Thursday, May 19, 2011

knowledge and wisdom

I confess...I had an obsession with quotations for many years.  They adorned my college walls where others had photos or music memorabilia and I had an index card box stuffed with them.  One favorite was a line from Tennyson: "Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers."  I still hold this true but I'd takes it further and add "Knowledge is learned, wisdom is earned.  Knowledge comes in a moment, wisdom builds in a lifetime."

I think I have a lot of knowledge and a bit of wisdom. With both, there are pieces I feel like I've always held, pieces I've accumulated, and pieces I'm still working on.  I think it is a mistake to assume wisdom always trumps knowledge, they are just different.  So it is easier for me to share based on time-frame than the knowledge/wisdom line.  I don't believe I have insights that are more valuable than anyone else, but I have a little forum so I will share.  And it is me, so there will be bullet points.

Truths I've Always Held (i.e. stuff I feel I knew quite young)
  • Nothing is more fundamental than being true to yourself.  I have regrets and wonder about roads not taken, but I've never regretted that I have always been me.  It didn't always make the road easy.  High school sucked...and there are things I'd change, but I wouldn't compromise being true to who I was.  It hasn't always been easy, but I think I've done (and do) it well.  This is not an excuse to never grow, to never change..the truth that is a person is always evolving.  I'm always a work in progress and I'll never be a static figure.  I think that's kind of cool.
  • Honesty is usually better (and much easier).  Of course, I've bent truths and occassional outright lied, I can't deny that.  It is usually in an effort to simplify things or save feelings.  But I think I'm fundamentally pretty honest and I'm proud of that.  A nice is a heck of a lot easier than remembering lies.
  • Material goods are overrated and the simplest ones can be the best.  I never had long birthday or holiday lists.  I never wanted too much.  I know this has frustrated gift-givers, even more so given my holiday season birthday.  The bonus is that I could generally count on getting what I asked for, maybe eve outside of gift season, since I asked so rarely.  At the same time, it was the simplest objects that I appreciated the most.  I get much more pleasure out of a comfy blanket or a stuffed animal (Teddy (insert MM's real name here) is wonderful when I'm in pain) than a flashy cell phone and prefer a comfortable pair of PJ pants to a name designer piece.
Truths I've Found
  • Exercise is key and anyone can become a bit of an athlete. I'm never confident with the word athlete since I'm more of a gym rat than a sports star, but I barely moved in my youth so this is definitely a big change (and I'll always talk about my sole half-marathon). I've talked before about this journey so won't go on too long. I don't know that I'll ever truly love exercise, but I do love both it's mental and physical results. I do know I overdo it, but it the value of movement is definitely something I've learned since my college days.
  • It sounds silly but, as a woman, learning to deal with my hair better might qualify as life changing.  I gained 15 minutes a day when I figured out the key to blow-drying the thick mane (upside down first to dry underlayers, flip for drying the rest and to avoid crazy volume) and the recent discovery of a great product makes me less terrified of damp weather.  My hair will always be one of the first things people see and getting closer to being at peace with it is great.
  • Be loud when it comes to your health.  Again, I've treaded this ground before (and that's just one sample).  But I spent way too long assuming the pain (and, risking TMI, needing to get up multiple times at night to avoid accidents for at least the first three days of my period) was normal and just had to be endured.  Right now, I'm running low on pain medicine.  I worry a LOT about dependence and the appearance thereof, but I still am sending follow-up messages (contact may be out) because I know I need it.  Once you are an adult, your body is your responsibility and you, not any doctor are the expert. 
  • More than anything else, the key to a solid relationship is in the down time.  It is easy to have a blast at an amusement park or during a night on the town.  For a relationship to thrive, it is much more important that you are content with the same sort of simpler day or average weeknight evening.  X needed much more action and interaction than I did.  There's nothing wrong with that, but it didn't match with me.  MM may be watching a car auction while I read a book or I might be watching The Middle while he plays online, but we are both happy and content spending Saturday on the couch.  I think the word "content" carries a negative connotation and I don't like that.  Nights out, days away, and other such things are great and important.  But much more time is spent in everyday life and finding contentment there is a key to joy and to a successful partnership.
  • Intelligence is multi-faceted.  I think part of this I've always known, but I think I've built on my understanding over the years.  I took many education classes in college, the type of small college that puts the liberal in liberal arts, and they very much emphasized the idea of multiple intelligences.  I've also always known I'm smart but also appreciated that my intelligence is a specific variety....I can solve puzzles and communicate concepts but I have a weaker memory and a total lack of spatial intelligence (I might actually get lost in a paper bag).  I am proud my intelligence and see it has value, but I don't think it is any "better" than a gift for music or for figuring out what's making the car rattle.
Truths I'm Learning
  • Find peace with your body.  I won't say you have to love it, I'm not sure I'll ever be there and I'm guessing I'm not alone in that.  It is also important to look at it with honest eyes and to work on keeping it healthy.  The wisdom is in finding a happy peace where you treat it with respect which includes showing it appreciation and keeping criticism constructive.  I often tell people they shouldn't talk to themselves any worse than they'd talk to their move loved friend.  I say it, I have a ways to go before I truly live it.  But I'm working on it.
  • Find a career path that provides balance.  I think some people find a job that defines them and brings them joy and satisfaction, in addition to a paycheck.  I'm not sure that everyone will find that and I'm not even sure it is quite what everyone should strive for.  I am working on finding a job that I can fit into a full, complete life.  It might be amazingly satisfying or it might simply be a job that enables me to fully enjoy other parts of life and fully realize my true self.
  • As long as a fundamental level of respect is maintained, political and other differences can be something to appreciate.  Definitely still working on this one but I never would have believed I could fall in love with someone who has such different views than mine.  But I know my heart so I'm learning how to find the balance.
I know other stuff too....much of which will come as soon as I hit post.  Another piece of knowledge is that I can come off as snobby in a way, especially intellectually.  So I'm nervous posting this.  Please don't think that I feel like I'm any wiser than you.  I'd love to hear you share what you know, have learned, and are learning.  I think the digital age has a lot of drawbacks but also think it can be so valuable in helping us share and learn from (and with) each other.

1 comment:

JAG said...

Yes sitting quietly in the same room, sharing the same space is wonderful. I think I would use the word comfortable in conjunction with content.