What the Frick Does That Mean, Coco Chanel?

Do you ever ponder how a quote becomes a quote? Do people just quote a quote so often it becomes a quote? Or does it have to reach a certain number on the relatability factor before it can be deserving of that little dash and the speaker’s name after it?

To decide, let’s consider this one, by Dr. Seuss:

“Fun is good.”

Huh. The simplicity is definitely attractive in this quote, but I could probably string these three words together myself. In essence, I could have said this quote. In fact, I probably did say it. So, how is it fair that it gets credited to one person?

Let’s try another, by Confucius:

To know what you know and what you do not know, that is true knowledge.

Thanks for that wisdom, Confucius. Just one question: how am I supposed to know what I don’t know if I don’t know it? Didn’t really think that one through, did ya? (Tongue firmly in cheek, mind you, but you have to admit, he could have taken a few more years to think about this one. Just so there’s no Confucius confusion.)

And finally, we have the fashion icon, Coco Chanel:

Don’t spend time beating on a wall, hoping to transform it into a door.

Like, okay. I get it. Don’t try to change something that you can’t change. But how do you know it’s a “wall” not a “door”? What if it just needs a doorknob? Maybe your beating translates to knocking and someone answers it? And how do you know when to stop?

Now, you would probably argue that these people had other quotes that hit home. That these may not be shining examples of their intellect, but these are still incredibly wise people we’re talking about. (Or quoting about.)

And yes, you would be right. Which proves two things about life: one, that even the best and most interesting people don’t always make sense. Yes, truly successful people can sometimes produce non-masterpieces. Yes, they can create badly. And actually, this is what makes them great. Because they are willing to say things that don’t really work in the hopes that they will strike upon something that does.

Which brings me to my second point. These quotes may not appeal to me. They may not ring true for my life.  But they could be important to someone else. Maybe someone needs to be reminded that “Fun is good” on a daily basis. Maybe they need to accept that they don’t know everything. Maybe they need to remember that they can stop when it gets too hard. This is what is so rich and inviting about our lives: we’re on different paths, and yet there is still a universality to our experiences.

So, maybe Coco Chanel knew what she was talking about. And then again, maybe she didn’t. The best part is that you or I don’t have to decide. Just don’t quote me on that.

How To Give This Holiday Season

It does not matter what you celebrate. There is always a moment in the holiday season when you will say, “Crap. I didn’t get something for so and so.” Or “So and so bought me something, but I didn’t get something for them.” And you end up re-gifting something in your own closet or bookshelf just because you don’t want them to think that you are a bad person or that you weren’t thinking of them.

Unfortunately, I can’t help you with that little scenario above. That is going to happen until the end of time. I bet cavemen even did that. Like, Ugh, I got a rock for Bah, but she did not get anything for me. I’m going to write about this on my cave wall diary. 

Because people are forgetful to start with and that will only increase every year around this time.

But I can help you with deciding whether you should get someone a present in the first place. You know, when you aren’t sure if you should give a gift because of some awkward etiquette rules or because you think that they won’t get you something in return. Well, I’m going to make this seriously easy for you. Do it. Get them something. Something small, if you must. But just go ahead and do it.

Why?

Because there is absolutely nothing wrong with getting a gift for someone that has made your day or helped you along the way. Don’t think of it as a preemptive strike. Just think of it as putting good vibes out there. Making someone smile. There’s nothing wrong with that after all, and as far as I can tell, there will never be.

Your mailperson, zumba instructor, favorite barista, co-worker, boss, dog groomer, toll taker, pizza delivery person, masseuse, hairstylist, or caddy will not forget that you thought of them this holiday season.

So, forget the rules. Forget that it might make a situation awkward. Instead, think more of what conversations it could start up. What you might gain from a thoughtful gift between you and a new friend.

Think of what could be, instead of what is. That is what the holiday season is all about.