I Thought I'd Have More Wisdom
Yeah, not so much.
I'm 42 years old today and not only do I not feel any wisdom creeping in, I actually feel like I know less all the time. At least, I'm way less sure than I used to be. That may be a form of wisdom....I don't know. Mostly I just feel amazed and a little bewildered that I somehow became a middle-aged woman and I wonder frequently when the grown-ups are going to come home and catch me pretending to be in charge.
I still don't know why people hurt each other, how we can all be so different and so alike and why so many people only see one of those things, why in the world anyone would waste time and energy in hatred or judgement, or why human life is so often regarded casually, and wasted as if there were an infinite supply of it.
I don't know why or how some people come to live their lives without ever wanting to reach out a hand to someone else, to show some mercy (you remember that soapbox of mine), to help someone else get home--whatever you believe that home to be (one of the best things I ever heard was someone who said "We're all here to help each other get home" and I still can't think of a better answer to why we're all here in this world in the first place). I don't know why responsibility and accountability have become rare words, almost profane words--why anyone would want to live without those things, or teach their children to.
I know that I used to think I'd change the world for the better--don't we all think that when we're young? That it's all an easy puzzle and the current crop of adults must be kind of dumb because they can't figure it out and thank goodness we came along? I remember thinking that, and also that 40 was old (I never even considered 42) and that I'd have done it all by now. I'd have enlightened or cured or invented or something. I think I didn't realize how much work and concentration it would take just to paddle the little boat along the river without going ass over teakettle, never mind doing tricks. Sometimes, keeping my feet dry and my oars onboard where they belong feels like the biggest accomplishment ever. On those days, the answer to what I'm most proud of is "I survived. And I didn't hurt anyone on purpose."
That's the interesting thing. I started with all these rules and things. I had lists of all the things I would do and be, and tons of requirements for what I had to do to have a good life. To succeed. The list was pages long and highly specific, and I was pretty sure the years would see me working through that list with grace and ease. Instead, the list has gotten whittled down significantly. Here's the new, revised version:
Don't hurt anyone on purpose (that's a biggie for me)
Give more, take less
Love a LOT
Don't fall in and get eaten by anything.
That's pretty much it. Since it's my birthday, and since I didn't wake up incredibly wise today (damn, I keep hoping...), I'll finish with someone else's words, the ones that in the end probably make the best list of all:
"People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway. "
-this version is credited to Mother Teresa --who definitely got the wisdom thing down.
Knit on. And don't forget to love--a LOT.