“I’m not interested in age…”

“I’m not interested in age. People who tell me their age are silly. You’re as old as you feel.”

-Elizabeth Arden

I chose to share this quote from Elizabeth Arden because I couldn’t help but reflect a bit about my own age today…  

My (much!) younger cousin is beginning as a freshman at Rutgers University this fall.  I am so excited that he is going there because (well, I graduated from there, and) it is a great school!  I was thrilled to take him around campus today and show him where his classes will be, where the libraries are, how the bus routes and schedules run, and other things like some good places to eat, get his hair cut, shop, and see plays (though I don’t think he was too interested in the last two).   We also bought his textbooks while we were there and visited his residence hall.  We covered a lot in a short amount of time!  I think he was a little overwhelmed by it all, but I know he will do great there and in a few months he will probably have a ton of things to tell me about and show me on campus!

It has been many years since I was a student at Rutgers and many, many years since I was in my cousin’s shoes and just starting there.  It brought back a lot of memories for me!  It was funny though, because rather than feel how many years have passed since then or how long ago it was, I couldn’t help but relive all of those wonderful memories and feel how magical a time it was (even if I admittedly didn’t entirely appreciate it then).  I didn’t feel older walking around the campus with him at all today, I actually felt younger!

This brings me back to today’s quote because on three (yes, three) separate occasions while I was with my cousin and my aunt, people thought that I (not he) was the new student!  At two different bookstores and the residence hall, the people there addressed me as the new student.  I couldn’t help but get such a kick out of it!  I think because I felt  so“young” people saw me that way.  It made my day and just goes to show you that you really are only as old as you feel.  (I doubt that I would be mistaken for a college student on a regular basis, but maybe now I won’t hesitate to show my college ID at the movies and save the dollar or so on the ticket price… 🙂 )

It breaks my heart whenever I hear people say that they are “too old” for something or that things (usually the most fun things) should be left to people who are younger.  Who says?  And, better yet – who cares?  I think that as a society we are so concerned with avoiding old age, that we miss out on our youth and then don’t learn how to appreciate each stage of our lives while we are in them. Each year is part of our journey.  Each year is necessary, and as most things that move sequentially go, we save the best for last.  Think fondly of the years that you have already lived, and enjoy the one you are living now!

I will end this post with another quotation that you may have already heard before:

“How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were?”  

-Satchel Paige

Now, think about how you would honestly answer that question and post a comment to let us know!  

~Melissa 🙂

“It seems to me that people…”

“It seems to me that people have vast potential.  Most people can do extraordinary things if they have the confidence or take the risks.  Yet most people don’t.  They sit in front of the telly and treat life as if it goes on forever.”

– Philip Adams

How true!  As a teacher, perhaps I am trained to appreciate potential differently from non-teachers.  I’m not entirely sure about that, but I do know that I see vast amounts of potential in my students, as well as my friends and family all of the time.  It is wonderfully inspiring to see so much potential and fascinates me on a daily basis just how talented, creative, and passionate people can be, but what exasperates me to no end is that so much of this potential is untapped.  

This quote definitely hits the nail on the head and addresses that confidence is often the missing factor.  (And, I think that I especially liked this quote because it is also quite profound in stating that no one builds confidence by watching television…a big pet peeve of mine.)  

For me, this blog has been a risk.  I had no idea exactly what I was doing when I started it nearly a month ago.  To be honest, I’m not even sure where the confidence to do it came from.  Writing has always been something that came somewhat easily to me and when I see others who struggle with it, I want to help.  I love to share what I write and the idea of writing professionally has always been a goal that I would like to achieve “someday.”  But, as the quote reminds us, life does not go on forever.  One day, you just have to decide that it is your “someday.”  You have to have the confidence to make it happen.

Submitting my work for publication is a risk and requires tons and tons of confidence.  But, the magic of it all is that once you get going, once you find out how to believe in yourself, the confidence builds.  If you focus on what you want your outcome to be and remind yourself of it over and over, you can make anything happen. 

As with anything in life, the key to remember is that there has to be a balance.  The apprehension, the nervousness, and the uncertainty about what you are willing to risk or venture are all necessary and shouldn’t be lost or overshadowed by too much confidence. Those feelings of humility and modesty are what make us stay on track and stay focused on what is truly important to us.  If we don’t have some fear, some rejection, or some disappointment along our journeys, then the we won’t really appreciate our destination when we reach our potential.  People who are too sure of themselves, arrogant, or cocky may become well known and may have many accomplishments to their name, but they are not the people who we would consider extraordinary.  Be extraordinary.

Choose to do something today that feels risky, but is important. Come back and share your story.  I believe in you.

~Melissa 🙂

“Experience is what you get…”

Experience is what you get when you don’t get what you want.

Dan Stanford

Got that?  I know that you may be very busy wallowing in your own self-pity or reliving that disappointment over and over again in your mind, and in your heart (and I am certainly talking to myself on this one as well), but there is no reason to.  Stop right now!  

Even though you didn’t get what you wanted, you got SOMETHING.  Granted, it may not seem like very much, you may want to toss it out of the window (figuratively), and you would gladly give it away to the first person who would take it (literally), but it’s yours.  Like it or not.  

Every broken heart, closed door, missed opportunity, disappointing news, application denied, offer rejected, broken promise, and so on that we encounter in our lives is there for a reason.  Each of these heartaches is a chance to learn, to build character, to grow as a person, and to heal.  Though extremely painful, they are each equally as important as the good things, and actually help to make us appreciate the good things even more.  Focus on those good things!  Find the good things in your life and focus on all that you have, even if it is not what you want.  I know that it is hard (believe me, I know it is hard!), but it is the only way.  If you are so focused on the “what you wanted” you may miss out on new opportunities you could create, or what else may come your way on its own.

A recent situation that helped me to somewhat frame a (much larger, much more difficult, and very painful) current disappointment came from something that happened a few years ago.  I had made a custom piece of jewelry and it came out really great!  I was so excited with how perfect the bracelet was – exactly what the customer ordered – and wanted them to see it right away, that I sent it to them before I took a photo of it for my portfolio.  It was a really beautiful bracelet and I just could never recreate it exactly, though I certainly tried.  I was so disappointed with myself for having forgotten to take the picture.  Though I didn’t have the picture (what I wanted), I gained the “experience” of learning from my mistake and never making the same mistake again.  I take pictures of everything I make now, even the pieces that I don’t like so much!  Well, trying to make this long story shorter – that same customer from a few years ago just called the other day and asked if I could add on to that piece and they are sending it to me so that I can work on it.  I’m getting the bracelet back and can finally take the picture!  Okay, now I know that isn’t the best example and pales in comparison to some of the disappointments we face in our lives (my own included) – but, the point is that it all works out in the end.  It always does.  

Be calm.  Be positive.  Have patience.  Have faith.  

~Melissa 🙂

“Love is a promise…”

Love is a promise, love is a souvenir, once given never forgotten, never let it disappear.

-John Lennon

There are so many lovely things that have been said about love.  I couldn’t resist putting this quote up here today.  I particularly like the idea of love being both a promise and being a souvenir.  It is something that we can take with us, no matter where we go and where we are in our lives.  It is emotional, and physical, and can be tangible, too, when we let ourselves appreciate it in all the little things in our lives.  As these John Lennon lines say, it is up to us though, to remember the love and to hold on to it.  That’s the only catch. 

Please share a favorite saying or thought about love.  

~Melissa  🙂

“Birthdays are good for you…”

“Birthdays are good for you. Statistics show that the people who have the most live the longest.” 

-Larry Lorenzoni

Even as I am getting older, I still look forward to my birthday.  Maybe, I even look forward to it more than I did when I was a child.  I think I just love birthdays in general.  I try my best to remember and celebrate birthdays, because even though we should honor each other all of the time, birthdays are friendly reminders to stop whatever we are doing in our own busy lives and make the birthday person feel special.  We get to splurge on presents, go out to dinners, eat cake and ice cream and feel like a kid again! 

When I was looking for a quote about birthdays, I found so many that were of a cynical nature or addressed getting older as a bad thing.  It’s not at all!  Each year on your birthday, just think of the wisdom and experience you have gained over the last year.  It may not be wrapped in pretty paper or tied up with a bow, but it is the best gift you can get.

If today is your birthday, you share it with:

Louise Bogan, Poet and Critic (1897-1970)

Alex Haley, Author (1921-1992)

Morely Safer, Journalist (b. 1931)

Marilyn vos Savant, Journalist and Columnist (b. 1946)

Steve Wozniak, Computer Engineer and co-founder of Apple Computer (b. 1950)

and me!

Happy Birthday!

~Melissa 🙂

“And now, I’m glad I didn’t know…”

And now, I’m glad I didn’t know the way it all would end

the way it all would go.

And our lives are better left to chance.

I could have missed the pain, but I’d’ve had to miss the dance.

-Song lyrics from Garth Brooks’ “The Dance”

When people are asked if they could go back in time – and know “then” what they know now – would they make the same choices in their lives, would they do it all over again, I am always really interested to hear the responses!  

I think that it is important to live without regrets and to live each day to the fullest, learning from our past, but never letting the past take away from the present or what the future can bring.  Life is just not long enough to spend time wishing that the past could have been different or that you could change it. 

I think that I like these lyrics specifically because even though there may have been certain choices or events in our lives that have at some point brought us pain, they may have also brought tremendous amounts of joy and happiness…and without that choice, without the pain, how do we know that we would necessarily have had the joy and happiness, too?  

~Melissa  🙂

“Summer afternoon…”

“Summer afternoon – summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.”

– Henry James

Why does it seem that as soon as August begins, everyone prepares for the summer to end?  Stores are advertising back to school items, and there are pumpkins everywhere I look now.  Why do we have to rush so much?  Autumn will be here soon enough – and will be wonderful when it is – but I am not ready for the summer to end, and so I chose to post this quote to celebrate the summer and offer some appreciation for the fact that there are still 24 glorious days left in the month of August.  Summer is still in full swing.  ~Melissa 🙂