Out of The Mouth of Babes

Humility is something we become well-acquainted with at midlife. Maybe it’s the first sign of wrinkling around our eyes, or the realization that we don’t move as fast on the tennis courts anymore. Or maybe the humbling happens the day we get our first AARP invitation in the mail.

The triggers are different for each of us, but there comes a time when we realize we are aging. Time is shrinking and we notice.

This can be a humbling time for many of us. But as the Tao Te Ching teaches, humility is a grace. When we see ourselves through new eyes and release old stories, even old ideas of who we once were, we paradoxically become wiser. That’s because we become teachable.

And at midlife, being teachable is an elixir. It’s the fountain of youth, the green juice that will keep you forever young and healthy.

So what do I mean by teachable?  I mean stretching your mind,  shuttering your ego and allowing people–particularly young people–to teach you new things.

For instance, I am fortunate to work around several spirited twenty-something year-olds who grew up in the can-do millenium, who speak technology like it’s their native tongue. Not so much for me.  I admit I’m a dinosaur when it comes to anything more than the basics of technology. And yet here I am, at midlife, setting up a wordpress website and teaching myself some of the basics of this technology so I can communicate my thoughts and share my work with the world.  My young friends have served as my guides and teachers here.


And twitter? Thanks to my young friend Natalie, I now know the value of a hashtag, and I understand the basics of this medium. I’m also able to recognize its beauty and potential to serve as a gateway to new information–each thread of discovery unravels another thread and another in an endless stream of knowledge. It’s exciting and humbling for me to think about how connected we all are, and what I might uncover.

And if I wasn’t willing to humble myself and ask someone nearly half my age to sit and be patient with me, my eyes wouldn’t have been opened to new teachers, new information, new technology.

So I say, become a student at midlife. Be humble and be willing to learn new things. Are there areas in your life where you can step out of your comfort zone, stretch a little, discover something new? Are you willing to become a student of life, to admit you don’t know? Are you willing to raise your hand and say to someone, or to the universe, Teach Me?

Be teachable and weave threads of new knowledge into your life. See what humility can create in your life.