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Angie #934959 08/11/21 11:36 AM
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When I grow up, I’m gonna look up from my phone and see my life.

Phoebe Bridgers

Singer-songwriter Phoebe Bridgers is known for her insightful lyrics, which often put existential questions in conversational context. She frequently waxes on themes of nostalgia, reaching for memories rather than the present moment. But these lyrics, from the track “Garden Song” off the 2020 album “Punisher,” offer a rare exception. Bridgers calls out her own distraction by technology, something many of us can likely relate to. Her words warn us not to get so lost in our screens that we miss what’s actually happening, and invite us to choose being present in order to live more fully.

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Angie #934964 08/12/21 07:31 AM
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It's one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive.

Maya Angelou

The poet Maya Angelou was eight years old when she suffered a trauma that left her ashamed of her own voice, and caused her to go mute for nearly five years. “I thought I would never speak again,” she recalled years later. For her, the process of self-forgiveness was a process of recognizing the power of her own voice. Finding her voice saved her — and continued to save her. “All these 60-odd years later,” she said in 2010, “if I am really shaken, I stop speaking — and I, then, bring myself out. I start. I sing. I speak. I speak loudly and firmly. Recite Poe and Shakespeare and James Weldon Johnson, and all, and all, and do it.”

Angie #934970 08/13/21 08:29 AM
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Be happy, take care of your teeth, always let your conscience be your guide.

Patti Smith

Pratt Institute’s class of 2010 had a kindred spirit in their commencement speaker. Punk troubadour Patti Smith was about the Brooklyn art school graduates’ age in 1967 when, like them, she moved to New York City to be an artist. Smith succeeded by refusing to confine herself to a single medium, and by interlacing her work with activism. Today, she’s a member of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, an award-winning author, and a visual artist whose drawings, silkscreens, and photographs have exhibited on three continents. Yet her humble (and humorous) parting advice underscores the importance of pure motives. “Pac[e] the floor because your muse is burning inside of you,” she said. “You don’t want to be pacing because you need a damn root canal.”

Angie #934974 08/14/21 03:36 PM
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The willingness to show up changes us. It makes us a little braver each time.

Brené Brown

In her 2012 book “Daring Greatly,” researcher and best-selling author Brené Brown explores the topics of courage and vulnerability, encouraging readers to acknowledge their fears and turn toward them. With this quote she reminds us that we get better at the things we practice, even when what we’re practicing is courage itself. Every time we take a risk we exercise that muscle, getting a little stronger and a little braver, until the things that once seemed impossible become routine.

Angie #934978 08/15/21 11:17 AM
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Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.

Søren Kierkegaard

The theologian and philosopher Soren Kierkegaard is widely considered to be the creator of existentialism. His studies led him to the idea that reflecting on our past and learning from previous experiences helps us understand our place in the world. Still, life must not be lived in the past. This quote warns us not to dwell on past regret or resentment. We have to let go in order to move forward — which is the only direction life can go.

Angie #934984 08/16/21 01:45 PM
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UMMMMMM,



To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance.

Oscar Wilde

Legendary Irish writer Oscar Wilde was a vibrant figure of late-19th-century society. He was a member of the Aesthetic movement, which upheld “art for art’s sake.” He was known as a finely dressed, decadent, and outspoken man who never tried to blend in with the crowd. Along with famous one-liners like this one, he’s well known for his books such as "The Portrait of Dorian Gray" and satirical plays such as “The Importance of Being Earnest.” Through these comedies, Wilde mocked the hypocrisies of high society, and let his sharp wit run wild, as it were. Wilde married a woman and became a father, but also had relationships with men, and was famously imprisoned for homosexuality for two years. He lived as his fullest self and openly shared his loves, tastes, and opinions, regardless of what others thought. When we validate and love ourselves, we find we have a true companion for life.

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In three words, I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: It goes on.

Robert Frost

On his 80th birthday, Robert Frost was asked, “In all your years and all your travels, what do you think is the most important thing you’ve learned about life?” You would think someone like Frost, who won the Pulitzer Prize four times, would give a colorful and poetic response, but his abridged reply was just as moving in its simplicity: “It goes on.” While Frost’s work is widely celebrated, his personal life was marked with tragedy. He lost both his parents at a young age, and outlived four of his six children before losing his wife. Yet still, life went on, and Frost found more opportunities for love and laughter. Regardless of the pain we may face, it is always possible that the best is yet to come.

Angie #934996 08/18/21 06:56 PM
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Difficulties strengthen the mind, as labor does the body.

Seneca

The Roman philosopher Seneca grew up during the first century CE in a high-born patrician family in ancient Rome. This granted him an education in philosophy and rhetoric. His oratory skills earned him a seat in the Senate and a role as Emperor Nero's advisor. Seneca's intellectual prowess formed from great practice and effort, which led him to elegantly point out that just as physical muscles grow under strain and stress, our “mental muscle” strengthens with challenges. If you want your mind to grow, give it plenty of opportunities for exercise.

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Blessed are the hearts that can bend; they shall never be broken.

Albert Camus

The French philosopher and writer Albert Camus spent his life learning to overcome difficulty. Camus lived too many of his days during wartime, including World War II, unable to escape the German invasion of Paris. Camus joined the resistance and fought with his words as the editor-in-chief of an outlawed newspaper called "Combat." His clear and consistent writing on the human conscience won him the Nobel Prize in literature in 1957. As this quote suggests, it was his ability to adapt to his circumstances that protected his heart despite the tragedies he witnessed. And as he so movingly articulated, it is a fortuitous heart that has never been broken.

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What good is warmth without cold to give it sweetness?

John Steinbeck

John Steinbeck was born in Salinas, California, where he spent the summers of his youth working on nearby ranches — the setting for much of his literary work, including "Of Mice and Men" and "East of Eden." His experiences gave him insights into the lives of the downtrodden, who often served as the protagonists in his novels. These struggles, not to mention living through the Great Depression, gave Steinbeck a greater appreciation for the good times he enjoyed. Steinbeck followed up the quote above with, "You only truly, deeply appreciate and are grateful for something when you compare and contrast it to something worse."

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