Do unto others . . . WWJD . . . Love thy neighbor . . . The grass is always greener . . . Ask not what your country can do for you . . .
Personal mantras. Nuggets of wisdom from those that have gone before us. A rule that we try to base our life on. I’ve never really given it much thought. Do I have one particular piece of wisdom that I base my entire life on? As such, that is the topic for this particular writing challenge.
Day 17: A quote you try to live by
What is a quote? It is something that someone else (allegedly) said that another person just happened to hear and liked so much that they repeated it. That’s it. It is just something that a person may have said in a passing conversation and then never thought about again, or it was a line from a speech that a speechwriter toiled for hours to get worded in just the perfect way to make the best impact.
I look at quotes as inspirational pieces of wisdom. I don’t base my entire life around just one single sentence that one person said. Nuggets of wisdom are collected and stored in my mental hard drive and come together as a cohesive unit to form the basis for how I live. I have no interest in becoming a member of the military, but JFK’s quote, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country,” still influences me. Instead of asking what others can do for me, what can I do to help those around me?
I think that if a person really sat down and though about it, we are not just a one-thought-based civilization. We get input from everything around us. Everything about our environment influences us, and molds us into how we live our life, how we treat others, how we react in every situation, and how we influence others.
To say that there is one quote that I try to live by would be to say that there is only one person who influenced me, the person who put voice to that quote. But instead everyone around me influences me.
Recently my pastor said something in church that I had to put to practice not even a week later: “You can’t control the situation, but you can control your reaction to it.” Wise words.
Danny Thomas said, as he was starting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital: “No child should die in the dawn of life.” Those words still move me to tears every time I think about them.
Those are two quotes that move me, that influence me, that shape who I am and how I live.
If I had a personal mantra to I would say is a summarization of who I am, it would be one of a few things: “Smile” or “Everything is better with glitter” (or “everything is better with cheese,” depending on the situation). But then there are times when I have encountered an upset friend, family member, or myself, and all I can say is, “just breathe.” Sometimes that’s all you can do. Just take a deep breath, and take a situation one breath at a time.
See? There is no one quote in my life that I live by. I live as a product of my surroundings. I live as a product of the influences of those around me. I am a melting pot of all the great and wonderful things that come into my realm of understanding each and everyday. We all are. And for a person to say that they live by just one “quote” is to close themselves off to all other wisdom that the world has to offer, and that would be a truly sad existence.
Until next time . . .
Revision post-publishing: I realized after I published this post that there are, in fact, two pieces of wisdom that I have learned over my almost 39 years, and try to always live by.
Until next time . . .