Do you have phrases you’ve picked up along the way that make you feel better? Words you repeat to yourself on bad days, in trying times, on those inevitable afternoons where somehow you’re stranded without a ride and it starts to rain and you have no umbrella? I’m thinking specifically of an afternoon of torrential downpour in Manhattan where I went to pick mini up from school and she immediately wiped out on the slick streets and, as I then carried her crying through the rain, stupidly decided it would be best to get in a cab back uptown, and then we sat in gridlocked traffic for thirty minutes and made it one avenue, so I jumped out and ran with mini through the storm to the nearest subway stop — Penn Station — which is basically the closest approximation to Hell I can imagine, especially on a rainy day, and the 1 platform was about as far as physically possible from where we entered the station, and when we arrived, we did not realize that the 1 track was being shared with the 7 line and got onto the wrong train after waiting 14 minutes and had to stop and switch at another stop and OH MY GOD. Definitely a case of Alexander and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.
Today, I’m sharing a string of “footholds,” as I’ve come to think of them — little perches I use when I need to marshal my energy on particularly tempestuous or stressful days.
“Focus on me, not on the storm.” (The prayer I repeated to myself over and over during my second c-section. Saying those words, I actually felt my vision focus, as if I was being drawn into a narrow corridor, and the scariness around me blurred into the periphery. More on this here.)
“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” (This is by Charles Darwin and I think of it often, especially in parenting matters, where I aspire to be the green reed that bends rather than the mighty oak that snaps in the storm. Parenting has required, for me, a continuous openness to changing course, tinkering, re-evaluating what’s working and what’s not. The same is true in my experience with entrepreneurship. Mr. Magpie told me early on “What works for your first 100 customers won’t work for your next 100” — meaning that things change as you scale and you must be adaptable.)
“These are the days that must happen to you.” -Walt Whitman (Always helps me poke my head up over the crest and realize that there is more ahead. More here.)
“The only way out is through.” (Wrote about this here.)
“When we worry about things, we end up living them twice.”
“Things must end to begin again.” I’ve always been bad at endings. These words brings me peace.
“We were together; I forget the rest.” -Walt Whitman (actually an abridgment of his words, but I prefer the concision). Whenever I think on these words, I zoom way out of whatever’s in front of me and realize how insignificant the details will be in a matter of days or weeks. Eventually, I will only remember being with my loved ones.
“Not everything that weighs you down is yours to carry.” Helpful to perform a loose accounting of what’s on my mind and to let go of the things outside of my purview.
“One more minute.” I borrowed this from a mantra a Magpie reader shared in the comments section on this Getting-to-Know-You post, and I love it. I reminds me not to get caught up in the long road ahead. It also helps when I am at my wit’s end in parenting matters, or when I was massively pregnant and uncomfortable.
“If you understood how frequently people cope by projecting, you’d learn to take absolutely nothing personally.” – Octavia Butler. Ultra-helpful when reeling from a tense situation with friends/loved ones. I find these words also remind me to lead with empathy and think through what might be going on beneath the hood.
“People will kill you over time, and how they’ll kill you is with tiny, harmless phrases, like ‘be realistic.’” -Dylan Moran. I have in fact been surrounded by more patrons than detractors my entire life but there have still been moments where I have warmed my hands around this sentiment and gone boldly in a different direction.
“If all were rain and never sun, No bow could span the hill; If all were sun and never rain, There’d be no rainbow still.” -Christina Rossetti. Cheesy but true — brighter days ahead only appreciable by contrast.
“Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.” – Max Ehrmann, part of his incredible “Desiderata.” I have especially taken this to heart over the past two years, after realizing I sometimes speak to myself with a somewhat nasty tone of voice!
“It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.” – Herman Melville. Giddy up! Muscle through those hard days! Persist!
What about you? What words give you the boost you need to make it through the blahs, the grays, the darks?
+On chasing my would-be husband.
+Are you kidding me with this adorable $20 fur-trim coat for a little lady in the cherry red?!
+The colorblocking on this little boy’s fleece is so good.
+If you’re still on the hunt for a Thanksgiving dress, this popular style is fully stocked in all sizes and under $125.
+These chelsea boots are super good looking for your man. (I often give shoes as holiday gifts because Mr. Magpie will rarely buy them for himself.) Mr. Magpie’s cousin emailed me about this Australian brand — he’d just invested in a pair himself and encouraged me to introduce the label to my readers!
+OO do I need these pine tree motif goblets for the holiday table?!
+This townhouse ornament!!!
+PSA: I found a little cache of highly-covetable Le Lion sweaters on sale for 50% off here!
+Speaking of Jennifer Behr, just treated myself to these Jennifer Behr-inspired hair slides!
+Love cheese crisps and cheese straws to serve alongside a happy hour cocktail. Was just thinking it would be cute to empty a bundle of these into a cellophane bag and tie off with a ribbon when going to enjoy a drink at a friend’s house.
+This dress looks so comfortable and easy to wear…chic!
+I’ve shared gift ideas for babies and young children but not yet for older kids. This light-up basketball would be perfect for a slightly older boy. I’m thinking of getting these for our neighbors, 6 and 8. I recently bought them these model sets from Revell for their birthdays — another good standby for that age group.
+This cake stand is gorgeous and so reasonably priced.
+Lots of seasonal wedding guest dress options here.
+Such a fabulous statement necklace.
+Already stocking up on some activities for the children to enjoy during Thanksgiving so the adults can linger at the table for more than ten minutes. I’m going to get these classic turkey paper crowns and maybe these “I’m thankful for” turkeys or these coloring postersa. Crackers are always a hit, too!
+These ribbon candy trees are beyond chic for a mantle/tablescape.
+OMG this puppet theatre for children! Beyond adorable. Another great big-ticket item idea for holidays.
+These decorative flocked trees are fab!
+Head here for all things holiday.