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I recently turned 50 years old. That’s right, I made it. Now that I’ve reached AARP eligibility, I feel I’ve earned the gravitas to espouse the old adage, exclusively disseminated by old people, that with age comes a practical wisdom that no amount of genius, schooling or Googling can provide. If you think that statement is bullshit, this is going to infuriate you, I’m afraid you’re just not old enough yet to appreciate it.

That wisdom comes bundled with newfound
confidence that, at first, seems dubious, particularly if the first
five decades of your life had been accompanied by wavering confidence
at the best of times. Initially, one doubts these foreign feelings of
confidence. After all, you’ve been so wrong so often about so many
things that one lives in fear that any manifestation of confidence
will be quickly, sometimes publicly, revealed to be foolishness.
Again.

There was that time, for example,
during my nomadic travels that I told, promised even, dozens of
people in 20-odd countries that there was no way that
(illegitimate) President Bush would be re-elected – or simply
“elected,” if we’re being
totally accurate – in 2004. And who can forget the time I predicted
that the U.S., by its own hand, would become an insular, economically
tenuous, socially chaotic “plague
state?” Whoops, never mind. That’s still a strong possibility.

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