Old enough to know a lot, but young enough to ask questions anyway

A close friend always has witty comebacks to nearly everything that I ask her. There is always a host of snarky replies lying in wait to be used whenever the opportunity presents itself.

One day, an unwitting soul asked her how old she was and she said,

"I'm only enough to know better but young enough to do dumb things anyway".

This answer got a few laughs from the crowd and she cleverly evaded revealing her age to a stranger.

I've always liked this one liner.

It is funny and it can be used at any age.

It also suggests a fluidity to the process of growing up.

A fluidity that we often take for granted.

Growing and indeed learning are not linear processes. No wonder the phrase, 'learn, unlearn and relearn' is so popular. The problem with growing older is that it's easy to think we've gotten somewhere in life and that we should know the answers to the difficult questions.

As if 'not knowing' somehow makes us weak. And we'd rather pretend to know the answer than admit we have no idea. But the issue with pretending is that we'll never learn the answer if we pretend to know already. Thus our chances of really growing are limited with this attitude.

Isn't is easier to be in a state where you have learnt a whole lot about life but you're still cognisant of how much you don't know? A state where you're open to letting new ideas in so you can become even better than you are currently.

Old enough to know a lot but young enough to ask questions anyway.

The idea is to always remember that there is something that every single person you meet can teach you, no matter how young or old.

And to never insulate yourself with so much ego that wisdom can't penetrate through you.

It's easier to say the words, "I don't know the answer to that" when we're younger, it's unfortunate that we forget to say this as we get older just because we're worried about how we'll be perceived.

Almost universally, the kind of performance we give on social media is positive. It’s more “Let me tell you how well things are going. Look how great I am.” It’s rarely the truth: “I’m scared. I’m struggling. I don’t know.” - Ryan Holiday

Don’t be afraid of saying, "I don’t know".

Never become so old that you:

  • Can’t stand criticism
  • Can't stand failure
  • Can't stand looking stupid
  • Can't ask for help
  • Can't admit what you're bad at

For your own sake, stay young, stay fluid and open. That's the only way to keep growing.

Author of 'How to be a Lighthouse'. I write for those pursuing excellence and meaning.

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