What you didn’t know then…



As we age, we are told we need to become younger, that being more youthful is somehow “better”.

But there is an amazing part to getting older that we overlook: Wisdom.

Many cultures celebrate their elders and revere them for their wisdom and life experience. It’s sad that in our culture, we really don’t.

Not only do we dismiss those older than us as uncool, super wrinkled, and out of touch with the ways things are, we don’t even acknowledge ourselves for the wisdom we have gained over the years.

I was reflecting on this the other day when I looked in the mirror and – lo and behold! – I had a streak of gray hair streaming from my temples!

Here is the proof:


The most interesting part of this experience was noting my own reaction to it: I was overjoyed! I thought, hey, cool! I am wise and now it shows!

I’ve actually been dismissed as being too young to know anything since I look younger than I am. So, for me, the touch of gray was a cool addition to my expert status.

Now, obviously, a few grey hairs doesn’t necessarily show wisdom, or equate to wisdom. But I liked it. I felt wise.

(Compare this with my sister’s reaction when I shared the news: You’re happy about it? Like I was some alien from another planet.)

Okay getting back to the point.

When I was a teenager and even in my twenties, I dismissed older people because I thought I knew everything. Hello arrogance! (Now I am wise enough to know I don’t know everything. Clearly, it’s the gray hair. Keeps me grounded.)

The best thing about talking to older people now (and actually listening to them this time) is the “what I know now that I didn’t know then” stories. The fruits of their life experience. The stories that shaped them and could also – if I let them – shape me.

Let an older person share his or her life lessons with you and see what magic you can glean and apply to your own life.

And, you have something to share with others, too (and with your inner self on days when you want to have a pity party).

What do you know now that your younger self didn’t know then? What do you know now that you didn’t know twenty, ten, five, or even a year ago?

Write it out so you can see and celebrate your progress and growth:

Twenty years ago, I didn’t know _____________________________ and now I do!

Ten years ago, I didn’t know _____________________________ and now I do!

Five years ago, I didn’t know _____________________________ and now I do!

One year ago, I didn’t know _____________________________ and now I do!

It’s so easy to focus on what we don’t know, or what we need to learn. This is good. It keeps up moving forward and growing. However, celebrating your progress is the necessary balance that we need to remember. It keeps us sane. In acknowledging your own wisdom that you have earned over the years, you get to celebrate your wisdom – with or without the accompanying gray hair.

What wisdom do you hold now? Please share your wisdom below so we can all learn from each other!

Until next time…

With love and light,

Nicole Justine Cavanaugh