they say with aging comes wisdom
Written by Alberta Parish
Does wisdom truly come with aging? If you focus on the fuckery that many old people are doing, you would think that wisdom does not come with physical maturity. However, as I continue progressing through the aging process, there are a few noticeable changes in the way I view the world and the concepts that have consumed my every existence. Until recently, I was a religious person but have decided to question the beliefs that don’t solve any tangible problems in my life. Neither does the belief system offer real-world solutions. At 44, I'm thinking more clearly about specific concepts that I grew up believing, because I was taught as a child to believe that this was the way my life should be and this was who I am. In reality, we're so much more than our racial, gender and religious identities. To put yourself under a religious banner and proclaim that there is no other life you could or should be living outside of this religious construct is to deny all the aspects of your existence that makes you you.
Whether my mother's sudden death in 2017 from uterine cancer played a major role in my new, improved thought processes or a sudden realization that being a religious person didn't truly make me happy, I can confidently proclaim that I've garnered wisdom with each passing year and each major life experience during those years.
In my grief, I've learned so much about who I am as an individual existing outside of religion. Wisdom has taught me to accept myself for all of the flaws, emotions and desires that I have within me...that I tried so desperately to bury under the cloak of Christianity. For years, I buried my desires and needs. But wisdom taught me that I can no longer hide behind religious dogma for any sort of answer or comfort. I was forced to become true to myself. I had to rethink the concepts that have caused so much pain, division and misery throughout the earth for thousands of years. Even now, there is so much bigotry, racial genocide, and other atrocities occurring around the world due to religious belief systems. Being raised Christian may have worked for a short time in my life, but maturity has brought enough wisdom for me to finally understand that I need more than religion to be a well-balanced and perhaps, happy human being. After religious worship, who am I? The real me needs love outside of God's love. I need acceptance outside of the Church. I need solutions to real-life problems outside of feel-good stories.
I can't live on hopes. I need real-life answers.
Since religion can also teache one to be a bigot, I couldn't go along with that and still maintain a good conscience. I cannot condemn a person for his or her sexual orientation or Trans identity when there's a possibility that I could be suppressing my own sexual desires. There's simply no more place in the world for bigotry. I think what was once acceptable bigotry against the LGBTQ+ community by the mainstream society is now greatly condemned by individuals who actually think for themselves instead of allowing traditional media, religious institutions, and bigots to think for them. Thank goodness for progressive movements that has vehemently opposed injustices (racial, ethnic, gender, sex orientation, etc.).
Like plants, wisdom can be cultivated. Wisdom also becomes refined after a set number of years. We're allowed to make mistakes, because through our mistakes comes hard lessons. The lessons are what give you the wisdom as you progress through the aging process. How can you gain wisdom if you don't ever make mistakes?
Being open to new and updated concepts is also the result of wisdom. A truly wise person doesn’t think he/she knows everything. A wise person listens to various philosophies, learns a little from each of them, and applies them to his/her own existence. Hopefully, the wisdom we learn benefits us in positive ways.
Following your own intuition also comes as a result of wisdom. Wisdom inherently teaches you to be quiet and listen. It is during this process when you really find the answers you’ve been seeking. You begin to question a lot of things that you once held as unquestionable. If you’re unhappy, why do you continue to travel the same path? Why do you allow others to dictate how you should think and feel? Wisdom teaches you to follow your heart, do what is within your best interest, and let go of bad energy or unrealistic relationships.
My 44 is a lot better than my 24 due to wisdom. I’m constantly breaking psychological chains that were ingrained in every aspect of my being. I may not be the complete human that I want to be but I’m not like I used to be.
In addition to being a writer with various works in fiction, nonfiction and poetry, Alberta is a lover of the arts—film, music, television, classical literature. She also enjoys mentoring others and building new friendships. She’s written the following books; “Matters of the Heart: A Collection of Short Stories, Poetry & Creative Nonfiction”, “Vanished and Other Short Stories”, and “The Evil Within Him.”