Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

'Trick' of Getting Older Is No Guarantee of Wisdom

Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

'Trick' of Getting Older Is No Guarantee of Wisdom

Article excerpt

FOOLISHLY, I've just Googled the phrase "older and wiser".

I got 687,000 hits, including the University of Queensland's Australasian Centre for Ageing. There were also plenty of invitations to meet older women and various back pain cures. Whether the need for the latter relates to the former is not clear.

This search was prompted by my recent mastery of something that, when younger and therefore supposedly more foolish, I never achieved.

I've recently learned how to tie a Windsor knot.

Despite countless years of whacking on a tie with the suit, I'd never got the hang of it. Not coming originally from the tie-wearing classes, a nice symmetrical knot was something only achievable by army officers and posh people on trains going into London.

Now I've mastered it and I find myself looking for every opportunity to show off my skill irrespective of the occasion or the temperature.

Although you are supposed to get wiser as you get older there are times when you doubt it.

A few weeks ago, for example, I was giving a little talk to year 12 girls at Glennie.

We were exploring whether Australia really is the greatest country in the world, for reasons that are not at all clear in retrospect.

These young people have a wisdom way beyond what blokes of my age could have demonstrated at their age.

So, very confused, I've reviewed a few other things that I've learned simply by the under-hand trick of getting older.

I've developed an ability to talk to any audience for any specified length of time between one minute and one hour on any subject, irrespective of my level of knowledge less than one day before the event.

This is not necessarily a good thing but, you must admit, it's a bit of a gift.

I've also become adept at spilling spaghetti down my shirt front, irrespective of venue, occasion or company. …

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