I hope that August is off to a good start, and that you are managing to have some vacation time off from work. In France, and a lot of Europe, EVERYONE takes the month of August off….or the month of July. But in August, shops and restaurants are closed, businesses close, and just about everything shuts down. In the US, many people take their vacations at other times of year too, but not in Europe. In some ways, it makes things easier, because everything closes down at once—but forget trying to get any business done in August. And my month of August is usually quiet too. I’m moving around a fair amount this summer, meeting up with and visiting my children, and getting some work done in between. But the pace slows down, even for me—-getting ready for September and renewed activity as life speeds up again.
I still keep the same late hours even when I’m not writing, habit, I guess, I’ve been a late night person all my life.
As I sit at my computer, three signs meet my eye, that I usually see first thing in the morning, when I answer the emails that arrived during the night: “Wake up every morning as if something wonderful is going to happen.” “Do More of What Makes YOU Happy”, and “Miracles DO Happen”. They get my day off to a good start, and my thought in the right direction. And then there are two other signs next to the desk where I write: One says “There are no miracles, there is only discipline”, and the other says “What hath night to do with sleep?” And a tiny one “Courage is not the absence of fear or despair, but the strength to conquer them”. And some others that I love on my office walls: “Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile” attributed to Albert Einstein, “It is the history of our kindness that alone makes this world tolerable”, Robert Louis Stevenson, “Courage is the power to overcome danger, misfortune, fear, injustice, while continuing to affirm inwardly that life with all its sorrows is good.” And “We cannot do big things, but only small things with an immense amount of love”, Mother Teresa. And one of my favorites “Nothing is impossible to God.”
The late night hours are always a good time for reflection, about what you’ve done, are doing, are planning to do, wish you’d done, and wish you hadn’t done. Late, silent nights are also a time when fear sometimes runs rampant in our heads, as we worry about what could happen. I can whip some of those thoughts into a real terror, with no one to talk me down and reassure me. I am a worrier, not a warrior!! I take things too much to heart, and sometimes people’s unkind words or acts cut through me like a knife, and at other times I worry that I may have been thoughtless with others and hurt them. I have a hard time understanding and dealing with people who are intentionally mean and hurtful. And we all run into people like that at times, or work with them, or know them. I am always shocked by people who intend to be mean, it’s like having someone throw sand in your eyes, it makes no sense and is hard to understand. I detest cruel people, and abuse, and those who want to hurt you, but those people do exist and it’s best to steer a wide berth around them, and avoid them at all costs, as best we can. It’s particularly unfortunate if you have a mean boss, or someone at work that you have to deal with every day who is determined to hurt and torture you, and make your life miserable, someone who abuses their power that you have to put up with. As a writer, I lead a fairly isolated life, so gratuitous meanness and injustice always come as a shock to me. It’s always a surprise. But then the kind people we meet make up for it and make our lives a better place. And fortunately, there are many good and kind people in the world. And good is more powerful than evil.
I have a nice one on my walls in Paris too (many of them in fact since I collect sayings and quotes I love). “A good marriage is the union of two good forgivers”. Forgiveness is so important in life, when deserved, and sometimes even if not. And bad, unkind people are to be avoided. Sometimes people we know, even good friends, become sour about life, or bitter, and are out to hurt others, and sad as it is, it is best to let those people go. Jealousy is so often the cause of people’s meanness to others, and is at the root of some very unpleasant actions.
I particularly love the quote of Anne Frank’s, the young girl who was taken by the Nazis in Holland in World War II as a teen ager. “I still believe in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart.” Powerful words to live by and hang onto.
I hope that all is going well for you, and I hope you’ll have a wonderful, extra special week, with good things happening to you!! You deserve it!!
With so much love, Danielle