An article and a picture from Father Tony got me thinking about the benefits of growing older. Most in that group of handsome men are close to my own age. No doubt they have a wealth of knowledge between them about many diverse subjects. More than that, they have wisdom that most often comes only with time.
Wisdom, if you choose to heed the outcome of knowledge, is the great payoff for aging. Knowledge and time are on a inverse continuum; one increases as the other decreases. You can beat the odds if you are willing to learn from others’ mistakes. It takes a lot longer if, like I did, you insist on making those mistakes on your own. Youth has all the time in the world to make use of its limited knowledge; age has great knowledge but limited time in which to apply it. It’s why we see people in midlife suddenly change their circumstances, jobs, etc., and re-establish their commitments to the core philosophies which may have lain dormant in the busyness of life.
It’s usually around age fifty that most people in Western civilization have a wake-up call and realize their mortality is looming on the visible horizon. (I have to wonder if the same is true in other societies that value the aged.) A midlife awakening need not be a crisis unless you make it one. And rather than bemoan the regrets, rejoice in what gift of days you have remaining, to use them wisely and with love.
It is evident in the picture that the men are enjoying the company of good friends who share their culture, their hopes, their experiences and their fears. Most have reached the age where foolishness falls away and the clarity of what is real and important is a jewel without price. Mistakes are an accepted part of life and easily forgiven. One great thing about growing older is that each mistake is statistically less significant; what’s one more in that ever-growing list?
You can reach that midlife awakening any time you wish. The sooner you choose to take control of your life and its outcome, the more time you will have to see its fulfillment. Take the knowledge and wisdom you have and find a purpose. What circumstances in your life right now are an arena for your influence? Share your wisdom and its resultant peace with as many as will hear. Some will not listen; they are not your audience. Be the change you wish to see in the world.