A wonderful position

These statues in Newnan, Georgia convey the free-spirited confidence of children.
March 2014

“I’m in a wonderful position: I’m unknown, I’m underrated, and there’s nowhere to go but up.”Pierre S. DuPont IV

I loved this quote the moment I saw it, and I thought immediately of how it feels to be a child or a young person.  Though few, if any, children will think in precisely those words, DuPont has captured much of the youthful optimism so many of us have in the early years of life.

Then disappointment, failure and trouble set in, and we grow a bit wiser, but sadder.  However, for many of us, the spirit of this quote holds true regardless of our age.  Anonymity can be a blessing — just ask any superstar who can’t escape the paparazzi — and if we feel underrated at times, that simply means people will appreciate us more later, after they get to know us better.

Today, I hope you can take a few minutes to remember your happiest, most optimistic days of youth, when the world seemed full of possibilities.  Though you may not realize it, you have many advantages over that callow, somewhat naive youngster you used to be.  Reach back and grab a little of the energy and anticipation you had as a child, to mix with the sagacity that only comes with maturity.  It will be a formidable combination.

One year ago yesterday:

More than logical


  1. bobmielke

    The quote you used today brought to mind the 3 new lion cubs we have at the Oregon Zoo. The day they were introduced to their father, Zawadi, they tormented him to the point where he roared at them in frustration. Having not learned what fear is yet they stood right in front of his outburst, seemingly unphased by the mighty King of the jungle.

    We find judgement is learned skill in life, based on our daily experiences. In our youth we’re emboldened by our need to reach out, learn and experience life. We take more chances, risk more and think bigger.

    • Wow, I wish I could have seen those little cubs! I bet they are adorable. Do you have any photos posted of them yet? Be sure to let us know when/if you do. Tell Zawadi welcome to the club 😀 – parenting can be frustrating for animals too, apparently!

      • bobmielke

        I don’t have any decent video. My skills at video are terrible. I need to put more effort into my video shots instead of them being an afterthought as they are now. I have all the right gear so I may deliberately leave my still camera at home and come for bear with my video gear and see what I can do if I apply by basic photography skills to video.

        • Videos would be great but even just photos of the cubs would be adorable. That’s the sort of thing that most of us never get to see in person.

  2. raynard

    Julia, I dont believe , I’ve ” gotten on a soapbox or a “tangent( maybe a O.C.D. moment. A thought Why when some men do what you just said( they might have a Peter Pan/Michael Jackson moment and be treated like a child?. Nuff said, it was remembering when I was 5 years old that got me thru” my 30’s I digress. Are you scratching your head now going( He needs his meds or”Oprah just snatched the tissues from his hand grasshopper lol .. be blessed

    • Raynard, I think I get what you are saying – but interestingly, the author of this quote probably has so much money, power and confidence that he would be immune from such derision, or at least would not care if it did come. I think the trick to avoid the Peter Pan/Michael Jackson lack of judgment and resulting disasters is to combine the wisdom of maturity with the exuberance of childhood. Admittedly it’s not always easy, but I think it can be managed. Nothing is more endearing than a person who knows when to laugh and when to cry, when to play and when to get serious. Most of us err on one side or the other, too much this or that. Maybe those of us who are too serious should spend more time with children, and those who are immature should hang around with Old and Wise Yoda types? 😀

  3. Please pray for my husband who is bedridden but will not go to the doctor.

    • Cherie, I am so sorry to hear this. Some people can be very stubborn about going to the doctor and it is very frightening to those who love them. I will pray for him and I know many others who read these comments will pray for him as well. Please keep us posted on how he is doing.

  4. Thanks for the great words! I’ve been taught to focus on the present moment. However, I often find it helpful to think of these optimistic times from the past. Since they were true back then they can easily be true now, so I use them to create the same optimism today 🙂

    • Yes, our memories can be a curse or a blessing, depending on which memories we choose to recall. I think you are on the right track to focus mainly on the present, but our happy experiences can be a powerful ally in defeating despair. Thanks for being here!

  5. Carolyn Miller

    I have a date now for my eye surgery, June 25th, they wanted to get me in on the 11th but couldn’t. I also had to see a kidney doctor in March, just to make sure I didn’t have any problems from the chemo. Saw the doctor this morning and all is well. He made a funny, said I would never have problems until I was 52, I must be looking in the wrong mirror. I feel pretty good , would like to stop going to doctors for awhile. Hope all is good for you three. Take care.

    • Carolyn, I am SO relieved you got a good report from the doctor and have the surgery scheduled. You have been so patient to wait for it. Maybe the doctor meant “until 2052” 😀 — but in any case it all sounds good to me. Hang in there until the 25th and thanks for letting us know. Love to you and Terry.

  6. Yes, there’s nowhere to go but up! I had to remind myself that better days were ahead of me only recently. How nice to see something similar today.

    • Thank you, I’m so happy it was helpful! Sometimes when I am really discouraged it seems as if nothing will ever be better. I have to remind myself “this too shall pass.” Thanks for being here!

  7. raynard

    Julia, now that my day is over and I read your reply( cough cough 1, 2 , 1, 2 3 and”I feel pretty so so pretty,”Supercalifragilisticexpladidocious” I needed a good laugh and I made it home “just as the National Weather Service was broadcasting severe thunderstorms in our area, Thank God..blessed be one wise lol

    • Raynard, we had horrible thunderstorms here too. Wouldn’t you know it, I had some shopping errands to run so I was caught out in it. From the safety of the car, seeing the lightning flash across the sky from left to right (not up and down as usual) was really pretty, but getting wet was not fun. Luckily I cut it short and got home. Hope our flowers liked the rain. I like rainstorms as long as I don’t have to get outside.

  8. Sheila

    Julia, you must be referring to hopscotch, hula hoops, and then “Let’s Twist Again”. Wow! Isn’t it funny that eventually we’re asked, “Tell me ’bout the good old days”? I think that must be inherited! When I have 7 days under my belt I’ll confide something in you…. Clue, begins with a D and ends with a G and is 3 letters! My goodness! 👏💤

    • Oh MY what big news! I can’t wait to hear. It will probably be some time before we have any news like that to share. I hope I’m guessing correctly!

      I remember drawing hopscotch boards on the asphalt with rocks (we didn’t have any chalk). I was pretty good at it, but not ever too great at hula hoops. I also remember jumping rope where two would hold the rope and one or more would jump – all those jump-rope rhymes we would say! One of my very favorite childhood memories is of doing the hokey-pokey – that’s what it was all about! 😀

  9. Michael

    That is wonderful quote and a reminder about how much of life is colored by our attitudes. It reminds me of a Buddhist saying I came across that, “In the mind of the beginner there are many possibilities, in the mind of the expert- only a few.” This is called Beginners mind- I believe, open to many possibilities-not just a few.
    And they say in Korea- the 61st birthday is the start of our second childhood-so perhaps the quote might also apply to sentarians?

    • Michael, it might even apply to those of us who are nearly there! (Three more years to go for me.) I first read about Beginner’s Mind years ago and immediately it clicked with me. I think that whole concept is the most appealing part of Buddhist philosophy. This book is one of the first places I read about it, but I’ve seen it mentioned elsewhere. I have to say that in most ways, I think I’ve always had Beginner’s Mind (to say nothing of being stuck at Beginner’s skill level, hee-hee) and I do think that makes life quite an adventure.

  10. I don’t think I ever felt comfortable as a child. I often tend to blame the circumstances I have been in. But I remember how my elder sister remained undeterred. She has been the same all along. Life is always difficult for the most sensitive(*sigh*). Anyway, I enjoy life better now.

    • Bindu, a lot of us can identify with that, I think. I lacked confidence in most ways when I was young, and to an extent, it’s a curse that has followed me. But those areas where I did feel joy and enthusiasm were like the light of my existence. So many of us have been subjected to well-intended criticism from family members and others who obviously do care about us, and if we are sensitive, such words cut deeply. Have you ever read this author? I found her work very helpful. Thanks for being here!

  11. A retired 71-year-old breast cancer survivor with other multiple health conditions, I am grateful for this season of my life for I am again ford myself a wonderful position.

    • How encouraging that you are able to enjoy this new chapter despite having come through many perils. I am glad you are blogging and joining the conversation! There are some kinds of wisdom that can only come from experience. Thanks for being here!

  12. Michael

    I have not read that book, but have heard of it. I think the quote is from the same author- Suzuki.

    • Yes, I think he is the one who introduced that concept to most Western readers, at least in recent years.

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