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The Grey Matters

Ol’ Mark Twain is Right… Again

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Here’s a fun fact about Lou!!!

I love Mark Twain. I devour his writing. I think Huckeberry Finn is one of the best characters ever written. His satires are genius. He pulls at heart strings. I already knew a few of his famous quotes and words of advice, but I hadn’t seen them all.

I’m sure this list is just scratching the surface, but I wanted to share it with you. It made my morning even better. Maybe it’ll inspire you, too!

I originally saw the list here, but I’m going to write my own thoughts to each quote. Sound good? Yes!

1. A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval. 

I think this is even more interesting, given the women’s version, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent,” the one we all know and love by E.R. I’m all for women being strong, but perhaps we forget about men sometimes in that regard? Maybe? I’m sure this quote can be taken and “man” can mean “people.” I’m not really one to be bothered by the word man. Yet I really liked this bit of advice because it brings to light how uncomfortable anyone, men and women, can be in their own skin. You have to allow yourself to like yourself. Be your own biggest fan. It doesn’t mean conceit. It means being comfortable.

tie dye, road to rich's, writer, fiction

thumbs up to you!

You’ll find yourself going about your day with a smile or a small sense of pride and accomplish in what you do. If you’re going to “waste time,” approve of it and let yourself have a great day at home in your sweatpants. Then, wake up early, get dressed, and get everything done the next day.

2. Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.

I’ve done this. I’ve griped about my age. I’m 24!!! I know this is SILLY!!! But we’ve all done it. I didn’t even want to turn 16 because 15 (half way to 30) was good enough for me. Crazy.

age 15... do I want to return? Not really.

age 15… do I want to return? Not really.

Let’s start a revolution. I almost wish that years weren’t charted and age was never discussed. After all, I’ve met people in their 50’s who seem younger than that 30 year old I just talked to. When I was little I imagined the age of 50 to be little old blue haired grannies. That is soooo not that case. Not anymore. When I was really into rock climbing I saw my boss from work there, and he kicked every young guy’s butts when it came to climbing hard routes. He can do anything. Being young at heart isn’t just a cliche, it’s real. I believe it’s real.

I think this is the recipe for being young at heart and not minding your age:

— laughing instead of fretting

–smiling rather than frowning (smile wrinkles look better!)

— talking and conversing rather than being trapped in your own head

— breathe some fresh air, see life happening around you (like planting a small garden. lots of older people who seem young are the type who love to be outside. not a coincidence!)

— loving rather than hating (forgiving rather than grudging)

3. Humor is mankind’s greatest blessing.

  Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.

Laughter is simply the best way to live life. Surround yourself with it. Laugh when you want to get upset. It is a blessing. Why did God make us into beings who do this weird breathing that sounds goofy and it’s uncontrollable? I mean, what IS laughter, really? I can hardly describe it. Sometimes my laughter is completely silent… that’s only for the very funniest of moments.

lobster, cooking, mark twin


mark twain quotes

us, imitating our chickens. you can’t imagine how funny he is.

I am one of those people who believes that laughter truly heals. Enjoy this blessing!

4. Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.

Oh, man. Same with resentment, hatred and jealousy. This year was a big one for me when it comes to anger and forgiveness and the like. I forgave people I never thought I would. I was also forgiven in the most gracious of ways…over and over again.

And I realized: the happiest people I know don’t hold in anger. I rarely see them angry. It isn’t a part of their lives.

writing, mark twain, hey lou, farming, backyard

Forgiveness, 7X70…is huge for us <3

When I forgave people I’d been so glad to stay angry with, the weight was lifted off of my shoulders almost immediately. I felt lighter after walking away from a conversation in which forgiveness was a part. Being angry only affects one person… YOU.

5. Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.

Damn, Mark. I’m so glad the world was graced with his presence. I love this. Don’t feel entitled to anything.

That’s it for that one.

6. A person with a new idea is crank until the idea succeeds. 

Has anyone ever looked at you with complete doubt after you’ve shared an idea with them? It’s probably happened to us all. There’s a good chance no one will believe in your idea. Not until it “works.” Here we circle back to #1. (approve of yourself!) 

7. Drag your thoughts away from your troubles… by the ears, by the heels, or any other way you can manage it.

Just DO IT! Not talking about Nike here. I’m talking about forgetting your trouble and moving on. Mark says to do this any possible way.

Boot straps might help.

mark twain quotes, coffee, flowers, roasting, chickens, marriage, writing


I say, wake up one day and be better. Move on. Be stronger than what’s happened to you. You can do this. Even if you have to drag through the mud to get to the pretty flowers.

8. The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up.

Here we go, #7. We found a way to pull ourselves up out of a slump. Help someone else! I think Huck Finn could give us a lesson or two on this. He was always concerned for Jim in ways no one had ever had concern for him.

Hint: This doesn’t have to mean just people. Focusing on a pet could work, too. For most people this is a dog or cat. For me, it’s chickens.

chicken coop, raising chickens, baby chicks

proud moment for this mom

Here’s a big secret: I was in a huge downer slump when we got our baby chickens. I was. But once we had little lives to take care of, I found myself trudging through that mud. I want to give my chickens the BEST life… I want them to be the happiest chickens on planet Earth. Through that I’ve found happiness in ways I never thought possible.

9. Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did so. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

Disclaimer— this does NOT mean YOLO and not giving a hoot about others. 

Going on all of those adventures will be a whole lot more fun if you have your friends and loved ones by your side. If you need to go off on your own, do it. It is a part of the adventure. But don’t throw all care away to indulge yourself. There’s a fine line.

mark twain, writing, tie-dye festival, music, new mexico, fiction

me at a hippy musical festival… a place I never thought I’d be in a million years!

But my all means, explore every single day. Discover something new. Allow your mind to be challenged. Let yourself be blown around, because maybe the wind (God) knows more about your own life than you do.

And that’s all folks! I hoped this cheered you up the way it did for me.

Good Old Mark.


Lou, the lover of Huckleberry



Author: Melinda Haas

Melinda is a writer, blogger, artist and teacher. She lives in Wisconsin with her family.

One thought on “Ol’ Mark Twain is Right… Again

  1. I’m convinced…I’ll paint that fence for you anytime!

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