Over a year ago, I borrowed Hitch-22 from the library. Christopher Hitchens was an iconoclast, writer, and contrarian, and this is his autobiography.

I find reading about others’ lives fascinating, and I tried desperately to like the book. It was something I wanted to like, something I felt like I should read. I’m still less than halfway through it, but I maintain that there remains hope.

Hope renewed by the discovery of this quote:

“Beware the irrational, however seductive. Shun the ‘transcendent’ and all who invite you to subordinate or annihilate yourself. Distrust compassion; prefer dignity for yourself and others. Don’t be afraid to be thought arrogant or selfish. Picture all experts as if they were mammals. Never be a spectator of unfairness or stupidity. Seek out argument and disputation for their own sake; the grave will supply plenty of time for silence. Suspect your own motives, and all excuses. Do not live for others any more than you would expect others to live for you.”

Words worth thinking about; good advice to live by.

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I stumbled across a post out in the blogosphere titled “75 Happiness Quotes to Live By,” and thought I’d share. After all, it’s a Saturday, the sun is shining, it’s summertime: What’s not to be happy about?

Here were some of my favourites:

10. If you settle for just anything, you’ll never know what you’re truly worthy of.

25. In life, you get what you put in. Everything comes back around.

31. […] Compare yourself to who you were yesterday.

42. You are always free to do something that makes you smile.

53. Sometimes you need to be alone to reflect on life. Take time out to take care of yourself. You deserve it.

54. The good things we build end up building us.

56. The difference between who you are and who you want to be, is what you do.

63. When you find yourself cocooned in isolation and despair and cannot find your way out of the darkness, remember that this is similar to the place where caterpillars go to grow their wings.

71. Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.

73. Sometimes you just have to look back at your past and smile about how far you’ve come.

74. Just because it didn’t last forever, doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth your while.

 

Be happy.

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Charlie Chaplin in The Great Dictator (1940):

“I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be an emperor. That’s not my business. I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone, if possible, Jew, gentile, black man, white. We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each other’s happiness – not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another.

In this world there is room for everyone. And the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way. Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical. Our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost.

The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men, cries out for universal brotherhood, for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world – millions of despairing men, women and little children – victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people.

To those who can hear me, I say – do not despair. The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed – the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people and so long as men die, liberty will never perish.

Soldiers! Don’t give yourselves to brutes – men who despise you – enslave you – who regiment your lives – tell you what to do – what to think or what to feel! Who drill you, diet you, treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder. Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men – machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines! You are not cattle! You are men! You have the love of humanity in your hearts. You don’t hate! Only the unloved hate – the unloved and the unnatural!

Soldiers! Don’t fight for slavery! Fight for liberty! In the 17th Chapter of St. Luke it is written: “the Kingdom of God is within man” – not one man nor a group of men, but in all men! In you! You, the people have the power – the power to create machines. The power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure.

Then, in the name of democracy, let us use that power! Let us all unite! Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give youth the future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power, but they lie! They do not fulfill their promise; they never will. Dictators free themselves, but they enslave the people! Now, let us fight to fulfill that promise! Let us fight to free the world, to do away with national barriers, to do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness.

Soldiers! In the name of democracy, let us all unite!”

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I’ve been wanting to blog for several weeks, but really haven’t had much time. And on the days where I have had an hour or five to spare, I just simply never thought to write. (How journalistic of me…)

The truth is, when I touched down in Vancouver after an exciting couple of weeks in Wainwright, I was raring to continue to write and produce stories, to read news and to tackle my big long list of journalism-related goals.

But to be frank, life here just isn’t anywhere near as exciting, and my energy soon dissolved into a missing-the-military funk.

And then I saw this Buddha quote: “Be where you are; otherwise you will miss your life.” (That is a complete lie. I just found this on wisdomquotes.com. But I really should have seen this quote.)

Anyways, I decided to let things happen, and happen they did. Here is a big long update on everything I have been doing since my last post.

I tweeted not too long ago about my new job: I am a sales associate with a development company called Genex, pre-selling units in a South Surrey apartment building called Gemini. It’s a fantastic job with great hours, and it’s a good opportunity to learn a little about real estate, the market and the process that takes place from construction to home ownership.

At the end of May, I played my first round of golf. I also tweeted about this (see, I’ve at least made a small effort to remain in the social media loop) and about how ridiculously unprepared I was.

I had volunteered to golf for a Kwantlen Eagles’ golf club fundraiser, and was in the only student foursome there. I was grouped with three male golfers, all of whom had their own clubs, and was one of the few women actually golfing. I also wore a dress and cute pink-snakeskin flats because I was under the impression that golf was a classy affair.

Long story short, it rained, my hair was disgusting, and so were my cold grassy feet. But I had a great time, and outshot some of the guys on occasion. Unfortunately, everyone now knows me as the girl who wore the girly shoes.

More recently, I went to see Bruno Mars in concert. He was absolutely phenomenal, and I swear he was singing directly to me the entire time. Janelle Monae was one of the opening acts, and she was very entertaining as well.

Even more recently, I was fortunate enough to receive one of Surrey’s Top 25 under 25 awards through the Surrey Board of Trade. I knew five of the other recipients, and it was nice to see some of my peers be recognized for their achievements in the community.

This past weekend, I attended a Miss White Rock reunion, which was organized by my sister, and current Miss White Rock, @ChloeWoodin and her team of ambassadors. The pageant has been running for over 50 years, and has drastically changed since its days as a beauty competition.

It was nice to meet some of the women from years ago, and swap experiences. The current ambassadors are compiling a scrapbook of all of the years, which I’ve heard may eventually find a home in the soon-to-be newly renovated White Rock Museum.

These have been the highlights of my summer thus far, and I’m sure there will be more to come.

However, I will not vow to blog as they happen, or to update you any more than I have been, because, as Mark Twain always says, “to promise not to do a thing is the surest way in the world to make a body want to go and do that very thing.”

Gotta love quote sites.

Tweet me!

@HayleyWoodin

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