By Nicole Cater
“Things are never as bad as they seem because you have to look beyond all the bad and see all of the good…” This quote is from To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee said by Miss Maudie to comfort Jem during his distress over the trial.
“Never, never, never give up.” This is a popular misquote by Winston Churchill. The real quote is no less inspiring: “Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never – in nothing great or small, large or petty – never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.” Though succinct, the true, longer version urges one not merely to never give up, but to never compromise.
“That which grows fast, withers as rapidly. That which grows slowly endures,” by Josiah Gilbert Holland
“Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” By Will Rogers
“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be,” by Lao Tzu
“Live each day as if your life had just begun,” by Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
“Every truth passes through three stages before it is recognized. In the first, it is ridiculed. In the second, it is opposed. In the third, it is regarded as self evident,” by Arthur Schopenhauer
“Either you run the day, or the day runs you,” by Jim Rohn
“Every morning we are born again. What we do today is what matter most,” by Gautama Buddha
“Life has two rules: #1 Never quit #2 Always remember rule #1,” by Anonymous
I didn’t set out to write a half page of quotes. To be honest, when I sit here in front of my screen, typing away at the keyboard, I only have the vaguest notion of what will come out. I started with the first quote because it seemed to speak so perfectly to what I intended to say. Perhaps you think the quotes may have gotten out of hand; but the truth is each quote truly represents how I feel. I almost added more. But I think I have the right number, the right amount, and the perfect lines that describe me for me.
Of course, all these positive quotes don’t come without an ulterior motive. Lately, my writing has been negative, sad, even a bit despairing. It has my friends and family worried about me. And with good reason. If you saw your daughter or best friend sharing with the entire world how alone she felt, how very bored she was, how the future seemed no brighter, you would worry too. And I won’t even bother denying the difficult time I’ve had. I was negative and could see nothing worth value in this move. Adjustment and acclimation were so hard for me as to almost be unbearable. I had never lived anywhere but Rock Island. Although only 55 miles away, I felt as if I moved to the moon.
Going through all this, there was no possible way for me to see any positives. I am an outgoing, social woman who loves to be around people and make friends. Despite my illnesses and the unfortunate need to cancel plans depending on my health, I like sharing time with friends. These are people I’ve known for anywhere from two to three decades. And even though I said it before, Clinton is not the moon. I can see my friends whenever I want. But I still miss them.
Making friends here is almost impossible. I usually make friends with the people with whom I work. But I have no job. My volunteer stint at the Human Society, which I was so proud of and excited for, lasted all of one day. Then I was sidelined by a wrist injury, pain, and lack of sleep. Maybe I’ll be able to go back, but not as I am now. It was when the coordinator asked me to set hours and be there for them that I realized it wasn’t going to work. This is the same reason jobs don’t work. When you live with a four on the pain scale on a good and productive day and your illnesses are erratic and unpredictable, you just can’t make plans. Commitments are saved for only the most serious of occasions, and on those days, I put on the mask, pretend I’m not sick, grit my teeth, and get through it.
Most people make friends outside of work based on what their children do, what activities they have in common, what sports team they share. Sky isn’t into sports. Or any other activities where I would get to meet other parents. There are volunteer opportunities at my church. These are much easier and consist of a couple hours one night a month. The people are friendly, but nowhere near my age. I know people my age go to church, I see them in the service. But they aren’t the ones who reach out, who make themselves available. It is the older generation that cares. Much like my grandmother taught my mother, and my mother taught me, these are people well versed in manners and class. And so I will take it, because talking to people twice my age is better than talking to no one at all.
But the truth is the adjustment period is starting to taper off. Some of it is receiving some housewarming gifts, small things for some people, but necessities for which we are grateful. Part of it is living my life with a schedule. Take Sky to school. Relax with a few cups of coffee and read a little. Wash dishes. Keep organizing all the miscellaneous stuff that hasn’t found a home. Sometimes do laundry. Pick Sky and Amaya up from school. Help with homework when needed. Make dinner and do the dishes again. Amidst it all, take Fredo out for his daily sunbath. And at night, that’s my time. I can write. I can play on the computer. I have a cup of decaf and unwind. I chat with friends who are far and not so far. Now Jeremy has signed us up for the YWCA and it’s a new prospect to add to my routine. Swimming, yoga, bike riding, several classes all waiting to be tried. It’s a new aspect to my routine that I’m looking forward to. Maybe I’ll meet some friends, but at least I’ll get out of the house.
Things are looking good. I feel like I’m able to be happy. After all, I’m with my boys; this is what I’ve dreamed of. And though I won’t be going back to folding paper, I’ve rediscovered my love of baking. The process gives me a Zen-like feeling, a calm I rarely get from any other activity. The act of measuring, mixing and decorating come together in the ultimate test of patience. And when you are in the zone, you make your art depending on what inspires you that day. Although I’m not a big baked goods fan, there is nothing better than seeing a loved one enjoy your creation… or surprising someone with a cake or pastries to brighten their day. That’s a warm fuzzy I treasure.
I moved to Clinton for love, with no hesitation whatsoever. But it wasn’t Clinton I loved and there was bound to be growing pains. And so we come full circle back to the quotes. The day can be disappointing. But only if I let it. And I think I’m done letting it. I will look beyond the bad. I will never give up; never give in, never compromise. I will grow slowly and endure and I will take the right track and keep walking, not daring to sit. I will unleash my potential and become what I might be, living as if the day has just begun. I will understand the truth as self evident, and I will run my day. I will be born anew every morning and make every day count. And I will remember the two rules that are most important to all of us: I will never quit, and I will remember not to. Because my life is a journey, an adventure. And even though it may be scary at times, I want to take the chance. If only to say this was my journey, and it was worth every minute.
This is our new Wicked Short Stories page with submissions from various Authors. Please look for bio-snippets about the Author at the bottom of the various pieces. Enjoy!