The OED defines wisdom as the “quality of having experience, knowledge and good judgement.” As I’ve aged, traveling into seniorhood, I’ve always envisioned myself as the wise old man, queried by younger members of the family for sage advice concerning a broad spectrum of life’s puzzlement. That hasn’t happened, and occasionally, I have even felt ignored when I know I might have helped smooth the bumps.
However, as time has passed, I’ve stopped having hurt feelings from this slight. I’ve become more stoic when I see others struggle with what I could easily accomplish. When I see mistakes being made, I don’t jump in to fix it. I guess I remember my own youth when I thought I knew everything and could do anything. Asking for help would have been the very last thing I would have done.
And now I think that maybe I’m where I am today because I didn’t get the help that would have made life easier. I figured things out, and through that effort, I became stronger. The guru with all the answers on the mountain top was actually myself, but I had to climb there myself to find that out.
So maybe, in the end, the good judgement part of wisdom is knowing when to keep one’s mouth shut, letting others make errors that develop strength, and being the mirror they can look into to know they are not alone in their struggles.