Do you recognize the value of your experience? Are you able to note some of your most important life lessons?

By the time we reach midlife and beyond, we’ve covered a lot of ground and learned a few things. Arguably, we have accumulated something that goes beyond knowledge and falls into the category of wisdom. Just think of one dumb thing you did when you were younger. Would you do it again now?  If your answer is no (which I assume it is) that, my friend, is wisdom.

Recently, I had a bit of a learning experience myself when it came to this topic.

This month, I celebrated my 70th birthday, and in lieu of gifts, I made a heartfelt request to my girlfriends. I asked them to share words of wisdom from their life experiences, something they had embraced and lived by.

Sharing your learned experiences.

To my surprise, only two out of the twelve women followed through with my request. While they all wrote beautiful, loving cards and shared quotes from published authors, sharing their own words of wisdom seemed to be a challenge.

These women are accomplished individuals, with impressive titles and remarkable achievements. Yet, they hesitated when it came to sharing their own wisdom. Reflecting on this, I realized that so many of us underestimate how wise we are. We often compare ourselves to renowned figures like Maya Angelou or Eleanor Roosevelt. Those comparisons can make us feel that our experiences have less value to offer.

We all have wisdom to share – no matter our age. But doing so requires getting quiet and reflecting on our lives. It’s an act of vulnerability. It demands that we open up and express our thoughts, experiences, and beliefs and take the risk of being judged. It means revisiting the circumstances that shaped our wisdom, which sometimes can mean remembering difficult and challenging times. But it is precisely through sharing these experiences that we inspire one another with stories of courage and resilience.

As a gift to you today, I am going to share the piece of wisdom that my friend, Susan, shared. And, it blew us all away.  I hope it will inspire you to dive deep into the well of wisdom that resides within you. I hope you will explore the experiences and insights that deserve to be cherished and shared.

Words of wisdom to embrace.

You asked for words of wisdom & that really threw me. I thought who am I to think I have any words of wisdom to offer? So, I just decided to reflect on turning 70, a path I’ve been on for a few years as you know.  

They say 70 is the new 60 but no matter how we sugarcoat it, all our birthdays reflect the passage of time.  And while aging certainly has some scary & uncomfortable elements to it, I maintain that there’s something about turning 70 that can be both liberating and motivating.

It’s a time where you realize you don’t want to put things off or be held back by some unwritten rule that says you have to conduct your life in a certain way. I find that to be very liberating – it’s like shedding a burden. You can develop your own criteria for the choices you make (hopefully finding joy is one of them) & let your own personal compass steer you. The time we spent seeking approval when we were younger becomes a waste of time as we get older because we don’t have time to waste.

Knowing that we don’t have time to waste is also very motivating. When we’re younger it’s easy to put plans or ideas out there for “the future”; you have the sense of having plenty of time to accomplish them. When you’re 70 though, the present is what is right in front of you and that awareness can motivate us to make things happen sooner rather than later.  By deciding to make the most of our time now, look at how much fun we can have in the moment! Just being aware that we can & should choose action that brings us joy, makes us feel creative, productive, content or whatever we are seeking is such a gift! 

Are we able to make every moment rewarding and magical? Of course not, because after all, we are only human. We must give ourselves permission to be imperfect and not waste time suffering because we are. Without a doubt, the more mindful we are of maximizing the quality of our time, the richer and happier we will be and the more we will savor this gift of our life. I find just thinking about this makes me feel optimistic, excited, and energetic.

You are wise.

So, as you go through your day, I encourage you to take Susan’s wise advice: Listen to your inner compass, make the most out of every precious moment, make choices that bring you joy and fill you up, and ignore that voice inside of you that says you don’t have any wisdom to share.  You too have a wellspring of wisdom derived from your own unique experiences. It’s time to shift perspective, my friend, and recognize the treasure trove of insight you possess.  You never know who you will inspire by sharing your tales of resilience and triumph.