Words From Friends….

I love building. Love it. And the funny thing is, I even love the bullshit parts of it that most hate: the permits; the insurance (well, maybe not that part); the scheduling; the personality balances; the last minute phone calls from a sub who can't make it that day; the challenges. I love the challenges. But I love being on a site, love being around a crew, love doing physical things until you're completely drained at the end of the day, love being able to stand back at the end and visibly see what's been accomplished throughout the day. Because as it's happening - amidst the noise and haste, so to speak - it's sometimes difficult to keep your eye on any prize that may be at the end. Most of the time, you're just thinking so quickly about "how the fuck are we going to make this happen, here, and by when??" that even though you trust that there's an end to the means, you can't see it at 10:00 in the morning when you've got a splinter in your eyeball and your hand's bleeding like a stuck pig because you're trying to cut Boston corners on cedar shingles while standing on a ladder twenty feet high...in the rain. It happens.

I also love words...always have. I think that's how I kept going back (i.e. getting duped-into-paying-for) for more schooling, because I loved the atmosphere, just filled with words and lessons and books. But I really love written words...because written words last much, much longer than spoken words. My house is filled with books and I'll read anything I can get my hands on, at any moment, on almost any topic. And why not?? I even read a random issue of Simple Living during the third quarter of the Super Bowl this Sunday night, and I'm glad I did because I learned of a website where you can type in names of past books you've read and it will give you recommendations for new ones. Doesn't matter what it is, where I am, or when....I'll read it. Every day is a school day. The massive bulletin board that takes up seven feet of my wall is filled with clippings of quotes and poems and little notes and memos to myself. Even my little sis used to fill notebooks with hand-written quotes and poems and then give them to me for Christmas. Sometimes you hear one and you write it down and think, yeah, that's good...and then you forget about it. So actually, it wasn't that good. But other times one will nail you right away, and you know it's a game changer. Hence...

A coworker - a quasi-famous, e-list celebrity (at best, maybe, on a good day) coworker - who also has a brother who cheats at Words with Friends (who does that??) - said something to me last week that was a real stopping moment. Something unusual had happened, a little blip in the day, a little unnerving, but Eric said to me in the midst of it all, kind of out of nowhere but perfectly timed, "Go placidly amidst the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence." And then he kept digging like he hadn't just said something incredibly profound that made my brain do the old-saloon-in-the-west-swinging-door-entrance-silence thing. But he told me about the Desiderata afterwards, and now there is a copy of it folded up on my dashboard, just to reference now and again, maybe once or ten or twenty times a day, and to just be reminded...to go placidly amidst the noise and haste. It's the best line I've ever read, and I'm incredibly grateful for being taught about it. Hopefully he'll take no offense to sharing it here (though I'm pretty sure the only people who read this are my cousins, and if my cousin Jess doesn't have this on her wall already, I'd be amazed.) And if you missed the link the first time, don't miss it the second.

There's also another little mantra-esque piece that hangs in a spot on my wall so I'm almost forced to read it everyday: it's directly above where the face of my laptop opens up to. It was given to me by a very good friend about five years ago, but I think of it almost each day in dealing with the myriad of people we work/deal/collaborate/put-up-with in the course of our work. That one is below the copy of the Desiderata. Enjoy the reading. On the sleepless nights when the brain is filled with too many thoughts to keep the eyes closed and the body resting, it's good to repeat these things.


Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

This second one doesn't have a name, at least I don't think it does. A good friend heard this at a graduation ceremony a while back, and it's stuck with me ever since:

People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.
If you do good, people may accuse you of selfish motives.
Do good anyway.
If you are successful, you may win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable.
Be honest and transparent anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.
People who really want help may attack you if you help them.
Help them anyway.
Give the world the best you have and you may get hurt.
Give the world your best, anyway.

Enjoy your days.

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