“There is no evidence that we’ve been placed on this planet to be especially happy or especially normal. And in fact our unhappiness and our strangeness, our anxieties and compulsions, those least fashionable aspects of our personalities, are often what lead us to do rather interesting things.” ~ Jon Ronson
Archive for the ‘Quotes and Sayingss’ Category
It’s no secret that I love quotes. A few wise words strung together can make a difference in someone’s day, or reinforce a private notion that a person has been afraid to admit s/he had. I cannot promise that all the quotes I pass along are credited to the right person, however. Since the Internet is one big game of Whisper Down the Lane, the origins of the quote or even the words themselves easily get lost. Evidence of my own misquoting exists here.
On Wednesday, Brian Morton wrote a spot-on op-ed piece for the NY Times called Falser Words Were Never Spoken . He examines how quotes get twisted, turned and, often, attributed to the wrong person.
For the most part, this isn’t a crime—or even a misdemeanor. If you like the quote, enjoy. On any given day, on any given blog, it probably doesn’t matter where it came from. There are other cases, however—when writing a book, academic paper, giving a speech, or erecting a memorial to someone—when you’ll want to get it right. Yesterday, Maya Angelou made her frustration known with having a Martin Luther King Jr. quote altered on his memorial. This is a case where one word altered the whole meaning of a sentence, and it’s sad that Martin Luther King Jr. (!) wasn’t quoted verbatim.
“Someday after we have mastered the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of Love. Then for the second time in history of the world, man will have discovered fire.”
~ Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
“For last year’s words belong to last year’s language and next year’s words await another voice.”
~ T. S. Eliot
On my daily virtual visit to the NYTimes, I came across an article about Olympic gold medalist Bryan Clay (decathlete). Bryan was a champion in Beijing but did not return home to the fanfare or endorsement deals awaiting Michael Phelps. To be fair, most Olympic athletes didn’t, but to quote the Times, “The decathlon was once a star-making event of the Olympics.”
As far as I’m concerned, this falls in line with the actors who win Oscars out of the gate and never go on to be well known or talented musicians who write their own music and lyrics but never end up on the charts. Meanwhile they (we) have to sit back and watch talentless (read: no skills) people rise to the top based on nothing but a name or a reality TV show gig.
I was complaining to a friend about Britney Spears the other day—saying something along the lines of: “She’s cute and she can dance but she doesn’t write her own songs, sing live, have a stellar voice,” or any of the other things that usually accompany a great musical talent. Later that day, I ended up at Barnes and Noble flipping through a coffee-table book about Marilyn Monroe. I could look at photos of that woman forever—she’s so captivating. Suddenly, I realize that she’s strikingly similar to Britney. She’s wasn’t a great actress by any stretch nor did she do anything that contributed to the betterment of the national or global community, but we love her. We’re forever taken with her. What is that? It’s not fair? But it is now and perhaps always will be the case.
Bryan has a good attitude. He knows it’s not fair, but he doesn’t complain. He recognizes his hardship and moves forward—taking satisfaction and pleasure from his home life. He reminds me of a lyric line in the Fiona Apple song “Extraordinary Machine”:
~ “I still only travel by foot and by foot it’s a slow climb, but I’m good at being uncomfortable so I can’t stop changing all the time.” ~
I imagine humility, insight, and change don’t come so easily to the people who get what they want right away, but they suffer in different ways. A la Miss Spears and Miss Monroe.
“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow men—true nobility lies in being superior to your former self.”
~ Hindu Proverb
I came across this quote on someone’s Facebook page the other day, and I quickly added it to my page because I liked it so much. It really amplifies a part of myself that I would very much like to change—the part that is constantly comparing herself to others.
I am due to turn thirty in September, and looking back on my twenties, I’m very happy with the progress I’ve made as a person. My self-confidence has increased 100 fold. I stopped being afraid to share my personal opinions. I learned when and how to walk away from someone was wasn’t treating me well. And I figured out what a pointless emotion jealousy is (I plan to blog/elaborate on this in the next few days). Now I’m looking forward to the next decade and trying to figure out what improvements I’d like to make. There are many. First up: I aspire to stop comparing myself to other people in any and every capacity. It’s so hard! It’s such a human thing to do! We naturally allow ourselves to feel bad in the presence of someone who we think is better / has it better than we do AND (more tragically) we take occasional pleasure in other people’s misfortune so we can feel better about our own situations.
I know that this won’t work if you (um, me) do it half-heartedly. In other words, you can stop thinking other people are better than you but still go around thinking that your better than others. That only means you’re telling yourself that you’re better (you really aren’t) in order to make yourself feel good. Tis better to love yourself genuinely and learn to lift yourself up naturally, rather than thrive on the discomfort of others.
The key to doing this (I think) is accepting that I am a unique individual as is everyone else. No one else can be me, and I can’t be anyone else—so why bother trying! We are all separate but equal stars in the sky. No two people have the same finger prints, and I believe that’s God’s little yet constant reminder that we are all designed differently on purpose. The only person I should worry about improving is myself. I’m not sure if this is possible or how long it’ll take, but I’m willing to try. I’ll get back to you when I’m 39 =)
“Civilization is a limitless multiplication of unnecessary necessities.”
~ Mark Twain