The Quirky Quote
One can remain eternally young if, each day, one grows rich by marvelous moments.
~ Romy Schneider
The Quirky Observations
First, a caveat on my endorsement of the quote above: The older I get, the more I resent the idea that eternal youth would be a noble state. I am less callow and callous than I was in my youth – still opinionated and sometimes impatient, but generally wiser and kinder.
Second, some background: Losing one’s marbles once meant to be angry or frustrated as a child would be who quite literally lost all his prized possessions in playing the game with someone more skillful. The association with losing one’s mind has also been around for more than a hundred years and is often used in a self-deprecating way as when we talk about thoughts rattling around in our heads. But as someone who has been intimately associated with people living with dementia for more than 30 years, I know that a diagnosis is not the end of joy, and it’s worse to lose those marvelous moments.
As for the words marvelous and marvels, they’ve been around since the 1300s and derive from the French merveille
. A marvel then was a wonder, surprise, or miracle. In that sense, a volcanic eruption could be a marvel, but not necessarily positive. Today there is no ambiguity. Modern synonyms include astonishing, awe-inspiring, breathtaking, sensational, spectacular, and stunning.
But that said, the marvel doesn’t have to be on the order of overcoming global poverty (though wouldn’t that be nice?) or even having an opportunity to take a long-desired trip. Look for the everyday things that inspire awe. A bee sleeping in a flower is a marvel. Start there.
The Quirky Challenge
Pablo Picasso had the same idea when he said, “Everything is a miracle. It is a miracle that one does not melt in one's bath.”
In her book, The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe
which Jane Wagner wrote in 1991 for Lily Tomlin to perform, the character bag-lady Trudy is awed at one point by a starry night, and
from that moment on vows to practice “awe-robics,” looking for awe each day. In 2020, Allen Klein wrote The Awe Factor
, which is essentially a how-to book on practicing awe-robics.
On behalf of Picasso, Wagner, and Klein, because this is the time of year when we make resolutions. I propose that you adopt just one inspiring word for the year that will be your primary focus, your daily mantra. And I think you could do worse than choosing the word “Marvelous.” Find a reason every day to say the word and mean it.
Or you might choose a one-word prayer for, perhaps: strength, balance
Or something you want more of: kindness, laughter
Or an appealing word you want to find examples of daily: splendid, whimsy
(If you prefer to use a picture instead of a word, post it in a prominent place. Change the place regularly so you don’t become inured to it.)
But because I can’t get through this topic without encouraging your sense of humor, look for variations that allow for wiggle room:
is simple and lovely, but if you’re feeling crabby, add a qualifier: If you can't be kind, at least be vague.
Or: I resolve to live like a beautiful lotus – at ease in muddy waters.
The Extended Challenge
Rather than a typical quiz this week I am proposing that you choose different words for 5 different aspects of your life to guide you through the year ahead. Fill in the blanks and then consider why you chose them. Will each word be the same? Will you share your choices with family and friends to help you stay on track?
1. My word for the New Year regarding my relationships to family and friends is __________ and this is why:
2. My word for the New Year regarding (paid or volunteer) work is ___________ and this is why:
3. This next category can refer to any area of your life that you choose: My word for the New Year regarding what I hope to accomplish or how I hope to grow personally wiser is____________ and this is why:
4. My word for the New Year regarding how I will care for my health, both mental and physical is _______________ and this is why:
5. My word for the New Year regarding a new experience I want to have is _____________ and this is why:
The Shameless Request
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The Featured Product
Although the Wiser Now slide show “Happy New Year”
was obviously written to celebrate the start of a new year, most of what’s here makes for year-round delights that prove people just want to have fun.
And a final wish from the slide show
- 3 Trivia quizzes on superstitions related to the New Year, the Tournament of Roses Parade, and various alternative “Doo Dah” parades
- 2 Word games related to bells and ringing (for ringing in a new year, of course)
- Imaginative exercises that suggest four ways to make resolutions you might actually keep – The challenge in this eblast is adapted from it.