Wisdom and Aging: Embracing the Wisdom of Experience


  Wisdom and Aging: Embracing the Wisdom of Experience

How does a younger person know how to live? Can you ever learn from those who have experienced more of life than you? Is there wisdom for the young in the words of the old, or is it just a quaint artifact of an outdated society set in its ways?

We're all born with potential. Some realize theirs, some don't. Some develop themselves as they age, others let themselves regress or stagnate. But for better or worse, this is what is programmed into every one of us: we are born with potential, and we must grow into our lives if we want to be fulfilled as individuals and not waste away by clinging to false notions about who and what we are at any given time in our lives.

We live in a society that has grown increasingly impatient and entitled. We scorn those who lack the self-actualization and awareness of our own self-perceived "wisdom." We snark at the unhip, the out-of-date, and wallow in our own status as "chosen" by modernity to be above it all. And yet, there is so much wisdom to be learned from those who have lived longer than us. There are lessons in our nature that we are busy ignoring as faster means more to us than better. The young deserve to know about this wisdom because they have not yet lost it, or forgotten it due to their own impatience.

We are all our own worst enemies. We rob ourselves of what we want and need in life because we think it's not available or that it doesn't matter. We strive for the bare minimum of what is expected of us in society, and yet we feel empty and unhappy. Why? Because we've long been told that these things are not important to us and that we won't get them anyway. We want to be happy, but instead, we have been taught to seek out superficial things, convinced that they will make us happy. We want to make a difference in the world, but we are taught that it really doesn't matter if we don't get paid for it and that nobody cares anyway.

The young have a tremendous power of change in their hands, the power to alter what they see as important in life according to their own reality. They can change what is considered "normal" and set new standards for society. But these will only be met with public approval if people walk the talk and live out in the open what they preach. You can call yourself passionate about animal rights, but if you eat meat when nobody is watching, you're just fooling yourself and everyone around you. Same with environmental causes or any other issue out there. You can say you're passionate about world peace, but if you won't take the time to talk to your neighbor or relative or co-worker when you see them, then you're just as hypocritical as the people who say nothing against world conflict because they don't have the "courage" to get involved.

The best way to start making a difference is by changing yourself first. Stop letting your emotions dictate your actions, that's what the mass media wants you to do: buy, watch, and listen based on your feelings rather than think and make decisions based on reason. Question everything that is fed to you because there's a good chance those are lies concocted by a society that has lost its way. Change starts with you.

Start by working on your own self-awareness. The goals that you are personally striving to achieve will depend a lot on what you know about yourself and your skill set. You can't make the best of what you have if you don't know what it is, or even how to work with it when you do. Why not just try to develop a more mature and well-adjusted sense of self? It's a lot easier than you think to know who you are underneath the facade of your alter ego.

Do you know that you can change the way your body looks? You have such a long life ahead of you, why not spend it becoming someone who is fit and healthy as opposed to carrying around the weighty coffin of "being old?" If you're not sure how, check out the video below about "becoming young again" with Olympic swimmer Mark Spitz:

Of course there's no one-size-fits-all approach here. Everyone has different goals, but this article is not about losing weight or changing your appearance. Instead, it's about the Taoist idea that we are all born with a potential for quality of life and that this potential was installed in us at creation. It's our programming to fulfill that potential through natural processes of life. Here you can read why you should care about aging:

"The greatest way to bring harmony into the world is not by being a better person than other people — it is by being a better person than you think you are." – John O'Donohue
We get all stuck in on ourselves and our own problems and forget that there are bigger things out there. The world doesn't revolve around our desires or needs, therefore we should not expect it to revolve around what we want. We are literally living in a world of other people's desires and needs, so all of it should serve us as best we can. Self-actualization is not about changing the world or making a difference in the world, but rather about changing yourself to make a more conscious difference in your own life.

How to be happy? Why age should not matter:

"As you might imagine, when I was growing up money wasn't talked about very much. So when I was born my mother said to me: "Sunny, you know what you have to do? You have to work for your money." So I worked for my money. I washed dishes, bussed tables, and delivered newspapers in order to spend my money on clothes and shoes. That was very important to me because there were other girls who had more of those things than I did, and they looked better than me. So I kept working for my money. When I was twelve years old we moved from the Bronx to Manhattan, but my parents told me that I still had to work for my money and continue going to school because we wanted me to have an education. So at any chance that I could get before school or after school or on weekends, I always worked for my money — babysitting; housecleaning; you name it — because that was important to me.


"Even though I work all the time and am very tired, I still feel happy about what I do and how much money it brings in. To me, that's a very good feeling." – Sunny Oumens
Take care of yourself first. Being stress free is something that everyone should strive for, but you have to do it on your own without depending on the media to tell you that you must worry incessantly about what's going on in other people's lives or problems. You can let go of everything else in life and become happier simply by being more self-reliant.

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