“Aging is an extraordinary process where you become the person you always should have been.” David Bowie
Most of us have been there before, “If I only knew then what I know now.” Wouldn’t we all be frickin geniuses were we to apply that latter life knowledge to our past ignorance’s and unintended errors? But in addition to not knowing many things we wish we’d known, there must be more to this idiom than just knowledge. Some attribute it to experience and or maturity – yet I don’t entirely buy that. As I have confronted my own fears and in the process bared myself to new ideas, concepts and pseudo-philosophies these past several years, it is not merely within the purview of the mature that I have learned these matters. I am often in awe of – let’s label them (oh I hate labels) the Millennials – who themselves possess vast stores of mindful wisdom. How is it that such wisdom is acquired at a relatively early age? I have watched their YouTube videos or the like of these youthful Einsteins and the messages I heard belie the youth-like image of the vessel in which the message is elucidated. Speaking of Einstein, his manifest “Miracle Year”, the year in which he wrote among other papers the famous E=mc² and the theory of relativity, he was but 26 years old.
That we can all become Einstein’s is preposterous yet many of us can concede our particular failings and grow out from them at any age. The mere fact that I learned something at fifty meant I was capable at thirty or even younger. I myself may not have been ready to learn then but that is another story.
So what is it that holds us back? What imprisons and entraps us? Could it be we try to live up to the “Joneses” not merely in material acquisitions but also more profoundly trying to fit in with the crowd by hiding our own and unique authenticity? What if so-and-so found out we liked country music when they thought we were rap fan enthusiasts through and through? Perhaps we hid our love of entertainment wrestling because we thought it would be weird within our circle. What if they thought we were religious and we were not? What if we are living a lie?
We are a fearful species. We fear negative judgement and will do almost anything to prevent it from occurring. One question to ask ourselves is; who are “they” that we fear? Who gives them such power over us? And what would happen if they found out our secret? There is that judgement again.
Fear guides us. Fear often controls us. Fear shapes our daily interactions with the world. Fear drives our suspicions. Fear creates prejudice within us. Fear is of the unknown.
So we needn’t get older to know who we are and to begin to rid ourselves of fear. What is prerequisite is to break negative habits that have been a part of us for years and years. Aging however might be that catalyst of “enough is enough”; I don’t want or need to absorb this self-inflicted shit upon myself any further. Perhaps that is where aging helps. But aging is not essential to determine who we are. Look at and be inspired by youth. Some of them figured this out long before we did or have. The sooner we begin to recognize our walls, the sooner we can break them down, be free and happier more content human beings. That potential is within each one of us.