When we are growing up and making choices, some of which may be forced upon us by family, circumstance and society, we are usually defined by what we want to achieve and the paths we choose. It is only when we are much older, when choices become more limited because time becomes fragile, that we begin to see our lives are equally well defined by what we chose not do or by what we sacrificed in making our choices (whether we stuck to them or not).
I often wonder if this is the root of wisdom so often associated with older people; that it is easier for them to see what the young will be giving up as much as what they will be gaining. Something most often the young cannot see because who at seventeen doesn’t think everything is possible. Who but the most rare of human beings.
But this wisdom, which is just greater experience, doesn’t get us very far. For the rarest of all human beings is the one who takes on trust the experiences of others with as deep an understanding as being taught what berries are poisonous and which edible. Living wisely is about knowing how one’s mind will change with the change in years by living with minds of all ages, in all eras.
Wisdom is the great gift of literature.