This will not be my usual post. I find myself being very introspective these days. Over the years, there are certain dates that take on different meanings to us. Days that used to mean nothing suddenly mark a happy occasion, like a baptism or anniversary. And days that used to mean something special we stop giving meaning to or try to forget.
As we get older, I’m not sure where our birthdays are supposed to fall. I know as a child, I wanted to grow older. I couldn’t wait to reach double digits. Then to be an official teen. Then sixteen, then eighteen. Twenty-one. By the time I reached a desirable age, time had speeded up and obligations had piled up and I wasn’t able to enjoy the age I wanted to be because it had already passed me by.
I turned 50 on April 4. My life is far different than I expected it to be. Hence a lot of the introspection.
So, today, instead of my donning my professor’s hat and imparting what little wisdom I’ve gleaned over the years, I thought I’d turn to two experts I share my birthday with who made more of their careers than I’ve managed to make of mine (so far).
Words of Wisdom by Maya Angelou
- When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.
- People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
- Surviving is important. Thriving is elegant.
- We delight in the beauty of the butterfly but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.
- Talent is like electricity. We don’t understand electricity. We use it. You can plug into it and light up a lamp, keep a heart pump going, light a cathedral, or you can electrocute a person with it.
- The idea is to write it so that people hear it and it slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart.
- When you learn, teach. When you get, give.
- You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.
- Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take but by the moments that take your breath away.
- I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.
Words of Wisdom by Robert Downey Jr.
- You need to know what to do when the sun is not shining.
- I think that we all do heroic things, but hero is not a noun, it’s a verb.
- I always think part of success is being able to replicate results, taking what is interesting or viable about yourself as a professional person and seeing if you bring it into different situations with similar results.
- People never change because they are under threat or under duress. Never. They change because they see something that makes their life seem valuable enough to start moving toward a life worth living.
- Remember that just because you hit bottom doesn’t mean you have to stay there.
I think it’s worth noting that once again, my birthday wish was not answered and Mr. Downey did not call to wish me a happy day or to share a celebration in any manner. (Or to tell me he’s read all my work and wants to make it all into HBO or Netflix series.) I really thought this would be the year, as it was a milestone, but… no. I suppose it’s time to change my birthday wish. I seem to have been squandering it.
I hope you found these words of wisdom from my birthday buddies useful. I think they knew/know what they were/are talking about.
And if you have any words of wisdom you’d like to pass along (or RDJ’s contact information), hit me up in the comments. I’d love to know your favorite quote from your favorite author or celebrity. Saluti!
Maya Angelou | Photo via John Mathew Smith & http://www.celebrity-photos.com from Laurel Maryland, USA – Maya Angelou, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=78474693
Robert Downey Jr. | Photo via Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons