Both the Bible and The Byrds tell us that to everything, there is a season. As I prepare to turn 34 this month, I have spent some time reflecting on the many seasons I’ve experienced and the lessons I’ve learned from them.
I’ve had some wonderful adventures as a young person and young adult. I’ve had my fair share of missteps, too, but that’s OK. As “Rubyfruit Jungle” author Rita Mae Brown puts it, “Good judgment comes from experience, and most experience comes from bad judgment.”
Quotes and wise sayings are perfect roadmaps for life and can often aid us during those times when we face said bad experiences. When we face difficult times, it helps to know someone has been where we are before — and written down some sage advice. Here are some of the quotes, wise sayings and proverbs that have helped me make sense of the past 34 years.
“If you wait by the river long enough, the bodies of your enemies will float by.” This advice from Chinese philosopher Sun Tzu has held especially true in the restaurant business, where I learned quickly to stop beefing with obnoxious co-workers, because, sooner or later, they’d work themselves out of a job and out of my face anyway.
“Forgiveness is me giving up my right to hurt you just because you hurt me.” I saw this on a meme somewhere, but it’s still a concept I am learning to master — if my pride can get out of the way.
There are quite a few Audre Lorde quotes in which I find inspiration and wisdom. One reads, “I have come to believe over and over again that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood.” The other is: “When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.”
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares The Lord, “plans to help you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” This scripture from Jeremiah 29:11 is my all-time favorite Bible verse and one that has continued to prove true in my own life.
“A hard head makes for a soft ass.” This was one of my grandmother’s most favorite sayings. It took me a while to figure out just what it meant, but I’ve always been one of those folks for whom it does, indeed, take a few kicks to the backside before I learn a lesson.
“If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.” Former NFL head coach Tony Dungy should have heeded this advice when he offered his negative comments about Michael Sam in the Tampa Tribune.
Some other words of wisdom I have come to appreciate that speak for themselves:
“A lion doesn’t lose sleep over the opinions of sheep.” Similarly, “A king never leaves his throne to throw stones with peasants.” Keep this in mind the next time the “haters” come for your success.
“Do things right the first time so that you don’t have to do them again.” I learned this one from my mom, the consummate supervisor.
“Black people have to work twice as hard as white people to be considered half as good.” I reckon the same usually goes for women and men, too.
What are some the your favorite quotes? Tweet them to me @jaisongardner on Twitter. Happy Birthday to me! Here’s to another season and another chance to get it right!
Also: On July 22, someone set fire to The Tavern, a favorite bar and grill at the corner of Fourth and Gaulbert streets in Old Louisville. The owners face several thousand dollars in repair costs because of the arson, and The Tavern’s employees are now jobless while the place is closed. Charitable fundraiser Michelle James and her husband, 6th District Metro Councilman David James, are hosting a “Benefit for The Tavern” on Friday, Aug. 1, at 5:30 p.m. on the building’s front patio to raise money for the displaced restaurant workers. The councilman and his wife are providing free appetizers and refreshments, and there will be a tip jar for anyone who wishes to donate. There will also be an appearance by WWE superstar wrestler Damien Sandow. Please stop by and show your support for our friends and neighbors.