Age is no specific sign of maturity, nor experience, nor wisdom. It is just a reflection of what you have done with yourself, how much you have used/misused your embodiment, your body and mind. It shows what you have learned, what you have seen, things you have experienced, the way you matured, how you absorbed learnings. But more importantly, it shows, what you failed to learn, how you overlooked things, why you missed out on experiences, how you just aged instead of maturing, how you took things lightly, picked up what was readily available, gobbled what was fed, accepted what was given, embraced what was shown, made things incongruous to your very being, your life’s basis, and limited yourself from living as yourself and depriving yourself of your own wisdom.
Abandoning traditional beliefs and thinking does not necessarily guarantee change or improvement in behavior. Although it does open up new paths which hold equal, more or less enrichment compared to the prevalent ones. An individual striving to create a life of significance and substance holds the same chance of pursuing a life of greater meaning as the chance of getting sidetracked by a life of vanity and trivialities.
Abandoning society’s premeditated norms and conditioning is not easy, but it isn’t impossible either. Even if one manages to do so, creating a sustainable and consistent life of virtue, meaning and purpose holds a greater challenge.
Every small thing holds a significant value when it comes to determining what the future ‘you’ looks like. The way you spend your days, how you start your mornings, what thoughts fill your mind, what people you share your most important moments with, how you deal with problems. Each of these are reflected in your daily living patterns, the way you keep things, the way you interact and open up with people, the way you care for yourself, the amount of time you spend caring for others.
All things-thoughts, actions, decisions- define the phases your life goes through and the experiences that form a part of it. The amount, the variety, and the quantity of these does not equal the wisdom you will possess and the quality of knowledge you will bestow upon the newer generations. Sometimes people who live longer have just seen more, but that doesn’t mean that it has brought them any wisdom.
Generally, as you live, years go by, you see things, learn, observe, absorb, formulate opinions, judgment, a perception, that guides your life in a particular direction. But, what also matters is what you really learn from this experience gained. As the common saying goes, quality is more important than quantity.
A 20 year old who has been through adversities, can show more shrewdness, thoughtfulness and wisdom than a 40 year old, even if he might have had a large variety of experiences.
So, basically, the strength of the experience that you come across, and the amount of impact they have on you, also the duration of that adverse experience, help carve a character mold that is filled with wisdom that is not forgotten and not something that can be taught to others.
As, I said, going through life’s difficulties doesn’t make you any wiser, what you learn from them does. Yes, experience may be the best teacher, but more age doesn’t mean more experience, hence it is no indication of wisdom, just as having a big title next to your name is not an honest sign of the knowledge you truly possess.
Putting it bluntly, age is just a time factor, it keeps moving whether you learn more or not, gain wisdom or not.
“I do not think, sir, you have any right to command me, merely because you are older than I, or because you have seen more of the world than I have; your claim to superiority depends on the use you have made of your time and experience.”
― Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre