It’s not the number of breaths we take, but the number of moments that take our breath away

One girl’s expedition into the unfamiliar world of being a fully functioning member of society

More stories from Faith Hultman


On Saturday at 4 p.m. I looked a Kwik Trip customer in the eyes and said, with no humor, “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That’s why we call it the present.”

Needless to say, they were less than impressed.

Why? As a Kwik Trip employee, it’s a part of my job to ask customers how their day is going. When one person said they weren’t having a good day, I took it upon myself to improve it by stating my motto of the moment.

All of last week, I adopted a new inspirational quote as my motto each day and repeated it as often as I thought of it.

Did I feel like I was getting it together? Not really. I felt a little bit like I was descending into the depths of middle-aged mediocrity. One more week and I’d have been painting the quotes on chalk boards and hanging them up above my other Pinterest-based DIY home decor.

The meaninglessness of these quotes becomes more apparent every time one tries to apply them. It’s hard to truly be inspired by “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars,” as you’re knelt on the bathroom floor of Kwik Trip, untangling a water hose and spraying yourself in the face.

On Thursday I told myself to “dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today” while I dissected a fetal pig named Edmund and watched its cute unborn snout quiver as its small intestine was severed.

I contemplated spending all the money in my bank account on coffee and face masks, but then remembered I had rent to pay in a few days. Living as if I were to die that day was a surefire recipe for homelessness.

“You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take,” I whispered to myself as I sent a friend request to the very attractive Spanish guy I never actually talked to but stalked for weeks in Spain. He didn’t accept.

If I were to give an inspirational quote recommendation, it would be to write your own. That way, you’re inspired and you feel like you did something productive with your time, instead of repeating something that is essentially meaningless for the rest of your days.

Next week I’m going to take a metaphorical hike during which I will recall my attempts to get it together and reflect upon them.

Does it work? Is this the week I turn myself around for good? We’ll find out. It’s a desperate world out there folks; stay on top of it.