RIP Terry Prachett

highwoodmeadows2

The very quotable Terry Prachett, author of over 70 books, has died at the age of 66. Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2007, he was  a champion for greater awareness of Alzheimer’s disease and did a documentary for the BBC chronicling his condition. Herewith some of my favorite Terry Prachett quotes:

I’ll be more enthusiastic about encouraging thinking outside the box when there’s evidence of any thinking going on inside it.

Give a man a fire and he’s warm for the day. But set fire to him and he’s warm for the rest of his life.

Age and wisdom don’t necessarily go together. Some people just become stupid with more authority.

In his experience, many of the world’s greatest discoveries were made by men who would be considered mad by conventional standards. Insanity depended on your point of view, he always said, and if it was the view through your own underpants then everything looked fine.

You can’t remember the plot of the Dr Who movie because it didn’t have one, just a lot of plot holes strung together. It did have a lot of flashing lights, though.

Mind you, the Elizabethans had so many words for the female genitals that it is quite hard to speak a sentence of modern English without inadvertently mentioning at least three of them.

What I Wish I Knew (When I Graduated From High School)

jump_001

I’ve accepted that gauntlet thrown down by our pastor to speak at our church’s graduation night this Friday, a night where we honor our high school grads. This year, there’s one high school grad. However, at my behest, we are also honoring our three class of 2014 university grads (of which I’m one).   The university grads have been asked to speak on “what I wish I knew when I graduated from high school”.

This is my speech:

Back when I graduated from high school…

  •  Dinosaurs roamed the earth
  • Apple was just a piece of fruit
  • An “I-Pad” was something you put on your eye if it hurt
  • Personal cassette tape players were all the rage
  • And a cell phone was what you used only if you were arrested!

Graduation from high school, for me, was a hard place to land. I was 17. My foster parents were moving to the US. I was not. Panicked, I married the guy I was dating. I was frightened of the future, and self-preservation kicked in; I needed someone to look after me. (Our marriage ended in divorce four years later). I only share this to provide a bit of context.

Five things I wish I’d known when I graduated from High School:

  • God is a god of grace, love and forgiveness – not just rules.
  • A high school diploma does not a great job make.
  • Career testing – at least the kind I had – is not terribly accurate or useful.
  • A teacher or guidance counsellor taking me under their wing and giving, well, guidance would have been extremely helpful.
  • Apple and Microsoft would achieve world domination. (Apple’s first stock offering was in Dec., 1980, just 1.5 years after I graduated. Microsoft’s followed in 1986.) Honey, we could have been rich!

[name of graduate], in the words of that learned scholar, Dr. Seuss:

Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind, don’t matter and those who matter, don’t mind.

And, one final thought from Teddy Roosevelt:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. Theodore Roosevelt

I think what Roosevelt’s saying with that quote [name of graduate], is simply: GO FOR IT. Whatever you choose to do, you’ve a soft place to land with your family always, in success and in failure. If I’d had a soft place to land when I graduated from high school, who knows what I might have accomplished?

Dream Fulfillment

At the Chicago "Bean" 2012
At the Chicago “Bean” 2012

With the uploading of the final assignment for the final course in my University Certificate Program (Professional Writing in Public Relations and Marketing) I have realized the life-long dream – a dream at times I didn’t even know I had – of attending University.  This is a moment worth savoring.  This is an accomplishment worth celebrating. My heart is full.  This dream fulfillment has been two years of hard work towards this moment, utilizing, enhancing, improving upon and fully embracing a passion (writing) I have had for years.  Not for nothing, I accomplished this while doing/dealing with:  chronic pain; migraines; sleep apnea; arthritis; anxiety; the death of my father and the death of our beloved pets in 2013 (and the byproduct of loss – grief); keeping our home running; writing articles for magazines; developing inventory for two photography shows, etc.

I will actually receive my formal Certificate in the fall due to missing the deadline this spring because of course timings.  The University also has certificate graduation ceremonies however I will not be eligible to participate in this year’s ceremony due to the application deadline. I’ve submitted my name for next year’s graduation ceremony. I was eligible, based on academic standing and the program I was taking, an endowment award of $500 and applied for the same. I will know at the end of May whether I was selected.

Obtaining this Certificate would not have been possible, on so many levels, without the love and support of my husband. Honey, you rock! Thank you so much. “I’m not a parasite, I’m a tax deduction!”

I was asked for my thoughts on what comes next.  I’m curious about our culture that creates this. This seemingly pushing along of life.   It occurs in various forms: once one is engaged, one is asked “when’s the wedding”, as if the engagement itself was not  a moment to cherish, celebrate, savor.  When one is married, the question changes to “when are you having kids?”  Same thing: Is the stage one is at not a stage to enjoy for it’s own sake? And, when one graduates, it is “what will you do now?”  Well, now I am savoring my accomplishment.  I am patting myself on the back, tooting my own horn, and making merry over what I have achieved. This is a big deal to me; huge!  I’m also going to catch up on my sleep. As to the future? In the words of Scarlett O’Hara, I’ll “worry about that tomorrow.”