This is my work space, where I spend several hours each day. I resisted the urge to tidy up before I took the photo, and show you the real deal. This is about how it usually looks, with messy papers scattered about and clothes thrown over the back of my chair.
I love my office, even though it is teeny tiny. My husband helped me paint it a gorgeous golden color that makes me happy, and when we moved into this house I splurged and bought this desk set-up from Pottery Barn that I had been ogling for years, a page of the catalog worn to shreds from my sweaty little hands. I also love the sunshine coming in the window, which faces east so I get a lot of morning light.
About five years ago I put up that giant bulletin board and it’s filled with things that inspire me and make me happy. There are notes from my husband, notes to myself about my goals for the year and what to eat to prevent Alzheimer’s, photos of happy times, pages torn from magazines of places I want to visit, Investor Business Daily’s 10 secrets for success, a photo of the Obamas and Bidens on Inauguration Day, a particularly nice hand-written rejection letter from a literary journal, and various quotes.
I’m not really a “quote” type of person. I love a good quote, but I don’t tend to memorize them or pepper my conversations with them. But when I saw this Oprah quote on Facebook this week, it made me realize how much the particular quotes I choose to have around me every day have made a difference in how I life my life.
The Oprah quote:
“Here’s what my love affair with quotations has taught me: the more you focus on words that uplift you, the more you embody the ideas contained in those words.”
I don’t know what impulse made me stop and write down and put on my bulletin board these particular quotes out of all the quotes I’ve heard and loved in my life, but I thought I’d share them with you. Here’s what’s on my board…
“One of the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats.” – Iris Murdoch
“Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better.” – MLK Jr.
“We are such spendthrifts with our lives. The trick of living is to slip on and off the planet with the least fuss you can muster. I’m not running for sainthood. I just happen to think that in life we need to be a little like the farmer, who puts back into the soil what he takes out.” – Paul Newman
A card I received from a Career Day event at my friend’s elementary school with this unattributed quote/message: Making a Difference: An old man walked up a shore littered with thousands of starfish, beached and dying after a storm. A young man was picking them up and flinging them back into the ocean. “Why do you bother?” the old man scoffed. “You’re not saving enough to make a difference.” The young man picked up another starfish and sent it spinning back to the water. “Made a difference to that one,” he said. – You make a difference, every day.
Another MLK: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”
“Tikkun Olam” – A Hebrew phrase that means, “Repair the world. Fix what you can.”
“Have fun while you’re young.” -my 93-year-old grandfather
Those are the quotes I have chosen to surround myself with, and I agree with Oprah that the words are having an effect on me. I think the quotes we respond to are expressions of our higher selves, of who we want to be, and focusing on them can guide us toward becoming that person.
What are some of your favorite quotes, the ones you’ve chosen to write down in a journal, post on Facebook, share with others, etch onto a card or memento? What’s on your board? Please share in the Comments section.