Sometimes I learn about life from reading books or speaking with friends. Other times I get a blast of wisdom from a quote posted on Instagram. A good quotation makes me nod my head and applaud. “Yes, so true! I need to remember that.” The most valuable quotes share a perspective we believe to be true and helpful—but haven’t internalized yet.

I recently reached out to a group of my fabulous female friends in their fifties to find out what quotes they had posted on their bathroom mirrors or saved on their phones these days.

Anne, the director of a non-profit who raised two now-adult children mostly on her own, was the first to respond. “I love this quote from Dolly Parton: ‘The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.’” she wrote. “I love the reassurance that although life can be hard sometimes, if you work through it, something good will come out of it.”



“I really embraced this quote I saw on Instagram last year,” Rahnia, a recently divorced fourth-grade teacher, told me. “’Life became a lot simpler when I decided to let some people misunderstand me.’ It reminds me I shouldn’t spend much time worrying about what random co-workers or neighbors think of me. I have a wonderful group of friends who truly know and understand me and that’s what matters.”

Laura, a friend who I often turn to for advice, said this quote from James Clear is one she keeps coming back to: “Every action you take is a vote for the person you wish to become.” She explained, “I love the concept that I am still capable of growth. Just because I’ve always been one way doesn’t mean I always will be that way. I have the power to change, just by taking little steps every day.”

“When I am going through a tough time,” Lisa, an accounting executive with more hobbies than anyone I’ve ever met told me, “I keep coming back to this quote from Thich Nhat Hanh: ‘Resilient trees can weather a violent storm because their roots are firm and deep.’ It reminds me that I’ve done a lot of work on myself and am strong. I can handle whatever life throws at me.”

Older woman hiking, standing a pass looking into the sun

Anna, a successful, if often tired, attorney with two children under 10 years old liked this quote by Kerry Washington: “I realized that I don’t have to be perfect. All I have to do is show up and enjoy the messy, imperfect, and beautiful journey of my life.” She explained, “It’s a great reminder to be present and enjoy as much as I can, instead of constantly thinking of everything that’s still on my to-do list.”

“Here’s a quote that I love from fashion editor Laura Brown: When hung over, one should always commend oneself for one’s enthusiasm,” wrote Wendy, a part-time counselor and total bad-ass. “I think she meant it literally, like about drinking too much. But I also think about it anytime I have a vulnerability hangover or feel embarrassed that I got too excited. Whatever! I’m an enthusiastic person. I should celebrate that, not feel bad about it.”

Older african-american woman looking up and smiling

I love all these quotes. I am drawn to exploring what I can take from these mini-life lessons and apply to my own life. I believe learning and growing are important to one’s ongoing happiness, especially as we get older. Or as dancer Twyla Tharp puts it in one of my favorite quotes: “Age is not the enemy. Stagnation is the enemy. Complacency is the enemy.”

Let’s keep growing and learning from each other! Share your favorite quote below.

September 29, 2023 — Mary Catherine Horgan

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