you know you’re right.

I have a long history with being right. When I was a kid, I was right all the time. Knew the answers, knew why I knew the answers, knew what the next questions would be. Moving all the time meant I was always being given another series of placement tests, and I knew what those would be like, too.

I didn’t know everything, but I found a way to be right about what I did know.

One of the cruelest (and probably best) things about getting older is I find I’m not right as often. In fact, these days I’m usually wrong. I’ve found that my main tool for always being right — my memory — isn’t doing its job as well as it used to. I don’t think I’m getting dumber, I think I’m starting to understand how much more I just don’t know, and because there are all these things I don’t know, I can’t possibly be completely right about what I do know anymore. The bravado I needed to be sure and confident through my teens and twenties isn’t necessary right now. In fact, I seem to need to not know things in order to learn anything anymore. I have to enjoy being wrong.

Because I’m wrong a lot, I now really appreciate when I’m right. When I know I’m right, anyway. I can have a hunch I’m right, but when I’m right with facts and proof, it’s a pretty good feeling, as it doesn’t happen as often as it used to. Probably because I no longer spend much time taking math tests. Read more