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