Wisdom begins in wonder
Wonder is one of those words that mean many things. Whether it’s thinking or speculating about something in a curious way, or to be filled with amazement and a sense of awe. Everybody probably has some kind of sentiment to the word wonder. Socrates put it so eloquently in the phrase ‘wisdom begins in wonder.’ This phrase is one of my favourite quotes and a mantra to me as well.
I’ve always been a curious person. Superficial chit chat often leaves me uncomfortable or stuck for words. I need to know how things work, why things are the way they are, what makes people tick. I studied because I wanted to learn, better myself and do justice to my eager brain. Even though I chose wrong with my first studies (the profession didn’t suit me) it wasn’t wasted time. I learnt a lot and I made wonderful friends that I’m still friends with today (20 years this year!).
Learning and striving for more is amazing, but it doesn’t always do wonders. After finishing my second studies, I’d gotten a job where I learnt a lot but also lost my sense of wonder. In the years that I worked there, my flame was fading and I was burning out. I didn’t believe anymore that I could achieve more. I thought that striving for more only left me more disillusioned every time. I found myself in the grinder, the rat race, and bills needed to be paid. And there’s the silver lining: a new colleague in that job at the time, gave me the proverbial kick in the butt. I started hoping again, wondering again, fighting again, and believing that I could do more, be more. I managed to get another job and I’m since then in another job, my current one, which I absolutely love. I’ve never worked so hard in my life and it’s definitely challenging, but I can learn again, grow, strive. I sometimes have to pinch myself to see if I’m not dreaming, and I feel a sense of ‘giddy’ every time I step into the office building. Apart from being grateful, I have my sense of wonder back, and my flame is brighter than it’s ever been.
For me, life has never been about status and having the biggest house/car/etc. For me, life’s about being your authentic self and doing justice to who you are as a person, warts and all. Apart from the gift that is caring less about what other people think as you grow older, opening up your mind to new adventures feels amazing! So travelling has helped me find my sense of wonder again. Travelling enriches me so much. And I’m not just talking about nature, I’m also talking about the people. I love cracking open my ‘frame of reference’ every once in a while to create -and to keep- space for that sense of wonder. I want to be in awe of what life has to offer.
Wonder makes life so much more beautiful for me. It keeps me on my toes, it keeps me curious about what’s out there, how the world works. It’s not about everything being perfect and letting your happiness depend on that. Being happy doesn’t mean everything has to be perfect anyways. It simply means you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections. Am I leading my absolute dream life? No, I’m not. Does this make me sad and unmotivated? No, it doesn’t.
Because of my sense of wonder, I learn and grow. My wisdom, my two cents, comes from wondering. Wonder for me means keeping my flame bright and strong. Wonder is about finding a balance between not settling for anything less and deciding when something is good enough. Wonder means keeping an open mind, not burdening myself or someone else with preconceptions that serve no purpose. Wonder for me means having a positive outlook on life and navigating the world as you go. Wonder means having hopes and dreams without getting too fixated on things you can’t change. Wonder means living my best life, with my curious brain.
For me, wisdom begins in wonder.