Here it is, nearly the end of 2017. And here I am, at 75½. Wow!

That seems old, but I don’t feel old. I feel alive — that’s good. I feel healthy — that’s really good. And I believe there is still a bit of adventure ahead for me — is that being too optimistic?

I’ve had a good life. Certainly not perfect; perhaps would change a few participants. Yet I must admit they provided some of my greatest lessons. In all humility, I think perhaps these multiple decades of learning have offered me some wisdom.

I’ve learned that living in fear prevents the seed of love from blooming.

I’ve learned that living a life of integrity is severely limited when bound by a thickly constructed wall of rules produced and directed by the male sector of society.

I’ve learned that I must be honest with myself before I can ever live with integrity before others.

I’ve learned that intelligence comes from thinking critically — asking how my opinions/attitudes affect all members of society.

I’ve learned that in order to raise an intelligent society, we must teach our children to think, to dream, and to believe in themselves.

I’ve learned about privilege. One, I’m white. Two, I’m educated. Three, I have the right to tell you to go to hell if I choose and won’t land in jail — as in other less-privileged-for-women countries.

I’ve learned about gratitude. “Happiness is not the absence of problems. It’s the ability to deal with them.” (Steve Maraboli) I rarely appreciate my problems in the present. But in retrospect, I am grateful for what I’ve learned from them.

Perhaps my most important lessons: I learned yesterday. I am learning today. I will learn tomorrow. Because there is still so much to know.

Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers.

— Alfred Lord Tennyson

— Mary Jenny-Saltmarsh lives in Medford.