They say that with age come wisdom but I don’t know if I’d really agree with that. I’ve met loads of silly old people who lack the slightest ounce of wisdom. I’ve also met witless middle-aged people, and then some children who were wise well beyond their years.
Little gems of wisdom roll off their tongues like opalescent pearls floating into the air stopping me in their tracks with their simple, exquisite truth.
Maybe we all actually just start to think too much? Well, no maybe about it really.
We do start to think too much, we censor ourselves or mould our thoughts perhaps into what we think we should say or do, or maybe into what we think others want us to say or do. We become puppets to our cleverness, powerless to simply say or do what we truly want for fear that it will be wrong.
Social media enhances this like a magnifying glass on our thoughts and words enlarging and projecting everything on a screen the size of a tv which is actually the size of the world. And we invite it eagerly.
“Please, do come in,” we say, “come into my world. Look at it, admire it, judge it mercilessly because you can.”
I wouldn’t even say that with age comes experience because some people never expand themselves into the shape they were once destined to become. Are they simply comfortable being this easily recognisable size and shape, or do they fear that if they break out of their skin and grow beyond measure that they will not know themselves anymore? The unknown can be quite a terrifying multi-headed monster.
It’s all ‘The Unknown’ though, really. Even when you think you know where you’re going and how it will unfurl the Universe has a way of keeping you on your toes. Throwing you a curly one, a game changer, or fork in the road. You never really know where you’re going and you’re fooling yourself if you believe you do.
I always wanted a life less ordinary. I feel like the older I become the more resigned I become to the fact that I will probably never be spectacularly great, or stupendously well-known, or successful in that really stupidly big way.
I will never be accused of inexperience, however, for I have thrown my entire being into many different scenarios of life exploration that could well be described as sheer insanity, or a little bit left-of-centre. Once I did this exploration with a sense of fearlessness and infallibility but now it’s with a burning desire to keep moving forward despite knowing I am indeed afraid and fallible.
I wonder now if an ordinary life (whatever that may even be) is actually such a terrible affliction? Even ordinary lives have extraordinary moments because the world is an incredible place of beauty, wonder, and equally terror and sorrow. Even shit moments can be extraordinary.
Wait, if you break it down to two words it takes a different meaning. Sitting on the couch watching Netflix in your undies is ordinary. But extra ordinary is picking your toenails and eating them while you stare at the screen.
Or eating a Homebrand cracker and shunning the camembert, instead reaching for the cottage cheese. Surely, that’s like ordinary squared?
Perhaps we should even hope for an ordinary life when the six o’clock news is jam packed with people praying to one day live an ordinary life? People wishing they could take safety, and liberty for granted. Wishing their children have somewhere warm to sleep and food in their bellies.
I wonder if, once safety was again theirs, they would soon forget their previous plight and have a good old rant on social media about how their cleaner didn’t clean the grout properly or their grocery delivery was late?
I wonder if wisdom and cynicism can sometimes be interchangeable? I know I have a double serving of one of those at the moment and it’s making me reassess everything I thought I knew. I’ve been thrown a curly one, reached a fork in the road.
Maybe attaining wisdom takes hiding your caterpillar self away for a while before you can nose your way, unrecognisable but infinitely more lovely, out of a chrysalis? Maybe right now I’m just making a cocoon.
Maybe right now I’m just making a cocoon.
NB; I have been struggling to write here for a while, and I was ready to walk away. No longer able to really talk about my kids as their lives have become their own, and selling so many words daily made me think I was ready to quit.
I have a new friend, a veteran journalist, who has become an unlikely mentor just when I needed one.
He suggested instead of quitting that I write for half and hour a day for me. With no agenda. Not to share, not to blog perhaps never even to read again. Fiction, opinion, observations, whatever. Just write for me.
I wrote this on my first day – Wednesday. I broke the rules already and I’m posting it, because fuck it, you only write once.