Posted by: jhvn | 03/17/2014

Are Geezers Wiser than Adults and Children?

First, an apology.

I’ve neglected this geezerhood blog for a year! After Pat, my wife, died two years ago this month, I got all wrapped up in developing an article, which needed to become a book, then morphed into a video project. Now I’m searching for film maker. I want to show how the way Pat’s, dementia played out in her life transformed her last months, and enabled her to cross the threshold to the next world in peace. I also found new meaning for myself in living and dying .

This geezer is hanging on as my muse swings my tiger by the tail. After more months of gestation, I trust that the muse, the tiger, and as yet unknown energies will give birth to a film. It will be many months before this film appears, but I’ll keep you posted. My geezerhood amazes me.

Now I hope to get out a blog a week. We’ll see what happens. I hope you will hang in with me.

So wisdom. What in the world is wisdom?

It seems to be something happening to me. Here are five qualities of wisdom to consider:

1. self-insight;

2. the ability to demonstrate personal growth;

3. self-awareness in terms of your historical era and your family history;

4. understanding that priorities and values, including your own, are not absolute;

5. an awareness of life’s ambiguities.

Take a minute to reflect on each one. Do you find this quality growing in yourself?  Would you like it to grow? What negative side effects concern you? How might your life be different if you had more or less of it? 

Take another minute to ask yourself whether each quality has grown in you since childhood and/or adulthood. If so, how has it grown, and what has nourished it? If not, what has stunted it?  Now can you answer the title question for yourself?

You can turn this blog into a conversation, not a monlogue.  Post the results of your reflection, or any other comment, for all to see. Tell your friends, and let’s read your own wisdom.

These qualities were presented in an article by Phyllis Korkki,  The Science of Older & Wiser  in the NY Times for March 13, 2014. She quoted a psychologist, Ursula Staudinger, who described these qualities of wisdom.  Korkki provides lots of other insights on geezerhood (without calling it that).


  1. as far as I am concerned, wisdom is simply about banging your head against the wall for half a decade or more and then you actually finally know something or two if you are lucky

    • Dave, surely some reflection on these qualities of wisdom would show you more that 5 years of head banging.

      • actually I meant to say half a century..sorry bout that…half a decade would not quite do it even for a total saint like myself (HAH!)…and quite frankly, with the utmost of respect to your senior geezerhood compared to my fledgling entry into this stage of life, I believe that wisdom comes from holding of questions about life over time…I understand you to be talking about qualities of wisdom, which, YES, by all means worthy of reflection. For me, my primary sense of my gaining wisdom has only been recently at the tender age of 65…and nothing at all to boast about, but I feel like I can at least lay claim to some fragments. By the way, so good to hear from you…I was beginning to worry that you had left the planet of something…it is great you are contemplating a film!!! If you need any fledgling geezers with a few fragments of wisdom to act in the film, please keep me posted!!

  2. Welcome back Geezer. I will rely on your wisdom to advance me. I am not a fool who never learns, but one who prefers others to impart what they have found of life’s struggles so that I can then contemplate and compare.

  3. Thanks for your clarification. Actually you demonstrate several of my points. 1. Geezers often make unexpected mistakes (half a decade rather than half a century). 2. Often these mistakes reveal more than intended (you needed to enter geezerhood — be a fledgling geezer — before you beginn to notice wisdom). 3. Once you get out your adulthood cynicism, a bit of geezer wisdom emerges.Thanks. Good to hear from you.

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