Many say age is but a number, but in reality it is also an asset. “With age comes wisdom”, and I would agree in my twenty-three years being on this Earth so far, I have about twenty-three years of wisdom which can only take me so far. Most of that wisdom came from learning from my mistakes and telling those younger than I to avoid said mistakes. When it comes to real-life situations, I’m still very green around the edges, much like a leaf or a famous felt frog (try saying that five times fast) from the Muppets.
This left me with some thoughts. Thoughts such as: “How does one gain wisdom?” and “Does one gain wisdom just by aging and experiencing life?” In my lack of wisdom, I would answer no for the latter thought. My answer will be explained shortly.
After some reading, I found this quote from Confucius:
“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.”
Coming from one of the wisest philosophers in our history, he must have some sort of idea of what he was talking about, right? At first glance, this quote was a bit daunting for me to understand as a whole. Reflecting what? Imitating who? And what experiences? Perhaps he meant that by reflecting on our own predisposed thoughts and opinions and by keeping an open mind we will end up learning something. Are we going to gain wisdom by imitating people we think are wise? Wouldn’t anyone want to know how to be wise beforehand so they won’t have to go through any bitter experiences?
I have so many questions and I probably won’t get any answers until I’m high in age, and maybe even then. It is my belief that wisdom does not come from age. What really constitutes wisdom? Is being open-minded the same as being wise? The same with being accepting? Or is it just having a long lifespan and then realizing what could have been done differently? Maybe we will never know.
It is never easy being green, but maybe it’s not as easy being wise either. True wisdom comes from accepting the fact that you will always continue learning.