I recently ran across someone online asking people what they wished someone had told them when they were young.
There were a lot of interesting answers. Some were about trusting your parents more, while others were about trusting your parents less. One man said that his younger self should hear that he would regret not sticking with the piano. Another said that 99% of the stuff he was so worried about as a kid was really not that important.
Some of the advice was about emotional issues, that identity is not equal to accomplishment, that mistakes aren’t failure.
Other advice was about personal development, that exercising was not just for jocks, that the music of Johnny Cash was worth hearing.
I thought about the question myself, and of course there are plenty of pieces of wisdom that I wish I had known years or even decades ago. I’m into the beginning of my fifth decade now, so especially between my teenage years (possibly my stupidest period, though part of my twenties certainly gave the teenage years a run for their money) and now there are a lot of lessons that I could have used much earlier. I have a lot of moments that I wince to remember.
That said, I have to wonder whether someone in fact did tell me such things when I was younger, but I just didn’t listen or couldn’t listen. I know from experience that various pieces of advice I’ve received only made sense or were compelling to me later, sometimes years later.
I don’t think there are any shortcuts to the process of maturing. There are some things we just can’t hear.
In order to gain wisdom, we have to be broken in just the right ways or to have striven in just the right ways or to have gone through just the right stages or to have walked so many miles for so many years. It varies for all of us, of course, but there are no shortcuts, no skeleton keys that open all the doors before they would normally be opened.
What do I wish someone had told me when I was younger? Someday, you will understand.
You know, I’m pretty sure they did tell me that.