Sometimes my back hurts, but certainly not all the time, and never very badly. I figure an achy back goes along with wrinkles, gray hair, and other blessings of continued life. My brother Tom is a few years my senior, and has been through more after-factory replacements of hips, knees, and parts thereof than anybody else I know. So I when I was wondering about my own twinges and aches, I asked him, “When do you know if it’s a problem?”
His response was immediate and simple, “If it keeps you from getting sleep you need, then it’s a problem, whether it’s your hip, your marriage, your job. Anything that persistently comes between you and your rest qualifies as a problem.”
Wow. That is so simple and accurate, it qualifies as wisdom. I define wisdom as truths that can save you time, resources or heartache. My brother Dick is the first person to share this piece of wisdom with me: “If I’m contemplating doing something I’d be uncomfortable telling my adult children I did, then I’d better rethink the decision.”
My mom passed this one along early in my life, and it has had frequent application: “Don’t make decisions when you’re tired. If you can, wait until you’re rested and then take another look at things.”
Wisdom drops into a troubling situation with a sense of bringing relief, of shedding light into a murky darkness. My dad has come up with a few of my favorites:
“If you don’t know what you want to do, pay attention to what you’re sure you DO NOT want to do, and maybe the decision will seem simpler.”
He is also the guy who told me, “I don’t care how besotted I am with a person, a job, a social group—I do not want to spend my time around people who don’t want to be around me.” Which is to say, pride, or at least self-respect, can save us from some falls.
When next I see my daughter, I will ask her what wisdom sayings she attributes to me, and hope the question isn’t met with awkward silence.
As I list these personal proverbs, it occurs to me that they are exactly the kind of advice a good secondary character will pass along to a hero or heroine at some critical juncture of a romance novel. So what are your personal proverbs? And be warned: You might see the hero’s best friend reminding him of your granny’s favorite quote in some future Grace Burrowes romance.
To one commenter below, I will send a signed copy of “Lady Maggie’s Secret Scandal.”