This I Believe

Jackie - Greenland, New Hampshire
Entered on January 15, 2008
Age Group: 50 - 65

And I Quote…

By December, I was calling 2007 a “toilet” year. It was one of those years that served up a pig portion of pain, and I’m still in mourning. Being alone on Thanksgiving was difficult; what was Christmas going to be like?

In mid-December, I read a couple of lists of quotes for the year; every single one was distressing. Ew. That period is difficult enough; I didn’t appreciate the negative slant. So I made my own top-ten list. Nine of these quotes came from 2007 essays on the This I Believe site:

1. “Mistakes lead to discovery and that can produce delight, like cream of salt and pepper soup.”

Alice Brock (11/19/07)

2. “If we hold tightly to the view that people around us are as decent as ourselves, trying, like we are, to muddle honorably through life, it is harder to turn them into villains and to turn ourselves into creatures of irrational judgment.”

Ed Glaeser (11/05/07)

3. “Try to be happy within the context of the life we are actually living. Happiness is not a situation to be longed for or a convergence of lucky happenstance.”

Wayne Coyne (02/26/07)

4. “…choosing to keep my self-respect intact has made me unpopular and disliked at times, with no end to that in sight. But others’ being content with me is not nearly as important as my being content with myself.”

Kamaal Majeed (05/07/07)

5. “I believe in the nobility of Duncan’s loyalty, and his enthusiasm. Every time I come in the door, he’s waiting to greet me with glee.”

David Buetow (09/16/07)

6. “I love handwriting.”

T. Susan Chang (09/10/07)

7. “In my alternately formed body, I have learned lessons about patience, determination, frustration and success… I am my words, my ideas and my actions. I am filled with love, humor, ambition and intelligence.”

Lisa Sandin (08/13/07)

8. “I may feel the slight sting of isolation, but I’ll fight it off because I believe in the changes that my education has allowed me to make.”

Michael Oatman (06/10/07)

9. “I sense that it is not the State that has intrinsic value in the machinery of humankind, but rather the creative, feeling individual, the personality alone that creates the noble and sublime.”

Albert Einstein, read by Robert Krulwich (04/30/07)

I spent part of Christmas with these people, and with other contributors. It was a day of surprising serenity. As I wrote the essay, I wanted to explain why these quotes resonated with me. But half of my word count belonged to others, which presented a challenge for this windbag.

Then I realized that my personal details were superfluous. These people’s words soothed me as they identified me, and I felt connected to them; together, we made a beautiful day. The success was in planning it specifically for December 25.

I’d be foolish to flush 2007 away, wouldn’t I?

And finally, to quote myself, this I believe:

10. She who (deliberately) pursues happiness creates memories for the hard times.