Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Owning My Time

Why is it we don't appreciate what we have until it's gone? Like some people around us, time for ourselves or youth? Sigh, don't let me even started on the last one...
Today I wanted to share with you a wonderful article written by Mary Schmich for Chicago Tribune in June 1997. I wish I new some (or all!) of this things when I was 20 year old!
 Never to late to learn some things, though...here it goes:

"Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young
Inside every adult lurks a graduation speaker dying to get out, some world-weary pundit eager to pontificate on life to young people who'd rather be Rollerblading. Most of us, alas, will never be invited to sow our words of wisdom among an audience of caps and gowns, but there's no reason we can't entertain ourselves by composing a Guide to Life for Graduates.

I encourage anyone over 26 to try this and thank you for indulging my attempt.Ladies and gentlemen of the class of '97:

Wear sunscreen.

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they've faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you'll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine.

Don't worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 p.m. on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing every day that scares you.


Don't be reckless with other people's hearts. Don't put up with people who are reckless with yours.


Don't waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind. The race is long and, in the end, it's only with yourself.

Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.


Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don't.

Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees. You'll miss them when they're gone.

Maybe you'll marry, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll have children, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll divorce at 40, maybe you'll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don't congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else's.

Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don't be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It's the greatest instrument you'll ever own.

Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.

Read the directions, even if you don't follow them.

Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents. You never know when they'll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings. They're your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft. Travel.

Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you'll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Don't expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you'll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out.

Don't mess too much with your hair or by the time you're 40 it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth.

But trust me on the sunscreen."

Send this to EVERY young women you know, they'll  thank you one day.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Seeing Behind the Clouds

The sunlight was bursting in trough the big corner windows of my new office this morning. The construction site on the opposite side of the street was already  alive and busy. Lime green accordion buses were rushing by... I was standing there immersed in this magic moment of light and color. I need a dose of simple beauty in my life every day, little things that cost nothing at all and make me very happy. I've missed so many beautiful moments like this working for 9 years in the office without windows.

Later in the day I was resting my eyes on the little sparkling white clouds chasing one another over the clear blue sky. How many amazing things we don't see around us even with our eyes open? Nature, people, events, good, bad, joy, effort, calm, love, sadness, need...some of this things may never happen again if we do not stop and acknowledge them.

The city we live in is one of those things we take for granted and forget to rediscover over and over. We have our little paths, our grocery stores, work places, schools and gyms and that's about it. Sometimes we visit a park or a theater, eat in a new restaurant. To see your city trough the eyes of a tourist visiting for a first time could put the city you know in  an entirely different perspective.

There are so many things I didn't see yet in my city. My husband and I went two weeks ago to see the Promenade Samuel-De Champlain inaugurated in 2008 for the 400th anniversary of the Quebec City. Here are some of the pictures I took:


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me !

One thing is clear: a normal person wouldn't jump for joy seeing so many candles on the cake. There, I said it! But I started to see things differently several years ago when my good friend lost her husband suddenly. He was just about my age. Ever since then I have been seeing my birthdays differently. Each year on my birthday I think to myself: “He hasn't  had a chance to be my age.” Those moments make me feel very grateful and I appreciate life even more knowing that every moment of it is a gift. And everything that happened to me, good and bad, is a gift too. This is my life and I finally am able to embrace it in it's greatness. No, I'm not getting all spiritual on you, but there was a moment (or two) when I refused to accept that this is my life - because I had it planned differently long time ago. George Bernard Shaw said: “Forget about likes and dislikes. They are of no consequence. Just do what must be done. This may not be happiness but it is greatness.” Story of my life.
Finally, of what importance is the number of years, it's just a number. It's what you pack inside those years that counts. Let me tell you one thing:  I've got enough material for two or maybe even three lives. It's not that I have chosen to do so, life simply happened to me. And love. And pain. And joy. And change. And disappointment. And happiness. Life is the greatest teacher. And love is the greatest gift. I'm fortunate enough to have three loves of my life. I just spoke to one of them, he called me from England to wish me happy birthday. I miss him very much. The other is arriving any moment from Montreal to celebrate with me. I can't wait. And the one who was there first, responded to my question: "Do you think you can still be romantic?" with these:


Monday, August 2, 2010

Good News / Bad News

The worst news first: my computer is dead. I'm writing this post on my DH's (very slow) laptop. One week ago, I found my computer with the dreaded "blue screen of death" but I was able to resuscitate it. The same happened a couple more times in the last week but then suddenly nothing, it wouldn't boot at all, I could only see the "No signal" message on my screen. My computer was rather new, fast and reliable, that's the reason why I didn't make any backup yet. Everything is on it: personal documents, family pictures from the last decade, tons of things I love...how can one be so stupid? There is a saying in French: "Il ne faut pas mettre tous les œufs dans le même panier." I think it's the same in English: "Don't Put All Your Eggs In One Basket". Well, I did. Luckily, I had purchased an additional two year warranty  for peanuts (my son would call me stupid if he new, he worked in this business). I’m not a big believer in buying extended warranties, so I usually pass whenever I’m asked, but boy was I happy I didn't this time!
I already knew how much I depend on my computer to do everything, but I didn't know I would panic this much just thinking I could loose it! It's ridiculous, I was feeling as if I was missing an arm... I'm telling you, go ahead, help yourself and take my washer and dryer, my dishwasher, my vacuum cleaner - I'll do anything by hand - but, please, please, pretty please: leave my computer and my Internet alone! And I wasn't even born in the new tech generation...
Anyway, I brought my computer yesterday to the repair service. The young man there must have thought I was crazy but he was very patient with me. And here is the good news about the bad news: as he finally checked the hard drive, he found that all the data are there and can be saved! The problem is apparently with the hardware. Just to be sure, I took the option to transfer my data on the external hard drive before repairing anything. Phew!
I'll have my data probably tomorrow but the repair of my computer could take up to two weeks. I'm patient.
And I saved the best for last: I finally got a job I wanted! Phew - again! I started last week, I'll tell you more about it soon.

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