Wednesday, March 16, 2016

I'm just smart enough to know how dumb I am

That, I think, is the crowning achievement of my 46-plus years on earth: I have finally figured out how much I don't know, and it's a lot. And more importantly, I'm OK with it.

There was a time when I guess I just assumed I would eventually learn most of what there is to know. Which I realize is incredibly naive, but I learned so much early on in life that I figured I would continue to learn at the same pace.

But that's not the way it works, is it? You get out of college and your attention turns away from knowledge gathering  which is where it has been since you were in kindergarten  to simple survival. You have bills to pay and things to do, and if you're like me, you have only so much mental capacity to handle it all. Learning new stuff quickly takes a back seat.

Or at least that's how I think it is for most people. Only the most dedicated among us are true "lifelong learners," and I envy them. They are far smarter and more insightful than I'll ever be.

Which is another thing I've come to realize: MOST people are smarter and more insightful than me. And I don't say that out of false modesty or anything. It just appears to be true, based on my experience to date.

I used to think of myself as a smart person because I got good grades. And I somehow got voted Most Likely to Succeed when I was a senior in high school, though I personally voted for Brian Fabo (he was our very deserving class valedictorian and, true to form, has turned out to be very successful).

But none of that really means anything. As I've often said, knowing facts and spouting them back on command is not intelligence. It's a bar trick. And I'm pretty good at it.

But taking information, processing it, and coming back with a workable solution to a problem or having a truly original insight? I'm not so good at that. Or at least not nearly as good as I thought I would be.

Because again, I figured I would keep getting smarter and smarter as I got older, and it didn't happen. I'm lucky to get myself dressed and out the door every morning, if I'm being honest with you.

And that's OK. It really is. I live an enjoyable, highly fulfilling life. I don't know that anyone could ask for anything more than that. The truth is that I'm blessed beyond words, and even if there WERE words to express it, I would probably forget them anyway.

So there you go. The best thing about me? I've accepted my limitations. I think that's a pretty cool thing to come to terms with.

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