Wisdom. Wisdom is a fading commodity. Very few people out there are genuinely wise. Knowledgeable? Sure. Possessing a level of expertise? Certainly. Bursting with semi-informed opinion? Absolutely (and they are willing to share it whether you want it or not—and don’t think for a minute that I don’t see myself in that particular mirror.) But ‘wise’ is a harder label to earn. I am definitely not wise. I’m far too lazy for wise. Wisdom takes a commitment and focus most of us will just never possess.
But NOT being wise hasn’t left me wandering the streets searching for guidance. Nope, my lack of wisdom has forced me to rely on being just plain sensible.
Sensible. I can get behind sensible. Sensible shoes. Sensible diets. Sensible government. Sensible sensibilities.
It’s actually liberating to let go and just trust your sensible instincts. It’s not like you’re going in blind. Your instincts are informed by your lifetime of experiences. You already know not to touch the hot stove. You already know actions have consequences. You already know life is more resilient than rigid.
Sensible is a perfectly good substitute for wise.
Of course that doesn’t stop us from seeking the perceived wisdom of others. In any given Google search or social media browsing session one can find validation, advice, and handy numbered how-to lists that help us navigate our days: Ten Easy Steps to perfect children, perfect relationships, perfect waistlines, perfect sentence structure, and perfectly perfect lives. Yes, all the wisdom in the world is at our fingertips.
Do we really believe wisdom and sage advice is going to come with a pop-up ad and a subscribe button?
Of course not, but relying on the wisdom of others instead of our own instincts feels safe. It feels less risky. Captain Kirk need not have bothered. We’re not interested in going where no man has gone before. We’d rather follow a path already forged with all the obstacles marked with big red flags.
The problem with all this collective wisdom and our obsession with it, is it forgets that we are living, breathing, evolving lifeforms. What is a wise path for one may be folly for another. All those ten point plans to happiness merely reflect the wisdom of the writer. Their rules worked for them–kept them safe, perhaps–but they are dispensable when they don’t fit with our own individual sensibilities. Let it go. Stop searching for your life.
What we really need is a wee bit of sensible anarchy. We need a little self-awareness and a whole lot of dismissal of the fear of doing something “wrong”. Sensible anarchy: the 21st version of wisdom.
Go forth and do whatever the hell feels right. Trust your sensible side.