Happy 2022!

Happy New Year everybody! I was thinking about how to kick off the year right for all of us, and I thought about a friend of mine. She was one of my co-workers who, two weeks after retiring, suffered a debilitating and life-altering stroke. Her years of migraine headaches were a sign that her doctors didn’t relate to stroke symptoms until it was too late. She almost died, but she didn’t, and I know that is true for many of us. When I received the news, I was sitting on the beach of a beautiful little campground on the eastern shore of the Chesapeake. My reaction was physical; my heart literally ached. She spent months in the hospital and in-patient rehab. How horrible it was for her to start retirement with loss of vision and balance, knowing that she would never fully recover. What could I do to make her feel better?

I decided that she needed encouragement, in some form of another. When I was in the ICU, a huge ribbon of paper circles adorned my room. My good friend Gale, the only non-family relative allowed to visit me, showed me that the inside of every loop had a note from one of my students. We dismantled the ribbon as my time in the ICU wound down, and she read each and every note from me. It was wonderful. With that in mind, I sent my friend seven quotes every week. Her husband read one to her every day. After two months, when she was out of the woods, I sent her one a week. This continued for six months. I enjoyed scouring the internet for sources of inspiration for her. I typed them in different fonts and colors, just for variety. What I didn’t know was that her family taped up every quote I sent – on their windows, cabinets, mirrors, and doors. It made me think of the coloring contests you see at grocery stores where they cover their windows with all the kids’ works. When she regained some of her eyesight and was able to walk again, part of her PT was to walk to a quote and read it.

She sent me a card five months after her stroke, which I have kept on my windowsill by my kitchen sink – it’s been there for over a year. It says, “It’s getting dark–cloudy and cold. But the sunshine keeps arriving in envelopes marked from ‘Ms. Beth Hudson.’ Thank you for every single ray!” I read the card every day.

So wherever you are on your journey, I thought I would share a few of the quotes with you. Out of the 100, I’ve picked 20 – it was difficult to whittle it down, and they are in no particular order. I hope that at least one of them helps you frame your new year. Enjoy.

“You must do the thing you cannot.”Eleanor Roosevelt

“Wake up, Kick Ass, Repeat.”Anonymous

“Expect Problems And Eat Them For Breakfast”Alfred A. Montapert

“Your SUCCESS and HAPPINESS Lies in YOU.Resolve to keep HAPPY, And your Joy and You shall form anINVINCIBLE HOST AGAINST DIFFICULTIES.”Helen Keller

“A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.”Herm Albright

“Hope and fear cannot occupy the same space. Invite one to STAY.”Maya Angelou

“Fear tastes like a rusty knife and do not let her into your house.”John Cheever

“You can’t be that kid standing at the top of the waterslide overthinking it. You have to go down the chute.”Tina Fey

“You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.”Walt Disney

“The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”Winston Churchill

“Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.”Henry Ford

“You are never too old to reinvent yourself.”Steve Harvey

“Life is change. Growth is optional. Choose wisely.”Karen Kaiser Clark

“Look at the stonecutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred-and-first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not the last blow that did it, but all that had gone on before.”Jacob A. Riis

“Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of day saying… I will try again tomorrow.”Mary Anne Radmacher

“I am a slow walker, but I never walk backwards.”Abraham Lincoln

“In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”Abraham Lincoln

“What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight – it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”Dwight D. Eisenhower

“You don’t have to see the WHOLE staircase, just take the FIRST STEP.”Earnestine Neal

And remember: You never know how much strength you have until you are called upon to use it.