Friday, May 28, 2010

Listen up

I turned 42 yesterday. Not sure how it happens, where the time goes. But it does.

The good news is I wasn’t in the hospital, or pregnant (or pregnant and in the hospital), this year. Instead I was busy, out in the world -- the morning spent volunteering in my daughter’s classroom, the afternoon spent at work, and the evening at yoga and at home.

The bad news is I don’t think I’m getting any wiser as the years tick by.

The only thing I’m sure about, in fact, is that the older I get the more I understand that I don’t really know much about anything; that often my take on something is limited or flawed or downright wrong. It’s humbling, I tell you.

I was sure of lots of things when I was younger. So brazen, really. But not so much anymore. I’ve come to realize that so much of what we think we know is biased by our own past experiences, our gender, our race, our socioeconomic status. How can it not be, right?

I don’t think it can be. But I do think that owning up to the fact that our views are not necessarily “right” is something we can strive for.

I read some article recently that claimed that every altercation in the world, from the biggies like world wars, civil uprisings, and political coups, on down to barroom brawls and everyday marital strife, come down to peoples’ insistence on being “right.” I mean, if I’m “right,” and you don’t hold the same view, then you’re “wrong,” right?

It’s so easy to dig in, insisting on our position; to elevate “right” to such a level that the truth, or a compromise, cannot be reached.

So, this year, I’m going to work on remembering that I know little about anything. If I’m successful, I just might be able to not only hear what you’re saying, but also what you’re meaning.

5 comments:

Rita.the.bookworm said...

Reminds me of that Bob Dylan song with the chorus, Ah, but I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now. I love that song.

Happy birthday!

your bff in PA said...

you mean I'm not going to be any smarter at 42?!

I can tell you for certain, according to my kids, I am not nearly as smart as they are. I can't wait for them to age into stupidity!

Sounds like you had the perfect day :)

Springer Kneeblood said...

Beth, I have 14 years on you and I can tell you with certainty that it just gets more so. You're so right. And I wrote about the very topic of people believing their viewpoint is always right, though not nearly as eloquently, yesterday. Happy age-enhancement event.

Me, You, or Ellie said...

I love this Beth! Lovely post.

I know for sure that I don't know anything for sure. That is, in fact, the only thing I'm sure about.

It's very comforting, really.

xxxEllie

Me, You, or Ellie said...

Oh wait! And Happy Birthday!

Ellie