porch, and you can see the children pass by and play. Still, the mountain top has a much better view, and life is so much better when you play too. As old and wise as you are now.