Know What I Know

Know what I know.

The other day I was talking to my optometrist – a young woman by my standards, I’ll not attempt to guess her age to avoid embarrassment. But it was less than half mine.

I have thought about this issue before, possibly even written about it, but here it is popping up again.

New Glasses

I was ordering my NEW glasses. I seem to remember early on in our discussion (some weeks ago) that the time frame for the generation of these new lenses and placing them in my frames would be about a month and I would have to wear on older pair until then.

While that was not the end of the world it was a long time to contemplate using an even more outdated prescription. My eyes were already sore, puffy, leaky, bloodshot and having a higher pressure (glaucoma) than was optimal.

How Long?

However this time when the order was placed, I noticed that I did not ask about the time frame. This is not to point out how clever I am, but just to note how priorities and expectations have changed as I have reached these higher strata in the age department.

I didn’t ask ‘cause it didn’t matter anymore. I had made a decision to get new spectacles. It will take as long as it takes. I can’t do anything about it, so why worry? Using an older pair was part of that decision. I am unable to fix this. It is what it is and I might have made a different decision if urgency was an issue.

Many younger people cannot come to terms with the prayer we all attribute to alcoholics anonymous. It was written much earlier than that organisation’s use of it – but that is not important right now. You understand this as you get older. Know what I know.

The serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”

There is so much stuff we know as older people that is so frustrating to us, when we see younger people make the same mistakes we made 30-40 years ago.

Now I understand the learning process (I was a teacher for many years) and we learn and remember more by doing than any other way, and if we are to make mistakes the learning is often that much sharper. This adds to my frustration. I need to be able to accept that mistakes MUST happen and if I were able to stop them all – this might well be counter-productive.

Peer Pressure

But I wish I could, at least, make these youngsters aware that there might be another way

My daughter often uses peer information to make decisions that her mother and I know were not what we believed. And our daughter is a pretty fine woman, so we must have done something right. Peer pressure wins. Again.

Know What I Know

Sometimes it’s not time or money or anything physical. Sometimes it’s guilt and more often regret.

I KNow

“I wish I’d done that differently.” is a common response to a ‘not completely satisfactory end game.’ “I tried to tell you.” is our older person’s refrain. That doesn’t help. Only makes the situation worse.

I don’t think schools help. How to multiply 2*2 might not matter in the time of the calculator, but that, and say, “What’s the Capital of France?” might be nice to knows, and might suggest a higher intelligence – doubtful but impressions count, and MIGHT save time if a question is asked. (ie you don’t have to look it up- it is available from the RAM (Random Access Memory) in your head. But as well as all that factual stuff schools, in my opinion, should teach self-help, personal development, and all that supposedly esoteric stuff. Along with standards like balancing a budget. Cooking. Basic life skills.

(Cliche alert) The ability to think outside the box does not appear to be prioritised; yet we all know - NOTHING in life is ever able to be categorised completely. There is always something different.

And we are not often taught to think at all. And just rote learning is not enough. Important in many cases, but not enough.

That is why our (older) knowledge is really cool. It is based on life skills. Living. It doesn’t rely on a TEACHER as such.

Teacher Appears

Although, there is a saying, alternately attributed to Buddha Siddhartha Guatama Shakyamuni and the Theosophists, that goes: “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”

This applies more than ever nowadays, I reckon.

Know what I know.


Reminds me of a couple of songs I know.

In the middle of a ‘Hey Gringo’ song the and lyrics replying to an audience heckle, “Play something we know.” – the band leader replies, “Know something we play.”

And Rick Nelson, in a song called, ‘Garden Party.’ says, “… if memories were all I played, I’d rather drive a truck.”

Learning, (moving forward with new knowledge) is the key to a better way of life.

Isn’t it?

By Colin on April 16, 2020 · Posted in Thought Leadership

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