With the end of this month, this year and this decade just a whisper away, I find myself turning to stacks of my journals filled with words, musings and quotes I’ve collected over many, many years. I keep these wisdom-filled journals close at hand and close at heart as they continue to inspire, encourage and remind me how to live, how to love and yes, to laugh.

I selected some to share for the new year and new decade that are just around the corner:

1. From my beloved mentor from afar, Mr. Fred Rogers: “There are three ways to be successful. The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind.”

2. Henry Ellis shares: “The art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and hanging on.”

3. Lily Tomlin reminds us: “The trouble with the rat race is that, even if you win, you’re still a rat.”

4. “We must be willing to give up the life we planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us,” said Joseph Campbell.

5. Robert Frost tells us, “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life ... it goes on.”

6. Henry Alford keeps it real with: “And then I had the sudden revelation, a bag of assorted bagels with one garlic bagel in it, is a bag of garlic bagels.”

7. Emilie Buchwald, a heroine of mine reminds us of this truth, “Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.”

8. From poet Mary Oliver: “Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It look me years to understand that this too, was a gift.”

9. From Mizuta Masahide: “The barn burned down. I can now see the moon.”

10. Artist and poet Brian Andre shares: “There are lives I imagine without children, but none of them have the same laughter and noise.”

11. Brene Brown reminds us, “You can choose courage or you can choose comfort. You cannot have both.”

12. Rachel Carson wrote: “If a child is to keep alive his (her) inborn sense of wonder, s/he needs the companionship of at least one adult to share it, rediscovering with him (her) the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in.”

13. Last, but certainly not least, Mary Oliver nudges us with: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one, wild, precious life?”

A baker’s dozen quotes for the new year and new decade. As you venture into the newness, I hope you will also venture into Neill Public Library, where you can go on your own personal hunt for words, quotes and musings that call your name and echo for your rapt attention. Happy New Year!


Kathleen Tara Ahern is the children’s librarian at Neill Public Library.

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