Saturday, January 3, 2009

Wisdom - I've Got It

When I was a teenager, middle aged relatives asked me what I wanted to be or do as an adult and I told them I wanted to be 50 years old. What was I thinking? As I recall I had in mind skipping right past the disturbing teens and catapulting to that time when life is established and determined and one has accumulated wisdom. Wisdom informs me now that all my teen and young adult years were of value in shaping and equipping me for this person that I am today. I wish the years had done a little better job but I am grateful that I couldn’t evade them. Further, I have discovered that wisdom is not necessarily coupled to chronological age, specifically additional years. I have met, I have even experienced foolish people, several decades old. I myself have been on occasion a foolish man. On the other side I know that children are often wise yet cited examples are frequently comedic. Children know that no matter how hard you try, you can’t baptize cats. You can’t trust dogs to watch your food. When your Mom is mad at your Dad, don’t let her brush your hair.

And wisdom is not equivalent with factual knowledge or intelligence quotient. One can be a five time Jeopardy champion and not be wise. One can win at Trivial Pursuit yet be thick as a brick. It’s not enough to be smart. Acquired knowledge is not synonymous with practical application. We have technological tools and an overload of information which is of little value if it doesn’t augment our core values. Wisdom implies a mature integration of appropriate knowledge, a seasoned ability to filter the inessential from the essential.

The result of this filtering proficiency is the wisdom of seniors reflected here. I finally got my head together, now my body is falling apart. Some day's you're the dog, and some day's you're the hydrant. If at first you do succeed, try not to look astonished.

George Burns who died at age 100 said “Too bad that all the people who really know how to run the country are busy driving taxi cabs and cutting hair.”

A few more wisdom notes now that I am over the hill. There are perks to being here. Kidnappers are not very interested in me. In a hostage situation I am likely to be released first. I have a party and the neighbors don't even realize it. My investment in health insurance is paying off. My secrets are safe with my friends because they can't remember them either.

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