The salesperson we dealt with yesterday, the relentlessly flattering Kathy (she kept telling us how smart we were), convinced us to stay an extra day here in Myrtle Beach. So, we pushed our trip out a day. Hmm…that brings me to the UU Lent word of the day, wisdom.
There is no doubt in Lee’s nor my mind that this wasn’t a wise decision! An entire day with no agenda and no feeling rushed is a real blessing to us. After losing more than half of yesterday working out a deal to make traveling easier for Lee (he NEEDS to get out, but doesn’t like to fly), today feels good. And it’s given me a chance to think hard about what wisdom is and where it comes from.
I’m not being egotistical to declare that I am a lot wiser now, at age 62. Life’s journey has given me plenty of learning opportunities (or challenges), and while I may have not been as wise as I thought I was early in life, at least I was always open to learning and growing. Like in the picture above, I can never see where I’m going on this path, but there’s always something new coming up. Then at the end, I’ll disappear into the mist. (GEEZ that’s cheesy.)
What Do We Need to Gain Wisdom
Well, there’s lots, of course, but one thing that’s really helped me is accepting myself as I am, rather than trying to be who someone else wants me to be or comparing myself with others. I like that I can look in the mirror now and tell myself I am fine just the way I look, and that I am really great inside.
Learning to love myself and retraining my brain to send me positive messages was the hardest thing I ever did, and it’s rewarded me more than I can express. I sure see things more clearly when they aren’t obscured by self criticism and insecurity about myself. Go me!
Another characteristic that has brought me a lot of wisdom is curiosity. I’m not interested in staying in my comfort zone and not exploring new ideas, new places, or new activities (after a bit of Suna’s patented hesitation). I love to look around corners, explore nooks and crannies, and see what’s out there, just like the beautiful bird below. That’s helped me see things in new ways, which can’t help but bring on not just knowledge, but wisdom – which includes knowing what to do with what you learn.
One thing that maybe people don’t think about leading to wisdom is humor. Humor requires looking at life in different ways, not just what’s readily apparent. That’s got to help you become wiser. I’ve found that the wisest people I know laugh a lot, too. Maybe that’s good for you in more ways than are apparent!
Being able to laugh at experiences rather than dwelling on how bad they are or what awful consequences there may be also leaves you more open to learning, even from the hard things that we all go through.
And finally, wisdom requires patience. You don’t get wise overnight (like I used to think when I was an all-knowing teen psychic wonder). It doesn’t just show up. Sometimes you have to experience things multiple times to learn from them (how about those repeated relationships with inappropriate men?). And sometimes you have to wait for life to unfold before you get to where you’ve internalized your knowledge and applied it to your life. It doesn’t help to know something, it’s got to get IN there, and that takes patience.
Yep, I am finally almost done with this lap blanket. If only I’d brought the green yarn to finish the corners. This took both patience and perseverance!
What Have I Missed?
I’m sure some of you have in mind other aspects of life that lead to wisdom. Share them here or on Facebook, because I’m interested to know what you think. Wisdom also comes from learning from your peers!