“If youth is wasted on the young, then wisdom is wasted on the old.”
–George Bernard Shaw
I agree that youth is wasted on the young. They don’t know what they don’t know. But I have to question the second part of this otherwise brilliant quote.
How is wisdom wasted on the old? Most older people can’t wait to share their experiences and for the most part, are ok enough with their past to effectively share what happened, why and the end result. My theory is that it can only be wasted on the old if
a)they care not to share it, or
b) nobody wants to hear it.
I know when my dad tried to share it, I mostly brushed it off. I didn’t want to hear it. Of course, now I find myself talking to his stone, telling him how right he was about everything. His wisdom was not wasted on me, it just had a tape delay.
I like to think I have some wisdom to share with anyone who wants to listen. My wisdom stems from a wide variety of fuck-ups in my life. My scars, of which I have plenty, all have a tale to tell. Even the ones that you can’t see. I am a walking cautionary tale. But it’s a tale I will gladly tell. But someone needs to solicit it because I am not one to offer up anything unless requested. Maybe that is how it is wasted, young people who tend to “know everything” are unlikely to ask therefore the available resource of wisdom is untapped and therefore wasted.
We have a world of information contained in a single cell phone, yet we live in the most uninformed and uneducated era in recorded history. Similarly, the older amongst us contain a veritable treasure chest of knowledge about how things happen, why, and how to prevent them. But unless asked for, it will die off.
If my experiences can help just one person avoid a life-altering mistake, then all of my scars will have been worthwhile. Not wasted.