Older And Wiser.

The inspiration for this Friday 2 on 1 post came as I was listening to the old classic “Those Were The Days” by Mary Hopkins. The last verse of the song goes:

“Through the door there came familiar laughter
I saw your face and heard you call my name
Oh, my friend, we’re older but no wiser
For in our hearts, the dreams are still the same.”

Wisdom is defined as “the ability to use your knowledge and experience to make good decisions and judgements”. This of course implies that one has gained knowledge over the years and has also had enough experiences during that process. In my personal case I find that while I have gained a great deal of book knowledge, my experiences do not somehow enable me to take sensible decisions and / or make good judgments. But, believe me the dreams are still the same as they were when I was younger.  Only, now I am wise enough to know that there simply isn’t enough time to make them come true.

I am often surprised by the amount of practical knowledge that people much younger have over the current state of affairs which despite my seniority seems to have eluded me. This, despite my devouring newspapers and periodicals more than the younger lot do who are more dependent on the social media and television plus friends and actual live exposures to the daily grind.

Experience and wisdom, leave alone age is best explained by this Sufi tale.

An old man caught a bird. The bird said to him, “Release me, and I will give you three valuable pieces of advice. I will give you the first when you let me go, the second when I fly up to that branch, and the third when I fly up to the top of the tree.”

The man agreed, and let the bird go.

Now free, the bird said, “Do not torture, torment and burden yourself with excessive regret for past mistakes.”

The bird then flew up to a branch and said,
“Do not believe anything that goes against common sense, unless you have firsthand proof.”

Then the bird flew up to the top of the big tree and said, “You fool. I have two huge jewels inside of me. If you had killed me instead of letting me go, you would have been rich.”

“Darn it!” the man exclaimed. “How could I have been so stupid? I am never going to get over this. Bird, can you at least give me the third piece of advice as a consolation?”

The bird replied, “I was merely testing you. You are asking for further advice, yet you already disregarded the first two pieces of advice I gave you. First, I told you not to torment yourself with excessive regret for past mistakes, and second I told you not to believe things that go against common sense unless there is firsthand proof.

And yet, you just tormented yourself with regret for letting me go, and you also believed that somehow there are two huge jewels inside a tiny bird like me!

So here now is your third piece of advice: “If you are not applying what you already know, why are you so intent on gaining what you do not know?”

Please do go over to Shackman’s blog to see what he has to say about the subject. Thank you.

16 thoughts on “Older And Wiser.”

  1. I spent some minutes the other day, trying to make the presser foot go up – so I could slide the material in. I had touched the lever but obviously not raised it enough. Because a goodly amount of the new machines gadgets is just a “touch” and something happens, I assumed the same with the “lever” – I then decided not to be brutal with it but see how far it went up/the lever. And then suddenly I discovered the presser foot also rose and stayed at the height I needed it…

    I like your bird story, even I wasn’t really reading it properly when the bird gave the 3rd piece of advice…until said bird reminded the listener/reader what the advice/s were (what is the plural for multi-advice)…
    Catherine de Seton recently posted..It’s Friday…

      1. but on the other hand, things we already knew and possibly did well with – are now so dated, that we are almost ancient users. Take handwriting and keeping a handwritten diary…this has come up via my new art-arena of making handmade but artistic books that one could “write in” apparently now the VIP trend is to have everything electronic.
        And yes I’m replying here by electronic means, but say this was a question you posed a couple of decades ago – each person would need to reply on possibly an aerogram that might take weeks to arrive at your home…either they handwrote the answer or if they happened to have access to a manual typewriter used that…or if they had a mind to do it make a “trunk call on their rotary dial up telephone”…
        Catherine de Seton recently posted..I don’t live in this region

  2. I’m older certainly but not necessarily much wiser. A lot of my knowledge and experience is now out of date and useless as the world is changing so fast, with old values and procedures being ditched every day. There are many situations in which I have to start from scratch and work out how to do something I’ve never done before.

    My immediate thought about the story was, how could a bird weighed down with two huge jewels possibly fly to the top of the tree?

    1. Being out dated is part of the price we modern oldies pay for having lived up to the digital age. I am still lost with the number of remote control devices that are needed to properly use our Big Screen shows. If that makes me dumb, so be it.

  3. this is a wonderful post.
    it covers everything about getting older. at least for me it does.
    I long ago gave up worrying or fretting over the vanity part of it. what is the point? and for women that is sometimes a very big issue. and it’s silliness really.
    but I have to say I get disappointed in my spiritual or ‘wisdom’ part of this journey. it’s like playing a board game. take three spaces forward. roll the dice and drop back two spaces. a series of jerks… stop. start. stop. a wise fool?
    it wears me out. I sometimes think I’d be better off to simply let it all go and let the chips fall where they may.
    btw… love the song. perfect for this post! AND the snoopy cartoon. priceless!

  4. I feel like I’m a good bit wiser than I was but the comments here make me think I must be missing something……someday I’ll be old enough to understand, I guess 🙂

  5. I am older, for sure, and I think I am a LITTLE wiser. The older part of me gets frustrated with all of the things I want to do and can’t, and the wiser part says, “It’s not that important, go meditate or have a bit of fun, and stop worrying!” But I have trouble listening to that inner wisdom sometimes! Thanks, Rummuser…great post!

  6. I think my life experiences have something to offer. At least so the young ‘uns tell me.

    We can’t possibly perceive our wisdom, because I think if we have it we are unaware of it or should be.

    Wisdom and knowledge are vastly different.

    But something here Ramana: when in doubt Google it. It does not come naturally to many oldies but try it when you have a techie question or whatever. I pass that on to many frustrated elders and it’s like a light bulb goes off. They don’t think of it.


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