Podcast 74: Choose the Quote for Your Yearbook Page, Use the Strategy of Pairing, and Some Thoughts about the Four Tendencies.

It’s time for the next installment of  “Happier with Gretchen Rubin.

Update: If you want to take the Four Tendencies quiz, it’s here, to find out if you’re an Upholder, Questioner, Obliger, or Rebel. What would be some good questions to pose to children, to help identify their Tendencies?

Try This at Home: Pick your “yearbook quote.” What quote would you choose? Among others mentioned, Elizabeth’s quotation comes from Kurt Vonnegut’s Welcome to the Monkey House. Let us know: what quote would you choose?

If you want to sign up for the “Moment of Happiness,” my free daily email newsletter with a terrific quotation, sign up here.

Better Than Before Habit Strategy: The Strategy of Pairing is one of the simplest — and for many people, one of the most effective — of the 21 strategies of habit change that I identify in Better Than Before.

Listener Question: Laura asks, “Elizabeth and Gretchen, what are the Tendencies of your parents?” Interesting question. Again, if you want to take the Four Tendencies quiz, it’s here

Gretchen’s Demerit: I’m kicking myself for not realizing that Eleanor won’t have a way to take photos at summer camp — they have a strict no-cell-phone policy.

Elizabeth’s Gold Star: Elizabeth gives a gold star to her writing partner Sarah for encouraging her to go to the Podcast Movement conference.

Remember,  I’m doing weekly live videos on my Facebook Page about the podcast. To join the conversation, tune in Tuesdays at 1:00 p.m. Eastern.

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Happier with Gretchen Rubin - Podcast #74

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  • Sydney

    I’m sure that as a senior in high school my quote would have been some embarrassing song lyric. Now, however, I know exactly what I’d choose! “Be bright in the corner where you are.” I studied abroad in South Africa in college, and worked at a children’s home there. We had chapel every morning and this was a song the children would sing. It’s a beautiful reminder to look on the bright side and choose happiness, even when times are tough.

  • Catherine W

    My yearbook quote: I kept the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads onto way, I doubted if I should ever come back. (Thanks to Robert Frost.)

    My habit pairing strategy: I floss in the shower. No more deciding whether to floss with the morning or evening brushing – and putting both opportunities off.

  • statmam

    Because children’s brains are still morphing, are we sure that one’s final adult tendency will always be apparent in childhood? Also, children are frequently constrained in ways that adults are not, and those restrictions may mask the natural tendency. For instance, when I was a child, most people would have identified me as an upholder. But as a child I had limited autonomy, and it didn’t occur to me that saying “no” to an adult was really an option. Now, as an autonomous adult, I am definitely a questioner.

    • gretchenrubin

      Yes, I think it’s very true that for some children, their Tendency isn’t apparent until they’re more grown up – as in your case.
      Some children, it’s much easier to see very early.

  • Courtney

    I don’t think my high school did quotes (as I recall). But here’s the one I’d pick now:

    Some luck lies in not getting what you thought you wanted but getting what you have, which once you have got it you may be smart enough to see is what you would have wanted had you known. –Garrison Keillor

    • gretchenrubin

      Terrific!

  • Tara

    My High School Yearbook quote “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.” ~The Beatles from the end of their Abby Road album. I still really love it today!

    • gretchenrubin

      A great quotation!

  • Jennifer Pratt

    I am not sure if it was my official High School quote but I am pretty sure it was – “To love another person is to see the face of God” from Les Miserables. One of my best friends in high school made a decorative plaque for me with this quote and I had it on my wall for YEARS! It is still one of my favorites.

    • gretchenrubin

      What a great gift —

  • Mimi Gregor

    We didn’t have senior quotes when I went to high school, but this is what I would pick in this moment:

    “Success is about a happy life, and a happy life is just a string of happy moments. But most people do not allow the happy moments because they are so busy trying to get a happy life.” –Abraham

    • gretchenrubin

      Interesting!

      I wonder if it’s just as true the other way – “some people do not get a happy life because they are so busy trying to get happy moments.”
      The opposite of a profound truth is also true!

  • Kathleen Paley

    Great episode!

    Yearbooks quote now, nearly 20 years post-high school:
    “Tell me, what is it you plan to do /
    with your one wild and precious life?”
    – Mary Oliver

    Also, this Questioner does drive barefoot – because there’s no good reason for a restriction against it!

    As for pairing (kinda): I eat dessert only when my husband wants it too. He’s very fit and doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth, so that keeps my ice cream habit in check.

    • gretchenrubin

      Great quotation – and I love that pairing!

  • Odette Bragg

    I have two quotes that I would choose now:
    – When I need courage, I remember Eleanor Roosevelt’s quote: “You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
    – And if that doesn’t work, my other go-to is from Jonathan Livingston Seagull, when Jonathan’s mentor says, “You must begin by knowing you have already arrived.”
    Love your podcast!

    • gretchenrubin

      Very intriguing quotatations.

  • Dana

    Hi Gretchen and Elizabeth,
    My yearbook had a section where parents would write in (instead of seniors like you described in the podcast). Parents would send in a baby picture and write a little note of well wishes to their graduating senior. Many of these included quotes and it was fun to read and look at classmates baby pics. My parents closed with “Carpe Diem”. I felt that this was their wish to me as I went onto college and beyond, so I have adopted it as my motto. It is always helpful to remind myself to “Seize the day!” and try to live life to the fullest.

    • gretchenrubin

      Love it!

  • I discovered this quote as a communication major in college, and it rings as true for me now as it did then. “Good communication is as stimulating as black coffee and just as hard to sleep after.” – Anne Morrow Lindbergh

    • gretchenrubin

      Love it!

  • Jess Updyke

    Not sure, I think mine would be, Change your thoughts, change your life or happiness is a choice you make.

  • Ellen Rosberg

    My favorite quote is a lyric from the song “La Vie En Rose” by Édith Piaf -1945

    “Quand il me prend dans ses bras
    Il me parle tout bas
    Je vois la vie en rose”

    (Loosely translated)

    “When he takes me in his arms
    And speaks softly to me,
    I see life in rosy hues.”

    • gretchenrubin

      Song lyrics are the source of quotes for many – this is beautiful.

  • Cris Das Alsum

    My yearbook quote was, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” I still believe in that sentiment (especially in an election year!) but my current favorite quote is from the Bible (Ephesians 4:1) “Live a life worthy of the calling you have received.”

    • gretchenrubin

      Two great choices.

  • On homage to Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.””Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.””You can not do a kindness too soon, for you never know when it will be too late.””To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.” Amen.

    • gretchenrubin

      I’ve been meaning to re-read Emerson, and this has got me to pull it off the shelf.

  • Melissa Skinnell

    My yearbook quote was “A door is top open.” – I had gumption and was very brave then.

    These days the words that speak to me::

    “Deeds not words.” – activist motto by Alice Paul

    “We are all just walking each other home.” – Ram Dass

  • Kaitlin

    When I was in high school, my senior quotation was:
    “There’s a little bit of magic in everything, and some loss to even things out” – Lou Reed

    I would say today I might pick the ending of one of my favorite poems by Robert Frost, because it’s something that was meaningful to me at the beginning of my career and has continued to guide me:
    “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
    I took the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the difference.”
    – Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken

    Pairing – This has been really useful for me. I used to pair my favorite podcasts with working out at the gym, but since I’ve started doing yoga instead, I switched to listening to my podcasts (including Happier!) while cooking dinner.

    I’ve also paired coffee from my favorite coffee shop with going to my co-working space to get work done. I’m self-employed, and it’s a helpful incentive to know that I only get coffee from the coffee shop when I’m on my way out to get work done. The caffeine helps the productivity too.

    • gretchenrubin

      Terrific quotations and also examples of pairing–

  • Bambi

    I’ve always loved, ‘Be bold and mighty forces will come to your aid’. I first heard it when Frances McDormand says it in Almost Famous. She attributes it to Goethe but it looks as though that may untrue. It’s a reminder to me to take bold action, even if I don’t have all of the pieces in place yet.

  • Amanda

    ‘There’s nothing frightening in the dark if you just face it’ – Secret Circle series by LJ Smith 🙂

  • Jessica Peterson

    My quote is a little dark but I’ve always loved it. “I and the public know, what all school children must learn. Those to whom evil is done, do evil in return.” W.H. Auden

    • gretchenrubin

      Thought-provoking!

  • Jen Patterson

    Another great episode. Thanks, Gretchen and Liz! The quote that is resonating with me now is this:
    In the midst of our lives, we must find the magic that makes our souls soar. -Evelyn Beilenson
    I’m not sure who she is or where it came from, but it’s on the cover of one of my blank notebooks and I find it inspiring.

  • michelle

    “Adieu, dit le renard. Voici mon secret. Il est tres simple: on ne voit bien au’avec le coeur. L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux.”

    -Antoine de St Exupery, Le Petit Prince

    Translation (my french is rusty, so this may not be all correct): “Goodbye, said the fox. Here is my secret. It is very simple: One only sees well with the heart. The essential is invisible to the eyes.”

    My favorite book of all time, but I only read it in french in high school. Awesome episode! I really enjoyed thinking about this!

  • Kristen Osborne Carroll

    This was my yearbook quote back in ’96, and honestly, I’d still pick it today!

    The major difference between then and now is that as a high school senior, I thought of it only as an idealistic & inspirational Willy Wonka quote, and today I know (and love) it as the profound first line of Arthur O’Shaughnessy’s “Ode.” That might say even more about me than the quote does.

    “We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams.”

    • gretchenrubin

      Love it – from the double source.

  • Karen

    We didn’t have yearbook quotes at our high school. I don’t know what kind of quote I would have chosen then, but now my favourite quote is from Henry Ford. “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” It reminds me not to waste time thinking of why I can’t do something and just try it.

  • Karen

    We didn’t have quotes at our high school but if I had to choose now my quote would be from Henry Ford, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” it reminds me not to waste time thinking of why I can’t do something, and just get started.

  • Becca Smith Bachlott

    Mine is “Be So Good They Can’t Ignore You” by Steve Martin.

  • GnT

    One of my favourite quotes is from Dory in Finding Nemo:
    “You can’t never let anything happen to him. Then nothing would ever happen to him.

  • Marie-Claire Ording

    My “Year Book” quote:
    Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.
    ~ Robert Louis Stevenson

    • gretchenrubin

      Love it! I love RLS.

  • Ruth Carter

    We don’t have yearbooks in the UK and I can’t say what I would have picked at 18 years old. These days I’d say, “to do two things at once is to do neither,” by Publius Syrus.

    • gretchenrubin

      A great reminder.

  • Beth Lind

    I like this one. “I’m not interested in whether you’ve stood with the great. I’m interested in whether you’ve sat with the broken.” ~Unknown

    What a great reminder to do all the good you can in all the ways you can.

  • Laura Jolna

    I would have 2 quotes:
    “The quality of your life is based on the quality of your relationships” – Tony Robbins
    “Be curious” … Curiosity leads to discovering your passion – Elizabeth Gilbert

    There are so many others … I savor wonderful quotes as well and have a file of them on my computer that I look at every morning over coffee …. sort of a prep for the day putting my mind on the right track 🙂

    Thanks for a great podcast Gretchen & Elizabeth!

  • JJ

    Just want to give a gold star to Elizabeth’s awesome choice of quotation! I grew up in England (no yearbooks and no earnestness allowed!) and was kind of horrified by some of the sincere sharing of deep thoughts by my dorm-mates when I started college in CA in the early 1990s. I remember one freshman orientation exercise in which we were asked to describe “the 3 things we valued most about ourselves.” I went into a state of mild panic waiting for my turn, and major disbelief as each person gave a serious answer “my leadership ability, my commitment to being a good friend…” etc. When it was my turn I blurted out “my right knee, my left knee, and my privacy”. This did not go over well. If only I had added a reference to the metric system!

  • carolineeeeeeee

    My knee-jerk response to the yearbook quote question was “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good”. I love that quote and am considering tattooing it on my wrist as a constant reminder. But in true Questioner form (and as an ironic example of that quote’s sentiment), I set out to make sure there wasn’t a better, more profound quote to sum up my life perspective. So I read the song lyrics of my favorite songs, sifted through various Pinterest quote boards, became more and more confused, and fell deep into the internet rabbit hole. 2 hours later I was watching a YouTube makeup tutorial (??) and trying to remember why I had gone online in the first place, only to realize that I had gone completely off the rails.

    So. My quote is definitely “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” Now if I could only work on taking that advice to heart, haha.

  • Kristin Heremans

    My quote would be: “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” George Bernard Shaw

    When we struggle with ourselfs and have the feeling we don’t know ourselves, we often get the feeling we need to go out on long journeys to find ourselves.
    For me it was a great realisation that we don’t need to find ourselves, but decide who we want to be and then start the journey to become that person.
    Listening in from Antwerp in Belgium (so pardon my English)

  • PolarSamovar

    My adulthood yearbook quote is by William Least Heat-Moon. “…a man becomes his attentions. His observations and curiosity, they make and remake him.”

  • Emily Flagg

    A quotation for me would be the Shel Silverstein quote: listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the cannots, the shouldn’ts, the won’ts. Listen to the ‘never haves’, now listen close to me: anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”
    Another would be “let love write on you” from the Jonathan Safran Foer book Everything is Illuminated (plucked from the conversation in which Alex says, ‘you spend so much time writing on love, you should let love write on you for a while.’)

    • gretchenrubin

      Love these.

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  • Susan Harper

    We didn’t do yearbook quotes in my high school, much to my sadness. If I were to choose a quote today, it would be the last two lines from the final stanza of Starhawk’s “The Last Story” (from her book Truth or Dare): “We spoke the truth. We dared to live it.”

    Here’s the last stanza — far too long for a yearbook quote, but far too beautiful not to share:

    “We struggled
    We held out our hands and touched each other
    We remembered to laugh
    We went to endless meetings
    We said no
    We put our bodies on the line
    We said yes
    We invented, we created
    We walked straight through our fears
    We formed the circle
    We danced
    We spoke the truth

    We dared to live it.”

  • Lucy Pritchett

    Thank you for the podcast! I have listened to every episode. I started late, but went back and listened to them all! It is such a pleasure and so relaxing/reassuring to listen to you both!

    While listening, I immediately thought of the quote,
    “For each new morning with its light,
    For rest and shelter of the night,
    For health and food, for love, and friends,
    For everything Thy goodness sends.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

    I try to practice gratitude and be thankful for everything in my life.

    After combing through a document where I keep my favorite quotes, 3 other ones have really shaped how I live or at least how I try to live my life.

    “There are only 2 ways to live your life: One is as though nothing is a miracle…the other is as though everything is a miracle.” Albert Einstein

    “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.” Matthew Ch 5:44

    “When you come to the end of all the light you know, and it’s time to step into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing that one of 2 things will happen: either you will be given something solid to stand on or you will be taught to fly.” – Edward Teller

    I’m going to keep these more at hand so I can keep them in mind more! Thank you for the suggestions!

  • Amy Zarndt

    I’ve got a comment/suggestion regarding creating the 4 tendencies quiz for kids. Elizabeth totally kicked it into gear with her suggestion of an observational questionnaire for parents. Over this past year, we have seen a variety of “professionals” to help diagnose/understand some issues coming up with our daughter. In the course of doing this there have been several questionnaires that we have been given that came in two parts. One would be questions for the child to answer and one would be basically the same/similar questions/observations for the parents to answer. (A couple of times there was also a similar questionnaire that could be given to a teacher to complete for an additional perspective.) The questions tended to be things like: Child gets tasks completed on time. ALWAYS, SOMETIMES, RARELY, NEVER — and the answers were given a numerical value. Then the results to both the child and parent questionnaires could be tallied and compared to see how close they were to each other. Perhaps you could consult a child psychologist for some suggestions?

    • gretchenrubin

      Great suggestions.

  • Julina S

    My mother has suggested the strategy of “pairing” to her music students for years. I can’t remember the specific examples anymore, but I remember her talking about it.
    And years ago, long before I heard of Gretchen or habit strategies, I wanted to make a habit of praying in the morning – I’d prayed before bed since I was a child, but morning prayer was somehow harder.
    I decided that I wouldn’t turn on the radio/music until after I’d prayed. Which both served as an incentive (I like to get ready to music), but also a cue… if my room was still silent, I realized/remembered I hadn’t prayed yet! It still (mostly) works for me, even since I’ve been married and many aspects of my routine have been changed. And now I have a term for it…

  • Julina S

    Quotes-wise, there are a couple I really like:
    “Fear is the original sin. Almost all the evil in the world has its origin in the fact that someone is afraid of something”
    -“John Foster”
    (From “The Blue Castle”, by L. M. Montgomery)
    **a little grim for a yearbook quote, perhaps, but maybe not if you see it as an invitation to overcome your fears.
    Perhaps better, if longer, for a launch into adulthood is this one:**
    “… I think you should learn, of course, and some days you must learn a great deal. But you should also have days when you allow what is already in you to swell up inside of you until it touches everything. And you can feel it inside you. If you never take time out to let that happen, then you just accumulate facts, and they begin to rattle around inside of you. You can make noise with them, but never really feel anything with them. It’s hollow”.
    “Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler”
    (From “From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler”
    by E. L. Konigsburg

  • My two favorites: “Insist on your cup of stars; once they have tricked you into being like everyone else, you will never see your cup of stars again…” Shirley Jackson
    “You need only claim the events of your life to make yourself yours. When you truly possess all you have been and done … you are fierce with reality.” Florida Scott Maxwell

  • Leah Lazarz

    Great episode!

    As for my quotes:

    “Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.”

    I also have an affinity for Erma Bombeck, her quotes always resonate with me…

    “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me'”

    “Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the ‘Titanic’ who waved off the dessert cart.”

    And finally, from a Coldplay song that ended up being my husband and my wedding song:

    “The wheels just keep on turning.”

    Now, to brainstorm what my pairings should be.

  • Kara

    On pairings. So, I love your podcast and usually listen in the car to and from work, but I’m a teacher so I’m not in the car for long periods in the summer and have been missing it. So… my new summer pairing Happier Podcast and walk the dog. This gets me out the door everyday!

    • gretchenrubin

      Terrific!

  • Deirdre

    Howdy! I wasn’t sure what to pick for my HS yearbook quote in 1989. Lyrics from The Smiths, The Cure, Depeche Mode? A quote from a Sylvia Plath poem (I do it so it feels real. I guess you could say I’ve a call) or a Hermann Hesse novel? What I ended up using was the last line of James Joyce’s “Ullyses” that my Irish father recommended – “And yes, I said yes, I will Yes.”. A book I had not read at the time, so it didn’t really resonate with me. My Catholic school and Sr. Eileen, the yearbook editor, most likely, cut it down to “And yes, I said yes.” If you know the book, you will know why.

    I would have been better off with

    “But don’t forget the songs
    That made you cry
    And the songs that saved your life”

    or

    “Oh the alcoholic afternoons
    when we sat in your room
    they meant more to me than any
    than any living thing on earth
    they had more worth
    than any living thing on earth”

    Morrissey is coming to town, you know. Sr. Eileen would probably not approve.

    One quote that has just knocked the wind out of me recently was from a documentary on German basketball star, Dirk Nowitzki, called “The Perfect Shot”. A doctor in his hometown was talking about him, his childhood and career:

    “Other’s wonder, ‘What’s the point?’ But such speculation just gets in the way: ‘What is the point of me doing another 20 minutes on this damn basketball court?’ Once you ask that, it’s over. Dirk really combines intelligence with just doing a thing because it’s necessary without asking why.”

    As a lifelong athlete and pursuer and appreciator of sports excellence, and any passion really, I totally get it.

    Doing a thing because it’s necessary without asking why.

    Once you ask that, it’s over. Wow wow, wow!

    This is bringing me down a rabbit hole as I am looking at quotes from one of my favorite books, “Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters & Seymour: An Introduction” by JD Salinger. I will leave it with this one for tonight.

    “Seymour once said that all we do our whole lives is go from one little piece of Holy Ground to the next. Is he ever wrong?”

    Actually, one more, I love the Australian singer, Courtney Barnett, and her song “Pedestrian at Best”. The opening lines would have been perfect for 17 year old me. And still at 44.

    “I love you, I hate you, I’m on the fence, it all depends
    Whether I’m up or down, I’m on the mend, transcending all reality
    I like you, despise you, admire you
    What are we gonna do when everything all falls through?
    I must confess, I’ve made a mess of what should be a small success
    But I digress, at least I’ve tried my very best, I guess
    This, that, the other, why even bother?
    It won’t be with me on my deathbed, but I’ll still be in your head.

    Put me on a pedestal and I’ll only disappoint you
    Tell me I’m exceptional, I promise to exploit you
    Give me all your money, and I’ll make some origami, honey
    I think you’re a joke, but I don’t find you very funny.”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o-nr1nNC3ds

  • Barbie

    No yearbook quotes in my high school but when I was in college I had a notebook for writing favorite quotes and they were all dark and depressing. My life has changed significantly since then and I see myself as a happy person (thank you, Gretchen, for “The Happiness Project” and thank you, Gretchen and Elizabeth for the podcast). My two favorite quotes may have originated somewhere but they’ve been mine for so long that I don’t know where I got them…..”Be kind…no exceptions” and “The reason most people fail instead of succeed is that they trade what they want the MOST for what they want at the MOMENT.”

    I listen to your podcast and and audio books while walking my dogs. I especially liked listening to the discussion about whether to get a dog while I was walking mine and thinking about the joy they have brought me. I was someone who never wanted a dog but my husband did and now we have two standard poodles who let me walk them two to three hours a day.

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  • Toun

    As for pairing : I put oil to nourish my hair (which I often skip because oil is sticky) when I go running. As to be effective, the oil has to lay during half one hour so I have to run during that time.
    In the end I took care of my body and my hair !

  • Stephanie James

    So many great quotes. Here’s one of my favorites. From “What Dreams May Come”:

    “Thought is real. Physical is the illusion. Ironic, huh?”

  • Michelle Potter

    We didn’t have senior quotes in my year book. Oh well. I know what I would have picked. I found a card with the following poem among some things that had belonged to my mother when she was in middle school:

    Is anybody happier because you passed his way?
    Does anyone remember that you spoke to him today?
    The day is almost over, and its toiling time is through;
    Is there anyone to utter now a kindly word of you?

    Can you say tonight, in parting with the day that’s slipping fast,
    That you helped a single brother of the many that passed?

    Is a single heart rejoicing over what you did or said;
    Does the man whose hopes were fading, now with courage look ahead?

    Did you waste the day, or lose it? Was it well or sorely spent?
    Did you leave a trail of kindness, or a scar of discontent?

    As you close your eyes in slumber, do you think that God will say,
    “You have earned one more tomorrow by the work you did today”.

    I don’t know if they would have let me use something so long. Maybe I’d have had to just use one line. But this has always been special to me.

  • Katlyn Erdman

    “There is no way to happiness; happiness is the way.” <3

  • Anna Embree

    I love this quotation from Jane Eyre. I can’t claim I successfully live this, but it encapsulates the ideal I strive for.

    “… Principles are not for the times when there is no temptation: they are for such moments as this, when body and soul rise in mutiny against their rigour … If at my individual convenience I might break them, what would be their worth?”

  • Marialena Gallagher

    Senior yearbook quote:

    “Heroes aren’t always the ones who win. They’re the ones who lose, sometimes. but they keep fighting, they keep coming back. They don’t give up. That’s what makes them heroes.

    -Clary Fray

    (Cassandra Clare, City of Heavenly Fire)