Age vs. Wisdom…and the winner is…?

How do we become who we are? From our first breath to our last, we have had to adjust to the lives of others. Was your first step taken to rush to proud, loving arms or perhaps to test the range of what lay beyond them?

Small children can play for hours in games that have no winners or losers. These games also have no rules. We are taught early what rules are and how we are expected to abide by them. Following the rules or ignoring them causes us to change. Sometimes it’s for the better and sometimes not.

We grow and gain strength and a tiny bit of understanding. It’s perfectly fine to dislike things that make us feel lessened. Realizing that there are times we may need to feel lessened is an experience that makes us a lot wiser. Some of us have grown to what passes for adulthood without ever knowing that we can be wrong at times. That is the person who no one ever seems to connect with, unless they can be using them for their own empowerment. Always remember the best way to insure that you NEVER make a mistake,,,,Is to never DO anything!

When we have reached “Adult” status we have achieved the ability to create all the chaos we would like. We can no longer be held to the standard of ; “Too young to understand”. Even if you truly are, the clock and calendar deny that choice for you. These are the times that will allow you to make more and bigger mistakes that at any other time in your life! If you are extremely fortunate, there won’t be many witnesses to it. However, if there are a hundred pairs of eyes locked on you, you may have to develop a whole new skillset. When you have finally convinced all those eyes that they didn’t REALLY see what you did,,,,consider a career in politics.

Middle age used to be roughly from age 35 to 65. Even that has shifted. From the way it looks, middle age now starts at age 50 and if the wind blows right, we can sail it through to about 80 years old. What a shame to increase that period of full responsibility! We even have a name for those who felt the tug of irresponsible actions in ‘Mid-Life’. It’s “Mid-Life Crisis”! That would cover anything from divorcing your wife of 25 years and running away to Bali with the babysitter, to buying a new brand of paper towels.

“Mid-Life Crisis” was a ‘Get out of jail free’ card. Women could blame straying hormone levels and men could blame anything from workplace stress to living with hormonal women. Now we’ll have to ‘proof’ you to see if you fall in those upwardly skewed parameters. If you are only 49,,,forget the grass shack and the babysitter. If you do it then you’ll just be the “Dumb Schmuck”. After your 50th birthday you can have your “Mid-Life Crisis” and most people will be forgiving. Possible exceptions will be the wife and the babysitter’s boyfriend.

There were many times in my life I looked forward to my “Mid-Life Crisis” which I was planning to have in my mid-40’s. Now I have to wait because all the best ones are booked up. Maybe I’ll run away with a pool boy on my 80th birthday? But I’ll have to make sure of that part where I run….maybe a fast crawl? Or I’ll get a pool boy who can pick me up, flip me over his shoulder and toss me in the back of the rented ambulance and drive me around in Atlantic City until we find a place that is having a Rolling Stones Concert. Hey! If I’m still around, I am sure they will be too! That should take care of my “Mid-Life Crisis”.

I have a group of close friends I’ve known since my early teens. Some are still working full time and others part time or retired. We all have grown children and grandchildren of all ages. When we were young we’d talk about what we expected to accomplish in our lives. Then we switched to what our children were capable of doing. Now we talk about other things…..Hair. To color or not to color. Wrinkles and how fetching they are. Age spots are really late blooming beauty marks. What brand of sweat pants are the most comfortable…that sort of thing.

A lot of the time, we talk about how incredibly dumb we were when we were young! We were all Barbie Dolls who were going to marry Ken Dolls and have perfectly formed plastic babies who neither consumed or digested food. (These babies would have arrived via a plastic trapdoor in our perfectly formed abdomens.)

Some of us married that Ken Doll and found out that he didn’t come with rechargeable batteries. The Babies weren’t Cabbage Patch and insisted on using up our lives and energy. No trapdoor either and then there was Labor! That was an Epiphany!

Almost all of us divorced the Ken Doll. The one who didn’t …died young. Massive heart attack in her sleep. We all blamed her Ken Doll. We adapted our lives to fit the circumstances which were changing almost daily. Some of us did very well, some of us did OK and some of us just did. But we all stopped being Barbie Dolls! None of us raised our children to become half of a couple. We had been raised to be wives and mothers. The boys were raised to be “Head of the House” and the breadwinners and the ultimate law giver. For whatever reason, this stopped working.

Women’s Liberation made us wear many hats and we did flaunt them. We now style ourselves; “More Mature Women”. Doesn’t that sound better than “Old Grannies”?

There is a saying; “Youth is wasted on the young.” Well….”Wisdom is wasted on the old.” Or “We grow too soon old and too late smart.”

No longer will we tell our grandchildren about the mistakes we made so they don’t repeat them. They refuse to believe that we ever were young. We won’t tell our children about the most effective way of doing something. They refuse to think we could have made any better decisions than they do. We will sit and watch, with our feet up and sipping a cool drink. And we will try not to laugh too loud.


© By Swampetta (











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