Presumption’s Half-life

Presumption, according to Merriam-Webster

  • Shameless boldness
  • Something taken as being true or factual and used as a starting point for a course of action or reasoning

For 40 years I thought my mom was overreacting, overprotective, overcautious when she warned me at Christmas cookie season, "Now, Amy, always unplug the hand mixer before you put the beaters in or take them out."

As my fingers lay immobile between those delicate beaters last week, I both laughed and cried. Laughed at the realization of my hubris. Recognition of how many other pieces of advice I'd dismissed. And, crying for real - caused by the raw experience of being humbled to my core and at the real pain in my hand.

The wisdom of age is the recognition that what we're just now learning has already been learned. Each of us gets a lifetime to take the lessons and package them for the next generation.

And, isn't ironic that the younger we are, the more apt we are to believe those passing the lessons don't really know.

Yet, what giant steps we could take if each generation didn't need to begin all over again.

Half-life, according to Oxford Languages

  • The time required for any specified property (e.g. the concentration of a substance in the body) to decrease by half

What is the half-life of presumption for human beings? Is mid-life a turning point of wisdom? The moment where we make enough mistakes to realize that we don't, actually, know what is true anymore? And, we realize the foundation upon which we've built is quite flimsy.

Thus, mid-life is a renaissance not a crisis. Where, with a child's mind, we can look with wonder at the world.

Releasing the assumptions (and presumptions) and begin again.


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