words of wisdom

I was with my friend, Coby.

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

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

He laughed. “And how, exactly, would you pull that off?”

“I’d be more adventurous. 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—much less inclined to let pass what I didn’t understand. I’d ask a lot more questions, be a lot more engaged, more interested—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 having cause, recently, to be thinking 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, that I was all but certain they never would and that, in their shoes, I wouldn’t, either. He asked what I’d tell them if they did come to me. 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. This wisdom coming with age thing—it’s clearly a big load of hooey—nothing more, it seems to me, than a ploy by elders to keep the young in line. What do you think?”

"I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. We’re taught, from early on, to honour and respect 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 honour and respect most of us truly are.”

“I was thinking that exact same thing just the other day.”

“As I see it, wisdom is like genius—you either have it or you don’t. Your age is irrelevant. Case in point—Greta Thunberg."

"And Trump."

“Right. And Trump.”