Dear Friends, Sorry to have been absent from this space for so long. I really do have a good reason. You see, I’ve been working non-stop on my next book. Very single-mindedly. It has required tons and tons of research, made a little more challenging–in some ways, at least–by the pandemic. More about that, later. The good news for Living on the Diagonal is that I am rounding a corner and hope to be a more reliable blog writer soon.
I’ve also been delinquent with my local writing group, even though it is now meeting remotely. But I got a prompt today which was easy to do, and I was in a mood to have my attention diverted. Thought it might be fun to share. We were asked to come up with our own list of ten fortune cookie fortunes. Now, if you’ve been on the receiving end of fortune cookies anytime lately, you know they rarely contain actual ‘fortunes’ anymore. Instead, we get aphorisms. I liked the old days when we could laugh at the predictions. My prompt response was a little of both and very few are original, but they are things that have stuck with me.
The first four come from the movie Elizabethtown—it is a fun, mostly light-hearted movie but full of great lessons, and these lines have stayed with me for years.
- If it wasn’t this, it would be something else.
- Have the courage to fail big and stick around.
- Give yourself five minutes to wallow in your delicious misery. Enjoy it, embrace it, discard it. And proceed.
- No true fiasco ever began as a quest for mere adequacy.
The next one has often been attributed to Maya Angelou (and others), but I first read it in a Christmas letter I received one year. Ever since, it’s been one of the few things I keep on the top of my dresser, so I can be reminded of its wisdom every day:
- Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away.
Now comes one I developed from a post and comment on Facebook. It is my new mantra.
- Before you freak out [substitute whatever verb works for your situation], ask yourself, “Will this matter in five years?”
Next come two of my own:
- Everything is hard–until you learn how to do it.
The last two are song titles from poet-songwriter Carrie Newcomer—if you don’t know her, you should. She can put a troubled mind to rest. (Maybe that is my 11th ‘fortune.’)
- If not now, when?
- Learn to sit without knowing.
Now, here’s a fun thing. Back when I got paid for the hours in my day, we occasionally had a catered meal at work—usually when someone was leaving. One time it was Chinese and everyone got a fortune cookie. One of my colleagues told us about a game she had learned. Maybe you know it, too, but I didn’t. She told us to tack on “in bed” at the end of our fortunes. It doesn’t always work, of course, but more often than not the result is rib-ticklingly hilarious and, after all, one of my bits of fortune cookie advice is “Laugh.”
How about you? What fortunes or advice would you put in a fortune cookie?