The old saying goes that "age brings wisdom." I don’t know who made this old saying, but they were clearly trying to shut up some “meddlesome kids.”
Older does not mean wiser, I find. We can just look to our 71-year old President to see a glaring example of that. No, I feel that older means…older. You’ve lived on this planet for a large number of orbits. Congratulations, have a cupcake.
Time does not make you wiser, but experience does. I find that life is very much like an RPG. Experience equals leveling up, and experience makes you wiser.
Experience of course, is higher depending on the difficulty you face, whether it be a dragon or deciding to move across the country to New York to pursue your dream of becoming a professional mime. Whatever it is, if you face the difficulty and survive, you learn something.
Further, the farther out of your comfort zone you go, the more skills you will acquire. For instance, if I were to take up any sort of recreational physical exercise. That would be a huge leap for me, and I would gain more experience points in doing that. Also I would probably go a few more orbits.
A lot of people though, just don’t change things up. They stick to one thing, one routine, over and over and never face anything difficult. They keep killing rabbits in the town they start off in, spend coin in the tavern, and sleep at the inn. They gain a little experience but don’t level up as much. This is very standard for a lot of people it’s routine. It’s comforting. You don’t get a lot of XP though.
Wealth makes a lot of difference too - if you are born into it, it’s like having cheat codes, or a DM you happen to sleep with. You can continue to make critical failures and not have them doom you because you always have the ability for a do-over. Lots of rich people in this country like to say they are rich because they are smarter and harder working. Sometimes, this is indeed the case and those people really are impressive. Lots of times though, people are just born rich, and have no incentive to level their character. Why face dragons when someone else can slay them for you?
Taking the difficult path, saying “yes” to a quest that’s given, risking some serious damage, gets you experience. Lessons to be learned. You get better at tackling higher-level creatures. It’s not an immediate process; you don’t go immediately from kobolds to beholders, but you will. You will grow, you will level up. You will be wiser.
Yes, maybe you’ll die, but all characters die eventually. Might as well make it a good story. That all depends on whether you decide to go down the path that leads to another tavern, or the dark and foreboding cave with the pile of skulls near the entrance. Roll the D20.