As I grew older I thought it was hard to tell how much insight and growth of sensibleness (for want of a better word) was simply due to aging and how much, if any, was due to doing work on oneself. I used to think sometimes you might as well go with the flow, you’ll be pretty much just as wise as someone who has laboured at trying to improve themselves.
But age a bit more and you can see how relatively easy it is to go off course. Losing the path is one way of describing this. People generally get a bit wiser as the end game approaches. But without some kind of thought and reflection and effort the prospect of leaving this world gets more and more off putting. So we try and forget it. We do this by stabilising in this world, pretending to ourselves life is simpler than it is. When younger, maybe we accepted being off kilter a bit, put it down to being young. When older we say, hey, I need some certainty here! And older people are usually a bit better at living and know what they like and so the ability to stabilise on food, holidays, work, an obsessive hobby, children, your property- are all there, ready and waiting.
So this is where growing old and getting wiser part company. ‘Wisdom’ in this case simply means nudging yourself back on course, not getting freaked out by the end and not settling for earthly pleasures as the be all and end all.
But there is also the wrong headed notion that 'wisdom' is something you acquire like a new suit. Instead it must be more like removing things that get in the way of what you could have seen anytime if those obstacles hadn't been there. You're already wise- you just need to get rid of what might be stopping it.