Quotes from the Masters: Plato

A you may be aware, there’s a large sporting event taking place in London at the moment.

This week’s Quotes from the Masters challenge from Robin at Bringing Europe Home is dedicated to the 4 yearly marvel that is the Olympic Games, and her quote is one that I think I could do with applying to myself when I get frustrated by my inordinate sloth and inability to complete projects or learn things as quickly as I think I should. Here it is:

“Never discourage anyone who continually makes progress, no matter how slow.” – Plato

When I read this at first, however, I thought not of myself but of delightful assistant no.1 (aka my mum).

My mum has a bit of bother with her right knee, and ideally she would have it operated on so that she can be without pain and with a straighter leg that doesn’t slow her walking pace down as much. However, due to medical complications she has been advised against this and so instead she hirples along and does the best she can.

When we go out together on little tea-taking adventures, we often try to include a walk for exercise and enjoyment of the outdoors, and she is forever apologising to me for being so slow with her gammy leg. She never complains about my antics, running up and down steps and dashing around, when I know she wishes she could still do these things herself. She’s just grateful that she can still walk, and she pushes herself to go up hills and is determined not to miss out just because she’s slow.

This is a picture I took after dashing up a flight of steps in Culross, Fife (post to follow – it’s a truly glorious place), while she walked more sedately along the street.

Watching this year’s Olympics, I am constantly amazed by the feats of the incredible athletes. Whether it’s swimming, weightlifting, running or any other sport, their dedication to the cause is awe-inspiring and I find the whole thing very uplifting.

In her own small way, to me, my mum is just as inspirational as any Olympian.


29 thoughts on “Quotes from the Masters: Plato

  1. Hi Lorna, I agree that athletes and their physical toils are something which we regular folk/mortals are very lucky (to have side stepped) Weighnt get the glory, but no doubt their rigorous routine & schedule calls for disciplined living 24/7 and I love baking waaaay too much!

    Regarding your mother she’s always out & about on some jaunt with you so she obviously enjoys it and trying various tearoom delights is a wonderful pastime to slowly but steadily enjoy together.

    • I feel the same as you Alice, much as I admire these athletes I don’t think I could give up all the treats I enjoy so much. A life without scones in order to compete for an Olympic medal just wouldn’t cut the mustard with me, but I’m very grateful to all those disciplined souls who take on the challenge. My mum does indeed enjoy tearooms and little jaunts, and it’s nice to have a sedate, refined sort of hobby to enjoy at any age. 🙂

  2. It’s wonderful that your mom, despite pain and discomfort, still wants to be out there, learning and exploring and spending time with you. Let’s hope for such grace and strength in our futures! PS new word for me: hirples. PPS Your guidebook was a great read, Lorna. Made me want to spend time in each one of the places you reviewed.

    • I agree Annie, I would hope to be as able and full of beans when I’m that age. I just checked online and apparently ‘hirple’ is a Scottish word, meaning to limp. I got it from my mum, because it’s the way she describes her mode of getting along. It is a good word, isn’t it? I’m utterly delighted that you enjoyed reading my book, I couldn’t ask for a better response, thank you!

  3. What a wonderful tribute to your mother, Lorna. As my age increases (stealthily, sinisterly) and my knees become ever more gammy, I wonder how well I’ll be able to hirple about in the next (insert number of your choice) years. And I do grow ever more impressed by those like your delightful assistant #1, who patiently soldier on.
    I love this interpretation of the quote. Thank you so much for joining in!

    • That’s so true Robin, age does indeed have a stealthy and sinister way of creeping up on one. I think the important thing, whatever your age and condition, is to make the most of what you’ve got while you can, although it’s often easier said than done. This was a wonderful quote and a great addition to your Quotes challenges, thank you.

  4. Good for you both! Enjoying what you can do is so important – whether it means that dashing around is what you can do, or just make slow progress. It’s all relative. I love “hirple” and I also very much look forward to seeing Culross! (On your blog, that is.)

  5. Good for your mom to continue to get out and doing her best. My mom broke her hip 18 months ago and, due to complications, can’t get out anymore. It breaks my heart that she has lost her mobility. She still maintanis a positive attitude though. Enjoy every moment with your mom!

    • I’m so sorry to hear that, Darlene. I can imagine how frustrating it must be for her to have lost her mobility, but it’s wonderful that she’s maintaining a positive attitude. If you can do that, you’re onto a winner, whatever sort of state you’re in.

  6. I did a bit of a double-take at your “hirple” also. What a great word! So glad you and your mum can get out and enjoy the tea shops together. Mums can be great company.

    • Thank you Jo, from what I can gather you have an excellent relationship with both of your girls and I’m quite sure they appreciate you hugely. Although it wasn’t the path for me, I can well imagine that being a parent is the most rewarding thing you could do with your life.

  7. Hip Hip Hurrah! for your mum — she sounds like a real trooper!

    And the quote is so appropriate for what I’m learning, these days: I must not discourage myself (I’m my worst judge & trainer) and believe that all will come to me in due time.

    Happy Day 🙂

    • Thank you! I have the same problem with discouraging myself, I’m my own worst enemy much of the time, but as you say this is a great quote and certainly one worth remembering.

  8. This is what I hope for myself – to be able to gamely muddle along, not railing against the fact that I can no longer but revelling in the fact that I can

  9. How moving and touching and inspiring. How lucky you two are to have each other to amble about with still, and how wonderful that your appreciate each other. I love this quote from Plato – you also made me think of this one I don’t know the author to credit…”even a stumble can be a step forward” …as we age, this one really helps me 🙂

    • That is a wonderful quote Linda, thank you! I’m going to pass that on to my parents, although I appreciate it myself, too. 🙂 Thank you for your kind words, I do feel very lucky indeed.

    • Excellent point Meg, there’s so much rushing around and this desperate urge to move on to the next thing all the time, when really all we need to do is sit and enjoy what we have.

  10. Such a nice tribute to your mother. And you have such a nice blog, I’m not sure why I hadn’t seen it before! Robin’s quotes are great, and Plato is right. I have to keep remembering that it isn’t always about the speed, it’s about the progress.

  11. Our bodies will age as they will, and there’s not a lot we can do about it. But, as the saying goes, it’s all in the way we look at things. Your delightful assistant may have the form of an aged treasure, but she has the spirit of a young, spry girl–and that will serve her even better than a precarious knee replacement. Good show mum! –Lucinda :0)

    • Thank you Lucinda, that made me laugh, I will pass those wise words on to the delgihtful assistant. She’s very game and I think that does keep her young. As you say, it’s all in the attitude we adopt, and if you can keep thinking young you’ll stay young, despite your age.

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