The Fortunes I Have Kept

According to, it is likely fortune cookies made their appearance in America between 1880 and 1900 when Japanese immigrants expanded into Hawaii and California.

Following mass production and distribution across various California-based restaurants, fortune cookies with their beloved butter and vanilla flavoring became a culinary imprint across the United States.


Chinese take-out isn’t just for the sesame chicken and crab rangoon, but for the fortune cookies too.

In college, I began saving each fortune I received having thought the tabs of paper would be a wonderful momento for when the fortune struck true. Collecting fortunes had grown routine for me and I like to believe that saving each fortune and rereading them will come with a wave of happy memories.

Here are some of my favorite fortunes.


When it is dark enough, you can see stars.”

In total darkness, our fears multiply and worries manifest. In sheer darkness we feel blind and believe it is the optimal environment for unknown elements to lurk. But in darkness, small specs of light can be found – just like trillions of stars. In darkness is where problem solving thrives, where new realms and opportunities can be discovered, and course of action has never been more inspiring. All life is composed of a balance of light and dark.


Our truest life is when we are in our dreams awake.”

Dreams surf our mind in awakeness and slumber. During shut-eye, we are not in full control of dreams, but during daylight hours, we are able to select the dreams that cross our mind. We can envision a life where every single hope is true. The very best life anyone can live is the one where goals were achieved and future dreams kissed the present moment.


Great things are accomplished only by the perfection of minor details.”

Every small fragment contributes to the makeup of the largest image. As a writer and graphic designer, I understand the importance of minor details and how those tiny elements can create the most meaningful message, effective symbol, or impactful takeaway.

Vincent van Gogh was not an Impressionist painter, but some of his techniques were. His impressionistic details created the essence and movement of subject matter. Minuscule smudges of paint placed meticulously could unfold a flower field or mimic the spiraling spirit of the sky.


A kind word warms for three winters.”

A reminder of our connection to one another and the daily endeavor we share of surviving. A kind word or friendly gesture can stick with someone in ways the giver may not realize.


Pessimism never won any battle.”

Negative outlooks and doubtful attitudes are twistedly easier to live by than positive affirmations that are forced. Times of optimism may seem far less than moments of pessimism, but sour mindsets do not help to mend a situation. No battle is best suited for pessimism. Despair can only magnify unhappiness and can distort the situation to seeming worse.


The first attempt is the most difficult.”

Taking the leap and investing time in a new project can be a cocktail of eagerness, excitement, and nerves. The first attempt can come with reason to avoid the adventure or a list of ways the project can turn sideways. Do not become bogged down by the unknowns. A first attempt comes with its own set of lessons learned and your skillset and knowledge can only grow.


Always accept yourself the way you are.”

A simple set of 7 letters to help appreciate and value who you are. Don’t allow others to try and change your beliefs, how you want to live your life, or belittle your interests.


The strangest, most generous, and proudest of all virtues is true courage.”

Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Do one thing everyday that scares you. Those small things that make us uncomfortable help us build courage to do the work we do.”

Over the past few years, I have managed to unlock a new courageous side of myself. I found the value of having courage and facing the one thing you wish to avoid altogether. I repeat this fortune to myself often and has been a worthy source of inspiration.


Opportunities surround you if you know where to look.”

Opportunities can hide in places overlooked or make themselves known right in front of our faces. It can be challenging to know which opportunities to pursue and which to let pass us by. But there is excitement in all the wonderful things an opportunity can bring.