I need some inspiring. Anyone else need some inspiring? The holiday season is over and I’m in full-blown OMG the wedding is coming mode. My dress is getting snug, work is piling up and now that winter has finally decided to descend upon Rochester, I’m starting to realize I’m going to have to develop a pretty thick skin and a whole lot of coping mechanisms to get through the stress that will inevitably ensue within the next six months. So what can I escape to that makes me happy in a constructive, won’t-get-in-the-way-of-my-other-goals sort of way? Quotes. Words of wisdom from great minds of the past, who somehow always know how to let themselves be found, just when the going gets tough. For Part Two of my three-part series on ringing in the new year and the new 28-year-old me, I resort again, to my father’s ever-effusive quote book — The Hip Pocket Book Guide to Offbeat Wisdom. (Here’s a link to Part One.)
So first things first. Let’s start with some Oscar Wilde, shall we? This famed writer once wrote, “Put your talent into your work, but your genius into your life.” Yes! I love that. Life is all about passion and it’s important to work hard, but it’s also important to recognize the difference between work and real life. It took me a good four or five years to fully understand how to separate my professional self from my personal self. I’d get home from work and couldn’t quite find the “off” switch. Luckily, Future Husband has encouraged me to leave my work self at the door and to value what’s really important — my life, my family, my friends, my experiences, my love, my passions and, well, me (Here’s a super early post, three months into the engagement, about my commitment to Me Time.)
As I’ve aged, I’ve learned so much about myself. I’m not quite who I was and I’m becoming more cognizant of who I am and who I’m becoming. It’s all about the process, right? A wise lady by the name of May L. Becker once said,“We grow neither better or worse as we get old, but more like ourselves.” I love going on family walks to Mt. Hope Cemetery (some hip Hipstomatic photos from a recent trip are here) and Highland Park (see inspired photos from last winter in the park here) with Vin and Future Husband. And what’s so great about that experience is that the more times I go, the more I feel at home. Because every experience has built up to that current one that I’m inhabiting. There’s something so nuanced and yet so familiar about revisiting old places and the same goes for revisiting old selves. The more I turn into the person I am, the more I understand who I once was. It’s pretty amazing, really. You just need to have the forethought to stop every once in awhile and take it all in.
Theoretically, hypothetically, technically and traditionally, age begets wisdom. As I’ve gained more experience in life, then, I should be more sure of myself and the decisions I make. My decision-making process is an intricate and complicated one, which leaves me in the Wegmans aisle, deciding between cereals for wayy longer than I should be. It’s a complicated quotient between price, value and nutritional information. I won’t get into it, but the point is, I’m not going to have time for wish-washy thinking in the coming months. The certifiable genius Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (whose house I floated by in Venice, which I’m sharing, just because) once said, “To think is easy. To act is hard. But the hardest thing in the world is to act in accordance with your thinking.” Well said, old chap, well said. At least I’m not the only one with decision fatigue. See why quotes make me feel better? They help me feel less alone in my idiosyncratic tendencies and my crazed philosophies. Ahh to be among the greats. One can dream, can’t she?
Our former-former-former…former to the Nth degree president once said, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” (Theodore Roosevelt) Roosevelt understood the importance of conserving the natural beauty in our nation and had the teddy bear named after him. A smart and cuddly guy indeed. And he’s totally right. One of the first steps in any task is to recognize the possibilities and the limitations. Actually, that’s right there in the marketing SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses/limitations, opportunities and threats). Work thought, right, never mind. See? It tends to sneak in there and get into my brain when I least expect it.
“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” (Martin Luther King, Jr.) If one of the greatest human activists of history recognized the fallacy in thinking we’ll always succeed, then we should all probably take the time to recognize this as well. It’s okay to be wrong. That’s something I think everyone needs to face and come to terms with. There are as many beliefs as there are believers, I think, and something about putting the little things into perspective by looking at the bigger picture does a body good. So this year, I hope to remember not to sweat it if things don’t go according to plan and to remember that nothing is ever perfect. And to be honest, who wants a perfect wedding? Marriage is supposed to be about experiencing the best and worst in life together. If we made it to the altar without any bumps along the road, I’d be a little more suspicious and skeptical of what the future might hold. We all need battle scars because with those, come a reason to hope for a brighter tomorrow (also known as the honeymoon ;) )
Which brings me to my next point: The honeymoon vacay is definitely something to look forward to. Warm Caribbean weather on a tropical island? Yes, please. When I think of St. Barth, I’m reminded of the words I may or may not have just looked up by William Winter, who clearly did not know the meaning of tropical weather (hence the name Winter): “As much of heaven is visible as we have eyes to see.” My dad has always said that St. Barth was the closest thing to heaven. He’s right, but we can find a little piece of heaven in the amazing feats we’ll accomplish together along the way. We can find heaven in the bonds we’ll strengthen with others, the opportunity to scour Pinterest, Style Me Pretty, Ruffled and Green Wedding shoes for beautiful imagery to inspire and the little luxuries along the way. (I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t even be thinking about splurging on getting my hair did unless this was a once-in-a-lifetime occasion. We have a chance to see heaven in every step along the way in this whole experience, really. And at its culmination, Future Husband and I will stand there at the altar, look into each other’s eyes and see heaven in one another.
Since we’re talking love, why not turn to the thoughts of one of the earliest literary and pedantic promoters of love, art, philosophy and other heavenly pursuits. Plato wrote, “Love is the pursuit of the whole.” In Jimmy, I’ve truly found the yin to my yang. We’re very different and yet somehow, we fit together. We console and comfort and challenge and appreciate one another in just the right ways. Over the past eight years, he really has become my other half, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
“To love someone is to see a miracle invisible to others.” (Francois Mauriac) – When Future Husband and I are vegging out at the end of the day, I’ll often find myself looking over at him in complete and utter adoration. It’s almost like a see a halo above his head. Love isn’t about absolving one another from all of our mistakes and faults. It’s about seeing our imperfections, accepting them and moving past it. I don’t think you can truly love someone until they’re aired all of their dirty laundry. Otherwise, you’re just dealing with a false preconception of who your “loved one” really is. I’m so grateful that Future Husband, my friends (see my five-year college reunion post for more on this) and my family know exactly who I am, quirks and all (see more on that from a Thanksgiving post here).
The great writer of the distopian Brave New World wrote, “Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted.” (Aldous Huxley) I couldn’t agree more. Try as I may to repay the good deeds done on my behalf and the incredible support we’ve already received from family and friends, I will never fully be able to express my appreciation for the life I’ve been given and, more importantly, for the people who have become such an integral part to who I am, and who I’m becoming. Here I am, right now, frustrated and intimidated by all the obstacles on the horizon and unaware of how lucky and fortunate I really am. (If you’re feeling the guilt I’m feeling right now, you might want to check out my holiday post on charitable giving. I’m probably going to have to reissue a Kiva donation momentarily)
“Put your heart, mind, intellect and soul even to your smallest acts. This is the secret of success.” (Sri Swami Sivananda) Well dear friends, I’m afraid I’ve been rambling on for far too long to wrap up my 28 quotes from a new 28-year-old in just two posts. I’ll have to continue with this another day and another time. But my hope is that you might as much satisfaction, fulfillment and inspiration here to move forward with your daily tasks and to recognize that when you make yourself care and really commit to being great, you’ve taken the first step toward achieving your full potential.
The last quote I’ll leave you with is this. Despite the daunting and massively anxiety-producing road I have ahead of me in the next five months, I know that it will be well worth it. I hope that I come out stronger, bolder and a little more aware of who I am and who I have the ability to be. Remember the words of Arthur F. Lenehem: “Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb. That’s where the fruit is.” Quotes really are incredible, aren’t they?