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Need More Wisdom



I can’t remember anything.   A memory class comes up and I enroll.


And if I could remember everything learned I would spell it all out for you.  I did write it all down.  Took copious notes, as I do.  They are somewhere in a notebook.


I do remember the gist of the class without finding my notebook:

Up until age 40 or so we remember by rote memorization, by doing it over and over.  And then something happens to our brain (which I can’t remember) and we start to remember by wisdom.


So first, knowledge.  At thirty we had such knowledgeable cocktail parties.  You know, we talked about the front page of the Trib, the parenting book everyone was reading, someone could tell you about how a computer actually computed in the 80s - if got stuck against a wall with him-  or someone knew who Ann Hathaway was dating.  People knew stuff.


And it seemed to matter.


You could call a friend who knew about good car insurance, or how to grow a hedge and get it to form a wall,  or what aisle in Trader Joe’s to get those little lollypop chicken appetizers that everyone was serving.  And friends would call me and I knew stuff.  I remembered recipes and author’s names - actually even remembered titles of books I was reading when I was reading them!


But now, our teacher told us, we remember through wisdom.  Maybe all those facts never really mattered.  Because as it turns out, wisdom is a precious word.  Has little to do with facts.


Wisdom is not knowing that the shiva is from 3-5 pm, but it’s about sitting with someone who is suffering -  and knowing that you don’t have to say those stupid things you thought you were supposed to say at funerals when you were twenty, although those things are very kind things to say.  What’s important is to show up.


Wisdom is getting to the grocery store without your list and not freaking.  At least not freaking after you freak and look through all your pockets and purse sections.  (In that multi-sectioned purse I bought, in my wisdom, because I can never find anything in my purse).  Anyway, wisdom tells you it’s gonna be OK.  I can figure out something to make for dinner.  Or - the ultimate wisdom - I can buy a premade dinner at the deli counter.


It’s gonna be OK is a big part of wisdom.  The fact that you’ve been here before.  Because wisdom is experience and empathy.  Wisdom, we know, has been through Hell, and we recognize it in others and we now know how to act.


Wisdom grows in people at different times.  How many times have I said to myself “I should’ve known better!!”  Who had a friend in high school that seemed “grounded” - an “old soul” - wise beyond their years….?


Look at Joni Mitchell - she wrote Both Sides Now in her early 20s.


I believe that wisdom can grow in us through music.  Music tells us how to feel even without words. I learned so much listening to Both Sides Now.   But we can feel tension, love, fear  in a movie character through the background music as if we are walking in someone’s shoes.


But even more than that - I think I gained wisdom through the lyrics and sounds of the songs that I grew up with.  Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young taught me how to be angry with Ohio.  I was only fourteen.  Try listening to anything Adam Duritz sings with the Counting Crows and not feel his angst and get a little insight into someone who is not you.

And we all know Bruce is not singing praise to the USA in Born in the USA just by the way he sings it.


My friends, Julie and Karen have wisdom.   They give amazing gifts.  This is Total Wisdom when you have a friend who is known for her/his gift giving. You don’t get socks from these wise people. These are people who listen.  And wisdom is listening, and not interrupting and letting another tell you who she is.  Karen and Julie gave me a book that talks about this listening and being seen.  Because they knew I would love this book.  In World Within a Song by Jeff Tweedy (Wilco) - he talks about music giving him wisdom.  He talks about how we listen to music:


“The blurry area between a song and the mind that receives it, puts it back together in a shape that fits their own life, and allows the heart to take ownership.”  I wish I wrote that.  That’s what music does.


My boys, like me, are growing in wisdom.


Shane can speak computer.  He codes and markets and knows how to get in touch with a human being at Facebook or Google.  But the wisdom he has picked up keeps his clients at peace and turns work friends into real friends.


Dillon has learned all the facts behind being an EMT and fireman.  But his kindness through wisdom gives the people he encounters a feeling of safety, makes them feel like everything is ok.


Rory could tell you anything about a BMW.  But his empathy for his customers calms them down at the dealership when something is wrong with their cars.


Our teacher gave us tips for memory.  I remember one.  Make a list of important tasks that you are afraid you will forget to do tomorrow - and put it by your toothbrush.  Brushing your teeth is a habit you will do tomorrow morning - you will see your list then.


Wisdom tells me that I will, indeed, remember where the heck I put the notebook with all the other memory tips. That it will be ok.

I will keep you posted then.






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Feeling all of your love of life in this piece Maggie-laughing because I almost always give socks to my kids!

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Actually ME TOO!!! It’s a christmas stocking tradition! 🤣🤣

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karenhlav
karenhlav
Feb 24

Wait, do I know you? jk - the way you wrote this piece gives grace and acceptance to becoming wise, even when the path to it can be frustrating. The songs of our lives that shape and move us is so meaningful, and that resonated with me. Your writing is always from the heart and I enjoy reading every word on the page. Love this piece. Bravo Maggie!

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Thanks Karen!!!! Gift Giver Pro 😘

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❤️ loved this one!! ... rang a waaaay too familiar bell ... my middle name is post-it-note. keep the good stories comin' sweetie! 😘 jg

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Omg my middle name

Is post it note LOVE that hahahahahahahahaha!!! Xoxoox

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