11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
12 For now we see as in a mirror darkly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I too am known.
I’m not usually big on quoting the bible, but sometimes — and this is one of those times — no place says it better.
I was an “old” child. When I was very young, I talked like a much older person. I read “adult person” literature and thought of myself as very mature. I wasn’t. I was intellectually precocious, but still a child. Who used big words and almost understood many adult things.
Almost. There are a whole lot of things that simply don’t make sense until you’ve lived a life. Reading about life isn’t living it. A child, no matter how smart, is never more mature than his or her years and experience. That’s perspective.
Perspective isn’t static. At 10, you see things through 10-year-old eyes. As years and decades roll on, you see the same things differently, sometimes extremely so. Perhaps you really do see through a glass darkly. Or you should. If decades of living don’t change your perspective, something is wrong — with you or the life you’ve lived. We are supposed to change. The only things that don’t change are dead.
I hear people my age or even younger saying “Well, that’s the way I am. I’m not going to change.”
There’s a terrible finality in that statement. A sad finality, like a eulogy for “self.”
Someday, I’ll be too old or sick for change. The end comes to everyone. But until then, I hope my perspective keeps changing. I hope I revise my opinions often and contradict myself frequently.