Monday, January 5, 2015

Albert Knew a Thing or Two by Alison Henderson

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is to not stop questioning. ~ Albert Einstein

We all know Albert Einstein was a brilliant man. He was also a wise man. This quote is one of my favorites, especially the first sentence. I can't think of a better approach to life. 

I don't make formal New Year's resolutions, but I'd like to take this advice to heart in 2015. Parts of it will come easily; others not so much. "Hope for tomorrow" is already part of my natural make-up. I've always been the eternal optimist. I don't need any help there. 

"Live for today" is something I've been working on since early last year. I haven't mastered it because looking ahead is such a driving force in my personality, but I'm trying. 2014 was a watershed year for me. After our big trek west, we finally moved into our new house in March. Unfortunately, the stress of so many major changes took a toll on my husband. While I naturally focus ahead in life, he always looks back. By the time we finally moved in he had worked himself into such a state that he had stroke. (You might think that's just a figure of speech, but it's actually possible.) 

I pride myself on my equanimity; I can usually remain calm under the most difficult circumstances. But after things finally settled down I developed a stress-induced cardiac arrhythmia. It's not dangerous, but it's uncomfortable and a constant reminder of the need to keep stress under control. On top of all that, I turned sixty last year. Talk about sobering.

I could also do a better job of learning from yesterday. Because I naturally look ahead and am working on staying in the present, the past sometimes gets short shrift. Once something happens, I dismiss it and move on. That's great for dealing with uncomfortable or painful situations but not so great for dissecting experiences and learning from them. I'll try to do better this year.

Then there's the second sentence of the quote: "The important thing is to not stop questioning." I'm not so sure about that one. Einstein was a scientist, so an inquiring mind was essential to his work. I want to stay curious, but for my life, I think cultivating acceptance might be even more important.

Einstein's quote also reminds me of another favorite, one I strive to take to heart:

“If you are depressed you are living in the past.  If you are anxious you are living in the future.  If you are at peace you are living in the present.” ~ Lao Tzu

Peace doesn't sound too bad right about now.



Margo Hoornstra said...

Alison, you came up with a great quote of your own. Cultivating acceptance. I like that. Words I've decided to take to heart. Happy New Year!

Liz Flaherty said...

I think Margo's right about that being a great quote, and one we all need to grasp by the tails of its kite. Kind of goes along with the serenity prayer, though--learning to know the difference. We don't have to accept EVERYthing. :-) Happy New Year to you and OG--I hope peace reigns.

Jannine Gallant said...

I also seem to look to the future. I need to slow down and enjoy the right now more. Thanks for the reminder.

Alison Henderson said...

Thanks, Margo. May we both have a peaceful and productive New Year!

Alison Henderson said...

Happy New Year, Liz! I'm not worried about trying to accept EVERYthing - I'd settle for just the biggies at this point.

Alison Henderson said...

Jannine, some of us just seem to be wired to zip along, looking ahead, and miss what's truly happening around us at the moment. That's what I'm having the most trouble changing.

Diane Burton said...

What a great post, Alison. I live too much in the future, what might happen. And too often in the past where I rehash what I did or didn't do, what someone did, etc. I need to learn to live in the now. Thanks for the reminder.

Alison Henderson said...

Thanks, Diane. Living in the present takes constant, conscious effort. I'm not sure I'll ever really master it.

Alicia Dean said...

Awesome post. I love both those quotes. The last one is definitely one to live by. It's easier said than done, of course, but if we strive to do that, then we will be more content, I believe. I am somewhat of an 'in the now' person. It probably contributes to my habit of procrastination. :)

Leah St. James said...

Great message, Alison. Wishing you much peace and happiness in all your moments of 2015.