Wednesday, May 16, 2012

It's the Little Things

Many, many years ago, someone gave me one of those calendar flip-books of "Quotes from Great Women."

I have loved it, memorized it, and carried it with me from city to city, state to state, mountains to sea and back again. I think it's possible that the thing is 14 years old. Just this week, I decided that it'd had a good, long life, and was time to meet the recycling bin. But before it was laid to rest, I copied down every quote in a file on my computer.

I did this because those quotes spoke to me, and have (obviously) at different stages in my life. Since I got the calendar when I was in my teens and in college, had it has an early 20s outdoor educator sleeping in a cabin on top of a mountain, had it when I was single and in graduate school (the first time), and now as a married mama... well, the words and their meanings have certainly changed for me.

Consider this quote by Bette Midler:

"After thirty, a body has a mind of its own."

When I was 19, or, heck--even 28, this would've meant nothing to me. Now, in my early 30s, boy howdy does it!

(I won't elaborate. But if you've seen this scene from the movie The Sweetest Thing, where Cameron Diaz and Christina Applegate are in a dressing room discussing the effects of gravity on boobage, you'll know what I mean.)

Or, on a more serious note, this one from one of my favorite American heroines, Abigail Adams:

Abigail Adams
From Gulliver's Nest

"I am more and more convinced that man is a dangerous creature."

The first Gulf War happened when I was in middle and high school, and we've been sucked into the sands of the Middle East ever since. But I never looked at international conflicts then the way I do now. This quote also applies, I think now, to disasters from oil spills to hurricane clean-ups, from a teenager driving while texting to a state deciding to pass a law.

As a mother, so much of what those great ladies said and wrote sings to me. Here's one from Jill Eikenberry. Though I don't have a child this age, I think this could be applied to the two year-old:

"You have a wonderful child. Then, when he's thirteen, gremlins carry him away and leave in his place a stranger who gives you not a moment's peace. You have to hang in there, because two or three years later, the gremlins will return your child, and he'll be wonderful again."

And so, for some Wednesday fun, here are 10 of my favorite quotes from that wonderful, ratty old flip calendar I've finally let go of:  (I wonder if the recycling has gone out yet?)

10 Quotes from Great Women

1. “I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing.”
~ Agatha Christie

2. “All my life through, the new sights of nature made me rejoice like a child.”
~ Marie Curie

3. “Ideological differences are no excuse for rudeness.”
~ Judith Martin

4. “We ought to be able to learn some things second hand. There is not enough time for us to make all the mistakes ourselves.”
~ Harriet Hall

5. “You can take no credit for beauty at 16. But if you are beautiful at 60, it will be your own soul’s doing.”
~ Marie Stopes

6. “Friends and good manners will carry you where money won’t go.”
~ Margaret Walker

7. “Can you imagine a world without men? No crime and lots of happy fat women.”
~ (Sylvia) Nicole Hollander

8. “In the end, what affects your life most deeply are things too simple to talk about.”
~ Nell Blaine

9. “I want real things—music that makes holes in the sky.”
~ Georgia O' Keefe

10. “The true woman is as yet a dream of the future.”
~ Elizabeth Cady Stanton

I love quotes, so please share! Has there been a particular quote (by a great man or great woman) that has stuck with you over the years?

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