I got an email from my sister-in-law after she read last week’s column about some of the sayings and quotes that I live by and repeat – often. She mentioned one that she’s heard many, many times in the thirty years we’ve known each other. And she added that she enjoyed the column, even without her favorite “Betty Belief.”
She knows me very well, and the quote she mentioned was actually the next one on my “Top Five” list.
Betty’s Belief #4: This too shall pass.
Unlike the three I wrote about last week, this saying is not one that I came up with on my own. It’s an ancient bit of wisdom whose original message was a reminder that neither good nor bad situations would last forever.
I think of it only in terms of the latter, and find this saying comforting and encouraging whenever I’m in the middle of something frustrating or overwhelming, and when I’m unable to foresee or imagine how there could possibly be a happy ending or a positive resolution. I sometimes joke that it became one of my favorite sayings when my kids were teenagers. However, now that I think about it, it may also have become a favorite saying for my kids when they were teenagers and had to put up with me.
Betty’s Belief #5: The night is still young.
It doesn’t matter to me whether it’s early in the morning or very late at night. Either way, I’ll be quick to point out that the night is still young.
This is actually the flip side of Belief #4. Just as I’m encouraged by the awareness that nothing bad is going to last forever, I’m inspired by the knowledge that it’s never too late to start something new or to explore different avenues.
I recently coached a 77-year-old woman who is off on a number of new adventures and activities that she’s taken on since retiring from her lifelong role as a teacher. And I know many people who have discovered their purpose and their passion in their 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s. I’m one of them, in fact.
One of the only things that can slow you down or stop you from pursuing something you truly want to do is to start questioning whether you’re too old or start wondering if it’s too late. If that ever happens to you – and it can happen to any of us, at any age – I suggest you quickly remind yourself that the night is still young.
So there you have it – my top five personal beliefs. (If you missed last week’s column, the first three are: Nothing is impossible, and you should ignore anyone who tells you otherwise; You can be brutally honest without being brutal; and You can disagree without being disagreeable.) But there are others that guide, comfort and inspire me on a regular basis – like Gandhi’s statement that you must be the change you wish to see in the world. Or Nietzsche’s observation that says, “What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger” (which is another one I now claim as having helped me through my kids’ teenage years). And then there’s the mantra I developed back in my proofreading days, which says that if you can’t be right, be consistent.
In saying that, I’m not suggesting that you disregard truth or accuracy, and I’m not encouraging you to make the same mistakes over and over again. Instead, I’m acknowledging that even though some things in life ARE either black or white, and right or wrong, there are many that are more a matter of style, preference, or interpretation. In cases like that, be consistent in your beliefs and your behavior. That’s where your values come in, and it lets people know where you stand and what you stand for. It’s what builds your integrity and your reputation.
Feel free to adopt or adapt any of my beliefs as your own. And if there are any words of wisdom that you live by and would like to share, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave your comments here. I’d love to hear them.
The column “Find Your Buried Treasure” appears weekly in the Chanhassen (MN) Villager. This column was published on February 2, 2012.
© Betty Liedtke, 2012