I once read in cognitive psychology that people who are truly into philosophy and literature don’t really come into their own until their mid to late 50’s. This means that there is hope for me. I say this because I have spent 30+ years studying philosophy. Each new theory or insight that I encounter makes me look at existence and the universe with more awe.
I used to think that the goal was to learn more theories; that they become increasingly more complex. Eventually, I thought I would stumble upon or extract the explanation that was the most comprehensive absolute truth and voila…ENLIGHTENMENT.
I always assumed that this is what philosophers do. They quest…in so doing, they collect clues. These quests are individual journeys. For me, philosophers are a source of inspiration, yet, I have never found a single philosophy that is the perfect overriding fit.
So what does one learn in their 50’s that shows that they are coming into their own? That is certainly a personal journey of discovery.
My discovery so far has been simplicity. Simplicity for me is happiness. Less is more. Everything falls into place, things make sense, they happen easily. Happiness gives my life meaning. From bad jokes to good ones. Dancing to a good song, or being lifted into a different zone by a great song. Trying new things. Loving my wife. Loving my life. Teaching a great lesson. Learning a great lesson. Standing face to face with my horse for as long as he decides is appropriate. Then getting into a carriage and trusting the connection to this horse with my life. The list could certainly go on and on. The bottom line is that happiness take place in these moments. Looking back upon these moments, the theme that emerges is simplicity.
Had I read this when I was 20, I would not have understood it the way I do today. It takes some mileage and grey hairs to appreciate the subtleties. I am in awe of what I will get to understand when I am 100.