Subject: Celebrating the Journey: Special Edition
Welcome to Celebrating the Journey!
Friday, November 15, 2002
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. Welcome Notes
2. Anna Quindlen’s 2002 Commencement Speech
to the Graduates of Villanova
1. Welcome Notes
As you know, Celebrating the Journey has been on
hiatus for several months while I have been on a
marvelous journey of discovery, growth, play and
joy, away from the online world for much of the
time. I had planned to begin regular publishing once
again today, November 15.
Unfortunately, I am having wrist problems related to
working on my computer and have been “strongly
encouraged” to stay off my keyboard as much as
possible. In order to allow myself the time to heal, I
am delaying the return of Celebrating the Journey
until the first Friday of 2003.
Thank you to the many of you who have written,
wondering when CTJ is returning. It is gratifying to
know that we are an appreciated part of your lives.
Thanks for both your interest and your patience.
You can read archived issues of CTJ at
https://www.tothesummit.com/archive. I appreciate
your patience and look forward to bringing you
Celebrating the Journey once again in the new year.
Until then I offer you Anna Quindlen’s marvelous
speech as a reminder of what is really important in
life. Enjoy your journey and this holiday time. May
the remainder of 2002 bring you peace, freedom,
laughter, and boundless love.
2. Anna Quindlen’s Wisdom
It’s a great honor for me to be the third member of
my family to receive an honorary doctorate from this
It’s an honor to follow my great Uncle Jim, who was a
gifted physician, and my Uncle Jack, who is a
remarkable businessman. Both of them could have
told you something important about their
professions, about medicine or commerce.
I have no specialized field of interest or expertise,
which puts me at a disadvantage talking to you
I’m a novelist.
My work is human nature. Real life is all I know.
Don’t ever confuse the two, your life and your work.
The second is only part of the first.
Don’t ever forget what a friend once wrote Senator
Paul Tsongas when the senator decided not to run for
reelection because he had been diagnosed with
cancer: “No man ever said on his deathbed, ‘I wish I
had spent more time at the office.'”
Don’t ever forget the words my father sent me on a
postcard last year: “If you win the rat race, you’re
still a rat.”
Or what John Lennon wrote before he was gunned
down in the driveway of the Dakota: “Life is what
happens while you are busy making other plans.”
You will walk out of here this afternoon with only
one thing that no one else has. There will be hundreds
of people out there with your same degree; there will
be thousands of people doing what you want to do
for a living. But you will be the only person alive who
has sole custody of your life. Your particular life. Your
entire life. Not just your life at a desk, or your life on
a bus, or in a car, or at the computer. Not just the life
of your mind, but the life of your heart. Not just your
bank account but your soul.
People don’t talk about the soul very much anymore.
It’s so much easier to write a resume than to craft a
spirit. But a resume is a cold comfort on a winter
night, or when you’re sad, or broke, or lonely, or
when you’ve gotten back the test results and they’re
not so good.
Here is my resume:
I am a good mother to three children. I have tried
never to let my profession stand in the way of being a
I no longer consider myself the center of the universe.
I show up.
I try to laugh.
I am a good friend to my husband. I have tried to
make marriage vows mean what they say.
I am a good friend to my friends, and they to me.
Without them, there would be nothing to say to you
today, because I would be a cardboard cutout. But I
call them on the phone, and I meet them for lunch.
I would be rotten, or at best mediocre at my job, if
those other things were not true. You cannot be
really first rate at your work if your work is all you
So here’s what I wanted to tell you today:
Get a life. A real life, not a manic pursuit of the next
promotion, the bigger paycheck, the larger house.
Do you think you’d care so very much about those
things if you blew an aneurysm one afternoon, or
found a lump in your breast?
Get a life in which you notice the smell of salt water
pushing itself on a breeze over Seaside Heights, a life
in which you stop and watch how a red tailed hawk
circles over the water or the way a baby scowls with
concentration when she tries to pick up a Cheerio
with her thumb and first finger.
Get a life in which you are not alone. Find people you
love, and who love you. And remember that love is
not leisure, it is work. Pick up the phone. Send an
e-mail. Write a letter.
Get a life in which you are generous. And realize that
life is the best thing ever, and that you have no
business taking it for granted. Care so deeply about
its goodness that you want to spread it around. Take
money you would have spent on beers and give it to
charity. Work in a soup kitchen. Be a big brother or
sister. All of you want to do well. But if you do not do
good too, then doing well will never be enough.
It is so easy to waste our lives, our days, our hours,
our minutes. It is so easy to take for granted the color
of our kids’ eyes, the way the melody in a symphony
rises and falls and disappears and rises again It is so
easy to exist instead of to live.
I learned to live many years ago. Something really,
really bad happened to me, something that changed
my life in ways that, if I had my druthers, it would
never have been changed at all. And what I learned
from it is what, today, seems to be the hardest lesson of all:
I learned to love the journey, not the destination. I
learned that it is not a dress rehearsal, and that today
is the only guarantee you get.
I learned to look at all the good in the world and try
to give some of it back because I believed in it,
completely and utterly. And I tried to do that, in part,
by telling others what I had learned.
By telling them this: Consider the lilies of the field.
Look at the fuzz on a baby’s ear. Read in the
backyard with the sun on your face.
Learn to be happy.
And think of life as a terminal illness, because if you
do, you will live it with joy and passion as it ought to
Give yourself the gift of loving the journey this week.
Hiring a Life Coach is a great way to be supported in
taking the steps that will lead you to your own
dreams. Margo has a few slots open for motivated
clients who want to shift from, “I like my life,” to,
“I love my life!!!” Visit our website at
https://www.tothesummit.com for additional
resources and tools. To schedule a consultation,
send an e-mail to mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
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My purpose in publishing Celebrating the Journey
is to provide you with resources, motivation,
inspiration and energy for YOUR journey of
creating success and freedom in all areas of your
life. CTJ will use stories from my life and others,
coaching tips and resources, quotes and humor to
deliver a learning experience that can enhance your
life. I am always looking for comments, ideas and
ways to improve CTJ. I welcome your e-mails at
Copyright © 2002, all rights reserved, by Margo
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“Until he extends his circle of compassion to include
all living things, man will not himself find peace.”
Coach, Speaker, Author, Therapist
Partnering you in having success,
freedom and joy in all areas of your life
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