What are your favorite words of wit and wisdom?


Some expressions, however overused, can help us get through tough times and appreciate the good ones.  I love finding aphorisms even more than spotting shooting stars.

My girlfriend Pat Barnett shares messages and photos that often cause me to nod and whisper: Yeah.  Pat’s recent email introduced Jeanne Louise Calmet, who lived to be 122.  Calmet’s profile concludes with some wise and witty statements.  “Being young is a state of mind.  It doesn’t depend on one’s body.  I’m actually still a young girl; it’s just that I haven’t looked so good for the past 70 years.”  And this: “I’ve been forgotten by our good Lord.”  And this: “If you can’t change something, don’t worry about it.”

The email inspired me to start my own list of hard won wisdom.  I’ve just begun.  I hope to have dozens of entries before long…

  1. Extend the benefit of a doubt. Rose colored glasses may go in and out of fashion, but they’ll always brighten your attitude.
  2. We have two hands for a reason. There are two sides to every story.  On the one hand.  On the other.  Consider both.
  3. Take advantage of every opportunity. And every bathroom.  My motto:  Carpe Pee-em.  Seize the Toilet.
  4. Be prepared. See #4.   The road not taken can be full of potholes… or barren of bathrooms.
  5. Practice moderation. Especially if you never want to have to give up alcohol.
  6. Forgiveness may not change the past, but it does improve the future.*
  7. Acknowledge a courteous driver. A grateful wave takes a millisecond.
  8. If someone ignores you or acts rude, he or she’s probably having a bad day.  It’s not about you.
  9. Healthy bodies aren’t just a matter of luck. Drink water.  Work out.
  10. Don’t do something you may regret in 10 minutes or 10 years. I don’t like gilt on my chandeliers or my conscience.

Years ago someone recommended jotting down meaningful things I read or hear in a notebook called “Keepers.”  I’ve done so, though not with as much discipline as I wish I had.  Here are a couple from my Keepers book:

“I find it harder and harder every day to live up to my blue china.”  Oscar Wilde

“There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly.”  Buckminster Fuller

“The deepest principle of human nature is the craving to be appreciated.”  William James

I also record Keepers expressed by friends or family.  Lindsay, our gregarious granddaughter, can talk on the phone for hours.  One night as Burton and I tried to conclude a long conversation, our then 5 year old said,  “Let’s chat about your lifestyle.”

My recommendation: start your own words of wit and wisdom list.   Your offspring will appreciate it.  And while you’re at it, please share your list with me.   I can’t wait to hear from you.

*Paul Boese owned and ran a Dairy Queen in Newton, KS and wrote inspirational quotes.  The “Forgiveness” quote was first published in Quote magazine.

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16 thoughts on “What are your favorite words of wit and wisdom?

  1. Suzy Farbman Post author

    More comments on Facebook. This is fun! I sure have a lot of wise FBFs (FB Friends)!
    RENEE HAMAD; What you see is not necessarily what you get.
    GRETCHEN RUFF: Once your children marry, never criticize or give advice unless asked. (Ed. note: Amen!)
    SHERI TEREBELO SCHIFF: Old Yiddish saying: The girl who can’t dance complains that the musicians can’t play. As dos maidyl ken nit tantsen, zogt zi az di klezmer kinen nit shpilin. (Ed. note: Wow!)
    LESLIE SLATKIN: Your kids are not your friends.
    SHIRLEY SHAGRIN: “You should only have a daughter who talks to you like you talk to me!” Well, I got one!!!
    MARILYN CONNOR: If you lose something or it gets stolen, forget it. It’s just a thing.

  2. Suzy Farbman Post author

    More comments on Facebook
    LASHELLE VANHOUTEN: Take one day, one moment, one second at a time and most importantly, be present. This got me through many things in life including graduate school, writing a book and now raising our grandson. While writing the book, it was one scene, one sentence, one word at a time.
    LINDA EDER ROSS: My mom is going to be 100 and is the wisest, sharpest person I know. “We make plans and God laughs.”
    PAT BARNETT: What goes around comes around.
    CORA TRUSHEL: Haste makes waste.
    CARMEN ADAMS: “Bingo!” My mom’s favorite, and spoken to the five of us often.

  3. Suzy Farbman Post author

    Additional comments on Facebook
    NORINE ZIMMER: Rainbows come and go.
    KATHY HOROWITZ: You don’t have to like it; you just have to eat it.
    DALE RANDS: If you go in like a pig, you’re likely to come out a sausage.

  4. Suzy Farbman Post author

    I love all your comments. So much insight out there. Please keep sending.

  5. Suzy Farbman Post author

    Additional comments on Facebook
    CAROL RODGERS GOVE: Pretty is as pretty does.’
    NELLE SALTZMAN MILLER: “You can’t paste it on later.”
    MELISSA STERN MELTZER: Rich people plan for generations and poor people plan for Friday night.

  6. Suzy Farbman Post author

    Additional comments on Facebook
    TIM JONES: Dad taught me to steer a car before I could reach the pedals. He said the secret was to look down the road as far as you can see at what was coming, never up close. Kind of still works for me.
    DEBORAH GOLDMAN: One door closes and another opens.
    LAURA VAN WIEREN PROCTOR: “There’s never a wrong way to do the right thing.” My mom passed suddenly at age 50. So many things I wish I had told her and so many questions I wish I had asked.

  7. Suzy Farbman Post author

    Additional comments on Facebook
    ELAINE GREENBERG: My mother loved to eat. She’d take a bite out of the main dish, side dish or yummy dessert, and she would roll it around in her mouth so it would last longer. She’d get this satisfied look on her face and say, “Mmmmmm. Couldn’t poison yourself!”
    MARIS HARRINGTON: When in Rome…
    MARIS HARRINGTON; L’habit fait le moine. (Translation: You can judge a book by its cover. Clothes make the man.)

  8. Suzy Farbman Post author

    Additional comments on Facebook
    DIANE MAHAN: “You get more with honey than with vinegar” was heard quite often in my home growing up. From my Irish side, an art form worth mastering: telling someone “Go to hell and look forward to the journey.
    MARY LOUISE WEED: As I always told my kids…Life is not fair.
    JAN ROUSSEAUX-RAMSEY: My missionary mother always managed to make a pretty house–even when we lived in a place made out of mud. She wisely advised me to “Do the best with what you have.”

  9. Suzy Farbman Post author

    additional comments on Facebook
    LYNN BUEHLER: Tomorrow is another day
    KAREN RAFF: “The secret of life is to have a task, something you devote your whole life to, every minute of the day for the rest of your life. And the most important thing is, it must be something you cannot possibly do.”
    (Karen, this reminds me of a film I recently saw, “Final Portrait,” about Alberto Giacometti. He never thought his work was good enough.)

  10. Suzy Farbman Post author

    Additional comments on Facebook
    BARBARA HILLMAN: All’s well that ends well. This TOO shall pass. (My mother’s words.)
    JANE RUBENSTEIN REGAN: When something good happened, my mom would say, “Hot spit!” Now I say it all the time.
    JUDY VERONA: If you are thinking a compliment… express it!

  11. Suzy Farbman Post author

    As added on Facebook…
    SHARON HAGGARD: How about Love Conquers All
    SHARON HAGGARD: Beauty is only skin deep. Of course whoever said that didn’t work for Estee Lauder.
    KATHLEEN JONES: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
    KATHRYN HOWELL: Hugs are better than hits. (from a mom friend)
    JUDY DIEBOLT: “The difference between a good dinner party and a great dinner party is adding about 30 minutes to the cocktail party.” Mary Lou Diebolt (1923-2017)

    1. Suzy Farbman Post author

      Thanks, all. Some wise thoughts here. I’d have loved to be a guest at one of Mary Lou Diebolt’s parties!

  12. Suzy Farbman Post author

    Bonnie VanOverbeke’s mother Bea Buskirk:
    Nothing good happens after midnight.

    1. Suzy Farbman Post author

      A mother’s reaction, for sure. I imagine that thought has occurred to every mother out there more than once. Thanks for sharing, Bonnie.

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