Older… and Wiser?

Have you noticed that the ‘older’ part of ‘older but wiser’ is singularly obvious in wrinkles, aches, and the need for Post-It notes littered over every surface – but the wiser part is much harder to recognize? Especially when the dog mouths one of those Post-It notes, and you have to make an extra trip back to town for the three forgotten items of the six that you need to make supper.

How delightful, how ego-boosting it is, then, when circumstances allow you to recognize that the ‘wiser’ at least occasionally manifests. A recent experience allowed me to feel grateful for whatever passes for wisdom in my brain. I had thought to pursue a course of study which would require me to hold in equal respect two conflicting paths to spiritual understanding. My training directed me along one path, my mental inclination tempted me onto the other. The studies would have meant constantly balancing two goals, two world views, two concepts of self. The outcome of the program would have enabled me to practice in a field I’d like to enter, for which I do not – at least at this point – see another means of qualifying.

So I did all the paperwork, wrote the essays, completed the application – and then was denied acceptance. What to do now???

Here’s where the wiser comes in. I did nothing, just let the fact of the denial settle into my awareness. Within a few days, I had one of those blessed “aha” experiences, a flash of insight that allows me to lay at least passing claim to wisdom. Recognition is enough! Seeing the differences between the two paths, understanding how different aspects of myself are drawn to each of them, and knowing that I am capable of continuing to follow one while learning the other – that is the recognition. And it is enough. I don’t have to also undergo the stress of carrying awareness of the paths and their differences through a two year course of study.

Wiser seems to be at work in my growing ability to move through a mine field of life choices while maintaining a ‘neither for nor against’ mentality.

Older is definitely a handicap in my search for paid employment. I cannot help but believe that the on-line application and screening systems which substitute for preliminary job interviews include an edit that discards all applications with college graduation dates before 1990 (the application isn’t accepted if a graduation date is left blank). No other explanation accounts for a year of denials of my applications for positions for which I meet every criterion, which mirror work I have already done successfully, and which are written using all the key words of the job description included in my work summary. Wiser allows me to keep the constant rejection at arm’s length, not translating it into a feeling of personal inadequacy. The right income opportunity will come my way, so long as I keep an open, explore-everything approach to the search – and all this rejection is good practice for the inevitable “send out twenty stories to get one accepted” that mark a writing life.


Older is what I will be – starting another decade – on my next birthday in the autumn. Wiser is what I hope also to be by then, having learned the parameters of a new job which I’ve been offered, and having experienced yet again the virtues of patience. I’ve been hired into a position which exceeds every criterion I had set – flexible hours, service to others, supportive and enjoyable coworkers. And I have almost two months to discern how to maintain my established writing pace while fulfilling the job’s requirements. I’m old enough to know that won’t be easy. Hopefully I’m wise enough to know both how important the writing is to my sense of well-being, and how possible it is to “have it all.” With patience, I will see the way.

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3 Responses to “Older… and Wiser?”

  1. Cheryl @ Artzzle Says:

    Guess I can’t type well any longer either. :>(

  2. Cheryl @ Artzzle Says:

    You have just put the last three years of my life into words! I laughed, cried and commiserated with every syllable. It’s always uplifting to find others that you wouldn’t have to “explain yourself” to; they jwould ust get it! I’m a new follower.

    • chelawriter Says:

      Thank you for supporting my efforts to articulate where I’ve been, where I am, and where I hope to be going. Since I live in quite an isolated location, I appreciate that the Net enables connection to others who ‘get it’ without explanations. We all need that type of support.

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