Altered Adages

June 03, 2011

I love a good adage. You know—a pithy little combo of words that sums up a principle for living in an easily-remembered fashion. To make things interesting—or confusing, as the case may be—adages can be contradictory: “Birds of a feather flock together” vs. “Opposites attract,” or “Many hands make light work” vs. “Too many cooks spoil the broth.” Since I love playing with words, I tweaked a few adages to see if I could come up with some new ones. Here are three for your consideration:

“Money is time.” Actually, I stumbled on this phrase in the book A Writer’s Time, by Kenneth Atchity. While it’s true that time is money, it also works the other way round. Sometimes convenience is worth paying for. Paying someone to do errands or chores, for example, can free us up to do other valuable and important things.

“Bloom where you aren’t planted.” We’ve all heard we should “bloom where we are planted”—accept our circumstances and allow ourselves to blossom and grow, even if our situation isn’t ideal. But what if you know your circumstances are temporary? Maybe you’re two years away from an empty nest, you know you’ll be transferred by your employer, or you’re a student about to graduate and move into a new stage of life. Are you putting off really living until your circumstances change? Don’t wait for that change. Start blooming right now.

Do you see trees or forest? Or both?
“Can’t see the trees for the forest.” The original adage (“can’t see the forest for the trees”) reminds us it’s possible to overlook the big picture by being distracted by the details. However, sometimes looking at the whole can be overwhelming, making us unable to see the individual small steps that can take us to our goal.

Do you have any favorite adages? Which one(s) would you alter?

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  1. Hi Kathy,

    I really enjoyed this post and how by rearranging the words a bit you found other helpful meanings.

    I did a post yesterday comparing different lifestyles to different fair rides, lol.

    Have a wonderful week,

    Kathy M.

  2. Kathy--Thanks for your comment. I just read your post, and I love the analogy of the ferris wheel!

  3. I don't know if this fits but you know the glass half-full, half-empty one right? Well I heard someone describe the glass as always full as air takes up what the liquid does not and I really like that idea. We are never in a void. If we are spreading happiness (half-full) then it multiplies and if we are spreading misery (half-empty) then again we are multiplying. But either way, our feelings play on everyone around us. Have you ever heard people say they could "cut the atmosphere with a knife"? That's the half-empty mode reaching it's fingers into taking the joy out of everyone around. I try to live glass-full but don't always make it. So I like knowing that if nothing else, my days of seeming half-empty are not really. They are only one part of the full glass and it seems to help pick me up. That's a lot for a little saying isn't it? I guess that's why I am picking it for my current favorite!

  4. Timaree--that's an awesome example! I think it fits perfectly. I like using adages as a pick-me-up.