Former lawyer, mother of four, and wife of former presidential candidate John Edwards, Elizabeth Edwards, 60, has endured the death of her beloved son Wade at 16, the recurrence of her breast cancer, and most recently, public revelations about her husband’s private behavior on the campaign trail. By her own admission, she knows nothing at all about avoiding adversity. “If I had special knowledge … about how to spot the pitfalls of life, I would spot them, I would avoid them, and I would share how it is I had managed that,” she writes in her new memoir, Resilience: Reflections on the Burdens and Gifts of Facing Life’s Adversities. What she does have: “a lot of experience in getting up after I have been knocked down.” That, and an unflinching ability to tell the truth about how it feels. Among her rules for living:
1. Adversity is everywhere. But so are examples of people who are making a meaningful life from the materials at hand.
“I learned that from my dad [Navy captain Vincent Anania, who died last year]. He kept making the best of what he had as his life narrowed down to virtually nothing. Even in what I knew to be his last hours, he was giving me a thumbs-up. It was a great life lesson. I speak to a lot of people with breast cancer who are feeling down about their prognosis. What I say is this: ‘Death will decide when your physical death happens. You can decide to start dying earlier.’ You see so many people who do that—they just give up. Hold on to hope as long as you can.”
2. This is what life is—feel it all.
“Right after Wade died, I said to a friend, ‘At least I had him for 16 years.’ And immediately I thought, What a stupid thing to say. It will never be enough, not for him, not for me. But the truth is, I had him for 16 years. And the day I [can’t see] the value in having 16 years with that boy is the day I cut off the edges of my life and narrow it down to a non-feeling middle. And I don’t want to live there.”
3. Take comfort where you find it.
“A man we knew who had lost his brother gave us a good piece of advice. He said, ‘People will say the wrong thing. You just have to remember that they meant to say the right thing.’ It allows you to be so much more gracious.”
Some people like to travel by train because it combines the slowness of a car with the cramped public exposure of an airplane.
I think my pilot was a little inexperienced. We were sitting on the runway, and he said, “OK, folks, we’re gonna be taking off in a just few—whoa! Here we go.”
“I can’t wait until your vacation is over.” —Everyone following you on Instagram
A man knocked on my door and asked for a donation toward the local swimming pool. So I gave him a glass of water.
Comedian Greg Davies
Just found the worst page in the entire dictionary. What I saw was disgraceful, disgusting, dishonest, and disingenuous.
Client: We need you to log in to the YouTube and make all our company videos viral.
My cat just walked up to the paper shredder and said, “Teach me everything you know.”
“Just because you can’t dance doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dance.” —Alcohol
@yoyoha (Josh Hara)
My parents didn’t want to move to Florida, but they turned 60 and that’s the law.
Q: What do you call an Amish guy with his hand in a horse’s mouth?
A: A mechanic.