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The age of 'I'

Posted Wednesday, June 3, 2009, at 10:53 AM

People, or at least most people, are more self-centered than in years past.

That's obvious if you look at quotations.

One of my jobs at the T-G is to choose the quotes in 'Just a Thought" at the bottom of most days' front pages.

I try to find one each day that's more or less motivational or will maybe encourage people. Most come from one or two particular quote compilation websites.

Too many of those quotes come from individuals from so many years in the past -- authors, business executives, scientists, etc. -- that hardly anyone remembers them, if they've heard of them at all. Those folks shouldn't be forgotten, but I'd like to also quote people now or recently active.

I was glad to find one good quote by rock singer Alanis Morissette the other day. Most of today's achievers and celebrities, though, tend to start almost every sentence with "I" and sound somewhat whiny.

In other words, instead of general advice for others, they simply talk about themselves.

But more outwardly-focused persons do exist.

Consider these words:

(The writer talks about mistakes...)"However, as time goes on, if those same mistakes are still being made then you realize that you're not progressing but also you are jeopardizing your reputation and integrity. And if there's one thing I've learned is those things are almost never able to be fixed after they are broken."

And these:

"If there is any doubt in your mind that you won't succeed, you will NOT succeed!"

And this thought:

"Dwelling on past failures hinders future success."

These are the words of Jonathan White, 2004 Central High graduate who went on to play baseball at Vanderbilt, in a T-G guest column. He's young -- and obviously full of wisdom. I actually used one of his quotes in 'Just a Thought' a while back.

So there are a few wise, younger people still out there.

I suspect, or at least hope, that there are still lots more thinking people who simply aren't being heard from. Unfortunately, usually it's the self-absorbed celebrities who have the loudest voices.

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The last page of the Woman's Day magazine lists quotations. The June 2 issue has 7 quotes. They include Harriet Beecher Stowe, Winston Churchill, John Updike, Erma Bombeck, James Brady, Cate Blanchett, and Jennifer Lopez. The last 2 were very good, and when I read them I actually thought that perhaps an agent or staff person wrote them. That was terrible of me. Just because someone is an entertainer doesn't mean she isn't intelligent.

Jennifer Lopez is quoted as saying "Beauty is only skin deep. I think what's really important is finding a balance of mind, body and spirit."

Cate Blanchett said "If you know you are going to fail, then fail gloriously."

-- Posted by bettyhbrown on Wed, Jun 3, 2009, at 9:07 PM

When I walked away from a bad relationship with a 3 year old son, my step-father told me:

"Ain't no need in me crying over spilled milk, learn from it and move on". So I did and I was much happier, and life seem to be much better for me and my son.

Power of suggestion:

My step-father also use to tell me, "That I am going to wake up one day and the world is going to pass me by". I was still in school, I did not care to watch the news, or read the news paper, all I wanted to do was hang out with my friends, go to school, work and back home to go to bed. It may held some truth in his saying back then.

He also told me, "You are going to have a house full of children". I did not have any kids at the time (20 years ago), but right now I have 3 children and pregnant with a fourth; ages: 16,10,4, and I have 3 step children 23,21,19 and one step-grandson age about 2 that do not live with us. Maybe their is some truth in his saying...

-- Posted by Momof3&3step&1gran on Wed, Jun 3, 2009, at 4:11 PM

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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.