Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Get a Life

Some wonderful excerpts from Anna Quindlen’s advice to the life-lorn—
“Get a life in which you notice the smell of salt water pushing itself on a breeze over the dunes, a life in which you stop and watch how a red-tailed hawk circles over a pond and a stand of pines.  Get a life in which you pay attention to the baby as she scowls with concentration when she tries to pick up a Cheerio with her thumb and first finger. Turn off your cell phone.  Turn off your regular phone, for that matter.  Keep still.  Be present.  Get a life in which you are not alone.  Find people you love, and who love you.  And remember that love is not leisure, it is work. Get a life in which you are generous.  Look around at the azaleas making fuchsia star bursts in spring look at a full moon hanging silver in a black sky on a cold night.  And realize that life is glorious, and that you have no business taking it for granted.  Care so deeply about its goodness that you want to spread it around.  Take the money you would have spent on beers in a bar and give it to charity.  Work in a soup kitchen.  Tutor a seventh-grader. All of us want to do well.  But if we do not do good, too, then doing well will never be enough.” —Anna Quindlen, A Short Guide to a Happy Life
I would add:

Get a life with some children in it who want to draw a picture with crayons for you.

Get a life in which you go on pilgrimage, to a small whitewashed church, maybe—a small church with the sea in it, a church in a small cove, with goats.

Get a life in which you set the table with your grandmother’s goblets, and serve asparagus risotto in an child’s alphabet bowl.

Get a life with someone in it who offers to bring some dogs to you.

Get a life with sometimes a gift of Christmas cookies with the silver sprinkles, or a slice of lavender pound cake.

Get a life in which you shape some little animals with salted dough.

Get a life in which you climb into the secret heart of a kiva, or up into a sandstone cave the light, blue afternoon before the new year.

Get a life in which clouds figure, and figures in clouds.

Get a life with at least one elderly friend in it who asks you over for clam chowder and a little Scotch.

Get a life in which you wade barefoot in a small stream, midsummer snowmelt, watching the icy mountain water purling, tickling your toes.

Get a life including someone who one Saturday shows you to how to paint brush circles on big sheets torn off a roll of butcher paper.

Get a life in which you go out at first light before the days shorten too radically, and sit sunstruck, and drink good coffee from a thermos.

Get a life with someone in it who will pick you up and give you ice-cold root beer after you’ve been running relays in a track meet.

Get a life in which you study snow crystals on a window, pressing your nose to it.

Get a life with one blue flowerpot at least.


  1. YES!!!
    i'm yelling here apparently! LOL.
    just makes me happy reading your list.
    and hers.
    yours is better.

  2. well.
    except the dogs.
    gotta have the dogs.
    and i hope she doesn't read your blog!
    otherwise i might have just hurt her feelings.
    sorry anna. you are great too. like my christie.

  3. I would love to get all the lives you listed. I can do without the children, but who can resist clam chowder and scotch with an older friend? And I'd love to go on a pilgrimage, and drink coffee from a thermos while sitting sunstruck. But I always study snow crystals from a window. I hope you too.
    Beautiful post!