wisdom

I was with my friend, Coby.


“If you could do it again,” he said, “what would you change?”


“As it happens,” I said, “I’ve had reason, recently, to ask myself that very question. And I’ve decided that, if I could do it again, I’d be a lot more interesting.”


He laughed. “How, exactly? How would you pull it off?”


“I’d say ‘yes’ a lot of the times I said ‘no’, and ‘no’ a lot of the times I said ‘yes’. And I’d be more openly ignorant. I’d no longer let pass what I didn’t understand. I’d ask a lot more questions, be a lot more engaged, more interested.”

 

“Becoming less ignorant in the process.”


“Exactly. And, thereby, more interesting. Right? So, that’s what I’d change. I’d be more interesting. How about you? What would you change?”


“It’s a cliché, I know, but I’m happy where I am and couldn’t have gotten here by any other route, so I wouldn’t change a thing.”


“But had you gone a different route, you might be even happier than you are.”


“Maybe. Maybe not. Doesn’t much matter, does it.“


“Hardly at all.”


“You mentioned you’d had reason, recently, to think about all this.”


“Yes. Just last week, an old friend asked if my granddaughters had come to me yet for words of wisdom. I told him they hadn’t and that I didn’t expect they ever would. ‘They’re no dummies,’ I said. ‘They know better than to come to me for words of wisdom.’ He asked what I’d tell them if they did. I hemmed and hawed and said I didn’t know, I’d have to think about it. And that’s what I’ve been doing, recently—thinking about it.”


“And this is what you’ve come up with? Be more interesting?”


“I know. My granddaughters are right about me, aren’t they.”


"You know what I think? I think it’s a big load of nonsense, this wisdom coming with age thing—a myth passed along by elders to keep the young in thrall. From an early age, we’re taught to respect and venerate our elders, and it works. It did with me, anyway. It wasn’t till I’d become one, myself, that I realized how undeserving of respect and veneration elders truly are.”


“I know what you mean.”


“You’re either wise or you’re not—that’s what I think. Age has little, if anything, to do with it. Case in point—Greta Thunberg."


"And Trump."


“Right. And Trump.”