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Relearning The Alphabet – 26 Lessons

abcGood things:

Answering your own questions

Breathing the same air as a loved one

Comfort in your own skin

Doing what you know you should

Eating as if you valued your body

Fighting for someone who can’t

Going to the movies

Holding on when it would be easier to let go

Impressing yourself but not telling everyone about it

Joking at your own expense

Knowing your limitations and pushing them back

Loving whoever is around to be loved

Meeting the meaning of your own life

Noticing the shifts in your perceptions

Outdistancing your appetites

Putting regret behind you

Regretting only what you can change and then changing it

Smiling when you’d rather not

Testing yourself

Undermining your weaknesses

Visiting people who need you

Wanting what you already have

Xeroxing a picture of your face and making masks out of it and…sorry, couldn’t find a way to get poetic here.  Feel free to run with it.

Yielding to someone who never gets to be right

Zipping your pants up before the big meeting


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photo credit: teresia

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Henri December 17, 2009, 3:41 am

    What about the numerical alphabet? That might be harder. Smiling when you’d rather not is pretty powerful. Just smiling a little bit changes your thoughts. Going to the movies, me like movies!

    • Josh Hanagarne December 17, 2009, 3:57 pm

      Henri, I usually pretend that numbers aren’t real. I only like to do things that I’m good at immediately. Adding fractions is still difficult enough for me that I need 100 compliments after a math problem just to make me feel safe.

  • Jodi at Joy Discovered December 17, 2009, 7:12 am

    Love this!

    • Josh Hanagarne December 17, 2009, 3:57 pm

      Thanks Jodi. Do you have a suggestion for x?

  • Lisis December 17, 2009, 9:37 am

    I agree… almost 100% (I’m still not sure about X). 😉

    Funny, my son was just reading the X section of the dictionary yesterday (bored to tears, obviously) and said he liked the word “xenophobia: a dislike and/or fear of that which is unknown or different from oneself.”

    You could probably get pretty poetic with that one. Where would we be without 9-year-olds, huh?

    • Josh Hanagarne December 17, 2009, 3:56 pm

      X-acting vengeance and making an end table out of your arch-enemy’s bones?

      • Lisis December 18, 2009, 7:51 am

        That has a lovely ring to it… melodic almost. I like it! 🙂

  • Dean Dwyer December 17, 2009, 10:21 am

    Great idea JH. E, F and V really hit me. I always seem to forget Z. Once in high school, I made a presentation to the entire school (700 students). About half way through I realized my fly was down. Nothing subtle about turning your back on them to zip it up. Needless to say the students thought it was hilarious…the teachers…rolled their eyes once again at Dean Dwyer 🙂

    • Josh Hanagarne December 17, 2009, 3:55 pm

      I think my pants are accidentally unzipped most of the time. I should probably just start wearing sweatsuits everywhere.

  • Srinivas Rao December 17, 2009, 10:39 am

    Josh, this was a really cool way to take the alphabet and give us some awesome life lessons. This could actually be a poster that you sell,an idea for some extra revenue 😉

    • Larissa December 17, 2009, 11:25 am

      I agree, Srinivas! In fact, while I was reading the list, I thought maybe this list was from a book or something. .. that is, until I got to X. 🙂

      • Josh Hanagarne December 17, 2009, 3:54 pm

        It is from a book. The book of Josh the Blackhearted.

    • Josh Hanagarne December 17, 2009, 3:55 pm


  • Terresa Wellborn December 17, 2009, 1:15 pm

    This is poetic. I’m going to Tweet it now.

    • Josh Hanagarne December 17, 2009, 3:55 pm

      Tweet away! But poetic is a word I will never be able to apply to myself with a straight face.

  • Zoli Cserei December 17, 2009, 4:46 pm

    Hey Josh,

    I recently had an inner debate regarding what strength really is. I think that some extraordinary people, like you, have learned exactly what it is through your disabilities, like the Tourette’s syndrome you have. I really respect you (and I only say this when I mean it) for what you’re doing and how you’re doing it, and I am hopeful that you’re proud of what you are able to give to us. All the wisdom that you gained are reflecting really strongly through your “alphabet”. Poetic or not, it really inspires me. Thank you!


    • Josh Hanagarne December 17, 2009, 5:20 pm

      Wow Zoli, that means a lot, thank you. I am mostly proud that I have been in the middle of bringing such a diverse group of readers together. Seeing the readers on the blog starting to interact with each other versus just showing up and reading is one of my favorite things in the world.

      I hope you were kind to yourself during the inner debate and let each of your personalities have a chance to speak:)

  • Jared Yellin December 18, 2009, 9:56 pm

    I think that B is vitally important because once you are able to breath the same air as your loved one, look at the world through their eyes, and love them the way that they have always desired to be loved, you will fulfill the NUMBER ONE human need….LOVE!