We often hear it said – “With age comes wisdom”
I often think of it as a bit of a band-aid. It’s just nicer to hear that instead of getting older and therefore over the hill, you are in fact, getting wiser. And we could all do with getting a little wiser!
But as I turn another chapter in this story of life, I have come to wonder if it is just wisdom we gain, or if we are downplaying the other things that we could also learn about ourselves as we grow older. The wisdom to know that we are more than just the sum of our parts 🙂
As I turn 44 today, I can quite confidently tell you of 4 qualities you will stand to gain, even as your grey hairs start showing more than you’d like.
When life has blessed you with almost 4.5 full decades on earth, you stop giving a damn about what people think LOL! 😀 OK, you will, sometimes. But in the main, you will have enough self-confidence to say and do what you want, when you want it, how you want it.
Self-confidence is a trait that some of us are born with. Some of us are forced to have, and some of us gain it along the road of life. I fall in that latter category, tempered with some from the middle category.
I’ve been blessed (or cursed) with an analytical mind. Often therefore, I have my plan A, B and C lined up, even before I step into any given situation. It’s just how I am, which truth to tell, can be tiring, but it helps me avoid dead-ends and pitfalls LOL! 🙂
But what I’ve learnt about myself is that that planning (or over-planning) has helped me boost my self-confidence along the way. And that’s something that comes with over 40 years of life experience.
As you get older therefore, you gain not only wisdom, but also self-confidence. The confidence to speak your mind, to form your own thoughts and views, and more importantly, to hold onto them even if others disagree.
You gain the self-confidence to hold your head high, because there is much that you have seen, and more that you have been through. Little should surprise you anymore for people and situations are nothing, if not repetitive.
You gain the self-confidence to spend time on your own, and to appreciate quiet. To understand that sitting on a couch and reading, or watching TV or even just napping, is not a waste of time. It is a privilege to have.
You are confident in your choice of clothes and makeup. And more importantly, to NOT wear makeup, if you don’t want to 🙂
You are confident to know that a smile not only makes you look tons better, it can also be used as a weapon because no one really knows how to react when you smile back at them – even if it is a cold smile of rage, filled with promise of revenge LOL 😀
You are confident enough to say no instead of yes all the time. And to mean it.
The 40’s are said to be the new 30’s, and so many people say that you stop caring what people think. I don’t think that’s quite true. You do care what people think. But you are confident enough in yourself, so it doesn’t matter as much to you what other people think 🙂
But there is one aspect of confidence I have not yet achieved – the confidence to pose for decent photos LOL! 😀
I was a bit of a fire-brand back in the day, with a very short fuse, and quick to act and react and judge. I’ve thrown a pretty fit in professional circumstances that I’m not terribly proud of today (even if it did get me results 😛 ). In many ways, I’ve never really changed. I’m still short-tempered, and I still hold grudges.
But what I have, is mellowed.
They say that you mellow with age. It’s like wine. A young wine is sharp and acidic on the palate. Leave it for a few years, and the resultant vintage is usually smoother, and less acidic. I can safely say that people, like wine, do mellow with age.
For me, it is about having a greater level of tolerance.
I find that I am more tolerant when people make mistakes, or when something untoward happens that might affect my plans. I find I am more willing to compromise to find a solution, and less quick to lash out. I’m more tolerant to treat it as a moment of “Shit happens” and work to find a solution instead of assign blame.
I am also more tolerant when people say and do things that I may not agree with. Or perhaps an unwarranted critique comes my way. When younger, I’d have reacted, and quite possibly, hurt the person’s feelings. These days, depending on who it is, I either smile and move along, let it bounce off, or if it really hits home, reply but be diplomatic. If it means I’ll end up in a heated argument, I usually choose to agree to disagree, and walk away. It isn’t about winning or losing, it is about self-preservation – I’m not about to give myself high blood pressure arguing over trivialities.
Granted, I do occasionally have lapses in judgement, when I might lash out more readily than I like. But in the main, I have found my tolerance level far higher than I ever would have had back in my 20’s.
There is however, one caveat – as you age, your tolerance for bullshit decreases at the same rate as your tolerance level increases 😛
If someone says or does something obviously wrong or dumb, I’ll call it out, or roll my eyes openly. It comes back also to having that confidence to step up and call out bullshit LOL 🙂
Along with confidence and tolerance, you gain courage.
The courage to do things that you might never otherwise do. Perhaps, it is that subconscious idea that you are half-way through life, and if you don’t do what you want, you might never do it 😛
The concept of YOLO – You Only Live Once – is one that is attributed to the millennials and youth, who seem to throw all caution to the wind when it comes to life decisions.
In some ways, when you hit your 40’s, you do have a slightly different concept of YOLO. It isn’t so much that you only have one life to live, so live it to the fullest. It is more about being more willing to take chances and trying new experiences, because you have one life to live, and if not now, when?
You will find that you are braver than you thought you were. If solo dining used to be daunting – ooh, people would think I have no friends – it is actually now liberating to not have to talk to anyone while you eat.
If wearing red lipstick used to be challenging – ooh, people will stare at me – now, you slick it on with practiced ease. Hey, you look good. People SHOULD stare! 😉
Is it any wonder that you read of older people taking on new hobbies, or scaling new heights – in some cases, literally climbing mountains! For many, it is because they have that new-found courage to do something new, to break societal norms, and the confidence to take on a new challenge.
You will gain the courage to do things you never thought you would have to do. To pick yourself up and step into the wilderness, if that is where you are cast. And to put on your Daniel Boone hat and blaze your path through the woods.
We are all faced with different situations and challenges. If the need arises, and self-preservation is required, you will gain that courage to take a long hard look at things that don’t work for you, turn on your heel and walk away without looking back.
Let me be the first to tell you that wisdom teeth do not signal the coming of wisdom. All they do is bring you lots of unwarranted pain and very expensive trips to the dentist 😛
But with age, even as you gain confidence, tolerance and courage, you will also gain the wisdom to use those qualities. At least, some of the time 😛
You will gain the wisdom that:
- sleeping early not only helps you look better, it helps you feel better the next morning and prevents you from turning into a zombie. They don’t call it beauty sleep for nothing!
- a handful of friends you can count on when you need them beats having 1000 people you call friends if only in passing
- Friday nights in doesn’t mean you’re missing out on life – you’re just missing out on being stuck in traffic, paying for overpriced drinks and food, and shouting over loud music – and that is a good thing!
- It’s not the end of the world if you missed out on that Limited Edition eyeshadow palette – it will come around again eventually
- you can have too many bags, even if that is your first love! Believe you me, I shocked myself coming up with this one 😛
- you don’t really care if anyone sees you in the same outfit again – it means you’re getting good cost per wear
- you make your own happiness. If you find yourself needing people and things to make you happy, you never will be.
- days pass a lot faster and you’ll find yourself saying things like “Is it October … already?! Where did the year go?!” or “You mean it’s Christmas time… already?! Soon it’ll be a new year!”
All that said, I think we all gain these insights at different times, at different levels and different stages. Some of us attain these earlier some later. In many ways, I am pretty much in my own little bubble, just as you are, for we have different considerations, commitments, values and life experiences. But it is something to think about, for ultimately, at whichever age we are, I think we can all do with a shot of confidence, a healthy dose of tolerance and courage, and the wisdom to harness it for our own good 🙂
So, don’t fret getting older, or seeing those white hairs. You will gain so much more – and it’s not only wisdom 🙂
And on that note, I’m taking a wee break, as I customarily do at this time of year because no one should ever have to work on their birthday 😀 Be good! 😉