I first published this post, or a version of it, back in 2015 on my blog, ‘Ramblings from a Writers Mind‘. I share it here today because… well, read on, it is self-elucidating.
Ex Libris Legatum
As we age we amass many life skills; some taught to us by teachers, lecturers, professors, our parents and some self-learned by patient practice and repetition.
Many lessons are simply and, often unexpectedly, thrust into our consciousness by the events of living and from life itself, love, passion, loss, hurt, births, pain, grief and death.
At some point, during the period betwixt being born and gasping our last breath, we have also, hopefully, gained some wisdom.
Although, only too often, such wisdom is realised and recognised far too late in life for us to use it in any true and meaningful way for any length of time, such is the cruel nature of growing older.
However, for those who manage to avoid a premature departure from this world, those who never got hit by lightning or run over by that proverbial trolley bus, we become, in some respects, like a soggy sponge.
Yes we droop, our bodies are dragged ‘south’ by the constant pull of gravity and some people uncontrollably leak and dribble I am sure, but the analogy I was trying to draw was one of absorption and storage, the soaking-up and retention of knowledge.
I know, for a fact, I know more than I know I know, even if in that knowledge there is the realisation of knowing that one knows nothing.
With that stated clearly, I will return to the train of thought which initiated my fingers to start tapping away today; that is, within these southerly wiltings, the rather wrinkly, fading bodies which those ‘of a certain age’ seem to acquire, are still our sprightly, lively young minds which have seldom aged beyond fifteen… or maybe sixteen.
Now… these minds of ours need a little control. You see, our minds tend to fool us by considering whatever they think we, (those of us who are over 50 something) still have the physical ability to achieve such things as skateboarding, zip-lining, mountaineering and even imbibing in large quantities of alcoholic beverages and waking in the morning with a clear head… hummph… I wish.
The reason our minds ignore our creaking joints, throbbing tendons and our scar tissues, (which pull as taught as an elastic band every time we move like this… ouch… I should not have done that), is once-upon-a-time we have done all of those things; the once-upon-a-time when our mind was in its infancy and knew little of risk or fear and cared less, our mind (mostly) protected us from going too far; well far too far, too often.
It was during all those life-threatening adventures, (those naughty and dangerous liaisons, the arguments and battles, the fights and flights our immature brains took us on), we collected lots and lots of information, comprehension, realisation, skills and familiarity.
In other words, we gained awareness, understanding and experience, this is how we became educated and intelligent, this is what gives us an erudition of life.
It is what we loosely and casually refer to as wisdom and knowledge.
These are the life skills one collects in the only way possible, by living over a long period, or at least the longest period time allows our weak and feeble bodies to function.
You see, I have out-lived many thousands of others over the years I have been walking upon this earth, (which, thankfully, I can still do… unaided).
I am glad I saw the sunrise this morning, the sad thing is so many did not.
Many of those who never got to see the sunlight today are friends and family, many older than I, many younger. Worst of all, some had only minutes of life with which we could chart their age.
The fact is the number of people who are older than I is quickly diminishing.
Now my mourning’s are frequently for those of my generation, a generation who should use their life skills and knowledge to help and nurture those who are young enough and fortunate enough to have minds which believes it is protected by an invincible body, such as our own did all those years past.
All we have learned of life and living; those births we have witnessed, our loves, both lost and lasting. The passionate moments, some intimate, comprised of twisting limbs and thrusting loins, others of the soul; music, art, theatre, dreams and scenes, vistas of natural beauty. The recollection of our times of loss, of hurt, of feeling pain; both physical and of the heart, not forgetting the grief and deaths.
This is our accumulated wisdom.
This is what we should share, what we should endeavour to teach our children, our children’s children and their children.
‘Ahh’, I hear you say, but children do not listen, do not take heed, so it is best to leave them to find their way.
I do not disagree.
However, (which is a nicer way to say but because there is always a ‘but’.)
If we share our knowledge, leave it somewhere future generations can discover it, they can learn, or at least be guided by that which we have spent a lifetime accumulating.
This is why I believe I have a duty to leave my thoughts behind when I have gone when I have shuffled from off my mortal coil.
This is why I choose to write.
Woven within the lines of my fiction and on the pages of my fantasies are the truths of life and the facts of living. All the wisdom and knowledge I accrued during my lifetime.
The words within my books and short stories are my bequest to the world, to a future I cannot be a part of, at least in person.
I chose to be a writer, not for monetary wealth or recognition, but to leave a legacy beyond simplistic values.
My wish is my words are read by the generations yet to come.
Maybe then my life will not have been lived in vain.
Ex Libris legatum
© Paul White 2021
You can find my books, including my Electric Eclectic books, on my web page, here.