“I have it all figured out.” – said no one, ever.
Up until about age twelve, I was pretty sure my parents had it all figured out. They managed to feed my sister and I, keep us clothed, pay for all our activities, have answers to most of our questions, and point us in the direction of right or wrong. Somewhere around age thirteen, I decided that my parents didn’t really know that much after all, and I was probably a better judge of situations that were safe, or reasonable – like walking along the greenbelt for miles at night with my best friends, or stealing a water bottle and filling it with vodka to go to a sleepover. By age fifteen, I was absolutely certain that my parents were complete idiots and I gave exactly two you-know-whats what they thought. I spent the next ten years showing them exactly how little regard I had for all the wisdom they had instilled in me. When I was twenty four and my dad was minutes from dying (at age 62), I hoped and prayed that he knew what his life was about, because it seemed to me that he still hadn’t figured it all out.
At twenty eight, I finally got the good sense to ask my Grandma about this topic. Born in 1925, she will turn ninety a few weeks from today. She’s witnessed multiple world wars, the Depression, man walking on the moon, the rise of the Internet, and the fall of human connection as we live in an ever-increasing digital world.
So I asked her: “Grandma, how old were you when you finally figured it all out?” I asked.
“Figured what out?” she responded.
“You know, life – why are we here, why do people act the way they do, why do we worry, all the questions.” I replied, sincere in my desire to glean some kernels of wisdom from this woman who had seen so much more than I.
“Well, my dear, I don’t think we ever really figure it out. But when you figure that out, then you start to see things as they are.”
There you have it. So whether you are five, fifteen, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, ninety, or three hundred years old… let it go.
Don’t try to figure it all out. Let the mystery of this life enchant you. Let the comedy of this life amuse you. And let the joy, gratitude, and wonder of this life be ever increasing. Don’t stress about figuring it all out. You’re not going to anyway.