My Own Aphorisms
Micro-Stories and Secrets to Ponder and Inspire
After reading Sarah Manguso’s 300 Arguments I started making a list of my own aphorisms as a fun writing project. What is an aphorism, you ask? Dictionary.com defines Aphorism as “a terse saying embodying a general truth, or astute observation.”
I like to think of them as secrets, or even micro-stories. Usually, only a sentence or two long, aphorisms express general principles or observations about life. Here are twenty-five of my own aphorisms:
1. I hugged someone today and I let go first, and I felt bad for doing that. I wondered if the person I was hugging noticed and thought anything. I hate that I did notice. Hugs shouldn’t be noticed for any reason more than what they are and why, and certainly shouldn’t make us feel bad for anything.
2. I didn’t know the difference between Dementia and Alzheimer’s so I Googled them. I learned Alzheimer’s is a form of Dementia. No matter what you call it, they are both thieves. They rob us of our identity and our memories.
3. I wish I had tons of friends vying for my attention. I’d always be busy and sociable. I know people like that. I don’t have friends like that. They’re just acquaintances because I don’t vie for their attention; they don’t vie for mine. Still, I bet those people are just as lonely as I am without all those friends. They just have lots of acquaintances to help them forget the loneliness.
4. My life is a stream of poor decisions, and regrets about not taking chances, and caring too much about what others might think about those chances had I taken them.
5. I stopped being fashionable and stopped worrying about my looks in my mid-twenties because in my late twenties I got what I wanted: someone who’d settle for me and wasn’t worried about me keeping up appearances. Still, when I catch another person’s interest I wonder what might have been had I dressed smarter, styled my hair, and used moisturizer.
6. Each afternoon when I leave work I see parents in the parking lot picking up their kids from work. It reminds me of when my mom used to pick me up every afternoon from grade school. I was always so happy to see her at the end of each day. I wish someone would pick me up from work and ask me how my day was while driving me home. I miss that feeling.
7. Student loans and credit card debt don’t define who you are, but they will define what you can do.
8. I laugh at nicknames people at work have for other coworkers. It’s a secret we share. Then I wonder what secrets they share with other coworkers about me.
9. No one has called me a derogatory name to my face that I can remember since grade school, but I’m sure as an adult I’ve been called plenty of names behind my back. That’s the difference between bullies as a child and bullies you have as an adult. Your childhood bullies aren’t afraid to call you names to your face, and those hurt so much you never forget them. At least with adult faceless bullies, I can pretend there are none.
10. I wish I had more compassion and empathy about things in life. I used to. I’m not sure what stole them away. I can’t even think of a compassionate role model. It’s as if everyone stopped caring.
11. I unfriended a dead person on Facebook today. “Unfriended” is such a horrible word, but in a way, it felt good to let go. They were not a relative or even a close friend. Just a neighbor I knew as a child. I think if they were someone closer or even related, I could never let go as in “unfriend” them. Facebook makes our lives and our connections so complicated sometimes.
12. Part of me still wants to be a novelist. Part of me doesn’t. The part of me that doesn’t feels that way because my previous books feel like a failed attempt at making money. It’s easy to say we shouldn’t write for the money, but when it comes down to it we’d all still cash the check.
13. I always look forward to the weekend, but when you lead a boring life you also look forward to it being over.
14. Everyone wants to be wooed. It’s fun to play hard-to-get when you are young. But like the boy who cried wolf, sooner or later people stop wooing. That’s how you know, intentional or not, you’ve given yourself a reputation.
15. I hate routines. I’m also a victim of them. They control you. Wake up. Bathe. Dress. Go to work. Come home. Eat. Undress. Go to bed. Wake up and do it all again. I like it when something unexpected breaks my routine. I also hate that something so trivial as an unexpected interruption gives me a thrill these days.
16. Warm beverages, like coffee and tea, are a necessity. They provide comfort and are easily replaceable, unlike a really good lover.
17. I can remember very intimate moments with past lovers, even some whose names I can’t recall, relive every detail in my head right down to places, positions, and particulars. I’m glad I have those kinds of memories. I wonder if the lovers ever remember it the way I do if they remember me at all.
18. Sometimes I like to think about how things might have been had I stayed in school, not moved here, or never met this person. It’s hard to encompass those sorts of things since you don’t know what other paths you might have taken, but it’s fun to fantasize.
19. I hate people who constantly complain, and I find myself constantly complaining about those people. But there are completely different other reasons to hate me.
20. I have a penchant for blank notebooks and black and white Mead journals. I don’t fill enough of them.
21. Most of my life has felt temporary. “This will get better. There’s got to be something else.” I’ve always been working toward something permanent, but nothing in life is.
22. I wish I’d done more illegal or taboo things in my youth. Smoked marijuana. Cocaine. Fewer inhibitions about sex. Hard liquor. Cigars even. I don’t think I’d be as uptight as I am today.
23. I slowly feel myself falling out of love with books. I used to read twenty or more a year. Now I might read three or four. Like everything else we fall in love with, reading feels like a chore.
24. People don’t take chances because they are afraid of failure. Sadly, it takes years to realize that. Years of not taking chances, and years of failing anyway.
25. Sometimes I ask myself, “Am I too old to be doing this?” But my actions are a result of not doing it enough when I was of age.