On age and humility

I turned fifty this past year.

Age makes most everyone more conservative, more set in their ways.

I am no exception in this regard.

Age has also dimmed much of my youthful optimism.

On the positive side, however, age has definitely made me more humble.

When I was twenty-three (the most arrogant, self-important age, for most people), I had lots of ideas about myself and what I could do.

But I had not yet been tested. Not in any meaningful way.

At the age of fifty, I’ve definitely been tested by the big things: the deaths of loved ones, illness, disappointments, and the disillusionment of my youthful notions about “how the world is.”

And having been tested, I must report that I’ve sometimes found myself coming up short.

I’ve discovered that I am not that wonderful and impeccably principled person that I believed myself to be at the age of twenty-three.

Each of us is endlessly virtuous, until those virtues are put to the test.

At the age of twenty-three, I saw only black and white. At the age of fifty, I see many shades of gray…most of all in myself.