The French, it is frequently noted, take the entire month of August for a holiday. Unlike Americans, they are not sensually challenged: their language is gorgeous, they treat food as a worthy pleasure and not some glob to be mindlessly scarfed while driving, they drink wine at lunch and dinner and they don’t blink at the idea of a mistress.
In this August spirit (double entendre intended) I am indulging in some midsummer musings: random thoughts that occur during my walks and front porch sittings. You might imagine these as my notes phoned in, perhaps from a vacation somewhere in south of France, where I am wearing a bikini with a gauzy white shirt, an oversized hat, drinking wine and looking out over azure waters.
- Every woman needs a wife: someone to take care of her, to make the meal, remember the appointment, feed the dogs, etc. Wait–maybe I’m talking about a housekeeper.
- Time speeds up as you approach the midpoint, both of summer and life. It’s disconcerting and it’s very, very real. I still can’t understand it, and if you can, please drop me a line and explain it, because it’s starting to unnerve me.
- Children grow way too fast. This is somehow connected to #2, above. I love my children too much, they’re growing too fast, and my heart is breaking more than I ever thought possible, and I’m only in the first half.
- There is a world of difference between writing a book and becoming an author. It’s not unlike the difference between a wedding and a marriage, or visiting France versus living there. One is romantic, creative and exciting, the other is schleppy work, with no guarantee of a happy ending. The pretty sheen will, inevitably, rub off at some point. But there’s always the possibility that it could turn out to be very, very good, and that potential–and even the simple fact that you embarked on the adventure in the first place– is what life is all about, n’est-ce pas?
- It means everything, in the whole world, to have someone who cares about you, who sees you and appreciates you and loves the whole of you.
- Listening to ego and not your better, wiser self, will land you in a whole lot of hurt.
- Sweeping is meditative, good exercise and QUIET. It doesn’t make your neighbors hate you. It doesn’t spoil an otherwise lovely morning/afternoon/evening outside. Weed whippers, gas powered lawn mowers and leaf blowers are not just annoying, they shatter the tranquility of the summer soul. In my humble estimation, peace ranks higher than expediency and efficiency in a hierarchy of values.
- Just because something is difficult or painful does not make it “bad.” Allowing the pain to penetrate you is important, but equally important is maintaining perspective. A Chinese proverb says, “You cannot prevent the bird of sorrow from flying over your head, but you can prevent it from nesting in your hair.” And, in the immortal words of Dr. Seuss, “Remember, Ducky, you’re really quite lucky.” Words to live by.All of which bring me to the following Grand Piece of Wisdom:
- I am not in control. I am completely and utterly not in control of the vast majority of all of the above–except for certain small decisions I can make, like choosing to explore the emotional and spiritual underpinnings of my pain rather than pushing it down (although Vicodin, I must admit, is a very fine drug for dealing with certain sorts of pain); or choosing to spend more time enjoying my children, because they are growing so fast and I will miss them when they’re gone; I miss them while they’re here. I am in control of how I accept my fate. I am in control of whether or not I appreciate this day, and whether I allow myself to experience each moment, in its beauty and pain, allowing myself to feel it and suffer it, to think about it, and to keep going.