The Secret of a Full Life

Puppy at Sled Dog Discovery & Musher's Camp on...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is my weekly column for the newspaper, slightly edited for you:

“The secret of a full life is to live and relate to others as if they might not be there tomorrow, as if you might not be there tomorrow.” – Anais Nin


            I came across this quote this morning in a blog post by David Kanigan. His blog is called Lead. Learn. Live. And the title of his post today is “The Secret of a Full Life”. As many of you who read this column know, I have embraced the blog world, which is a place of discovery and sharing. Blog, if you look it up in the dictionary is not defined very well—the definition of blog is blog. So I will define it for you:  a blog is a writer’s little piece of heaven. It is where we can express ourselves and feel that we are getting our “lonely in the wilderness” voices heard.


I am luckier than most in that I have an audience for my print column. Many people are not so fortunate but anyone with a computer, a little working knowledge of the Internet, and the will to write can have a blog. At this point mine is free—if I want to I can pay WordPress a fee and get more options, but I am satisfied with what it offers me now, so I see no point in paying a fee for something I can get for free.


I am not trying to get you to join the blog world—but if you want to, it is easy. The old adage: if I can do it, then you can do it was never more true when it comes to blogging. But if you do not want to write, you can still partake by reading the blogs of others. Now if you do get involved be forewarned, as everyone and their dog (seriously there is a TV program where a dog has a blog) seems to have a blog and you may have to be selective. I tend to look for inspiration, humour, and human connection, not angst(though a little angst can be interesting as long as that is not all the blogger talks about).


And that brings me back to David Kanigan. He is an inspiration and when he is not writing something inspirational or thought-provoking, he finds someone to quote who is. Today he provided the above quote from author Anais Nin who died in 1977. I want you to note that what she said in 1946 is amplified in 2013. It is as if she was looking into the future. Without further ado, here are the rest of her words on the subject of a full life:

“The secret of a full life is to live and relate to others as if they might not be there tomorrow, as if you might not be there tomorrow. It eliminates the vice of procrastination, the sin of postponement, failed communications, failed communions. This thought has made me more and more attentive to all encounters, meetings, introductions, which might contain the seed of depth that might be carelessly overlooked. This feeling has become a rarity, and rarer every day now that we have reached a hastier and more superficial rhythm, now that we believe we are in touch with a greater amount of people, more people, more countries. This is the illusion which might cheat us of being in touch deeply with the one breathing next to us. The dangerous time when mechanical voices, radios, telephones, take the place of human intimacies and the concept of being in touch with millions brings a greater and greater poverty in intimacy and human vision.”

            What she says also applies to the blog world. I now know people across Canada, in England, Australia, Taiwan, the United States, Alaska, France, Spain, Brazil, Scotland and many other exotic places. But there is a danger in getting too caught up in the world outside my own home. I am cognizant of this and I take what Nin says very seriously when she states “the concept of being in touch with millions brings a greater and greater poverty in intimacy and human vision.”


Nin’s words make me realize that it is the life I have right here in front of me that is important. It is the people I share my house with, my friendships with, and the community I live in that are of immediate importance. I have made some significant friends in the blog world—and a few have become true friends, but it is not a world to escape to. It is a world that adds to my experience—but it does not take precedence over the people that are right here beside me. It is all a matter of that word I have learned to love and hate: balance.

Note to my blog readers: I was a bit off-balance when I first embraced the blog world. I have now come to a pretty comfortable balance–but I must say that I have found things in the blog world I have not found in my “real walking around world”. Has anyone else found this?

Published in: on August 13, 2013 at 12:15 pm  Comments (37)  
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Fairy Dust and String Theory

Sheldon Cooper

Sheldon Cooper (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is a revised post from last March, before I had readers. It gives me bliss to repost it.

The Big Bang Theory is one of my  favourite television programs.  I wish I could say it brought out my inner nerd, but I am not smart enough to be a nerd. Unlike many, I find the term “nerd” complimentary, but I always think of it in a scientific, mathematical context . I looked it up in my thesaurus and its synonyms are highly questionable: drip, bore, geek.

The Encarta dictionary calls it an offensive term and defines a nerd as a “single-minded enthusiast” who is “considered to be excessively interested in a subject or activity that is regarded as too technical or scientific.” (My argument—if we did not have people interested in the too technical or scientific, where would we be? We would still think the earth was flat, and the stars made up of fairy dust.)

I think the term nerd needs a “redo”, and the guys from The Big Bang Theory are just the guys to do it. Sure, they are overtly intelligent, some (Sheldon in particular) not socially attune, but I just love these guys. Is it an accident that the program is a particular favourite in Canada? I think not—we just love underdogs, and even though most of these guys have reached doctoral status, they are entertainingly sweet (most of the the time).

I think many of us are jealous of nerds and the things that they understand easily that we don’t. I was a particularly poor student in both science and math, and regret it somewhat.  Shakespeare and I get along just fine, but Einstein and I are unfortunately not on the same page.

"I don't mean to cast aspersions, but...&...

“I don’t mean to cast aspersions, but…” (Photo credit: Ario Fredewagon)

On a shelf above my head is my bobble head of Sheldon–a gift from my youngest son, who sometimes calls himself a nerd. He is not as enamoured of the program as I, as he says that it makes fun of nerds–in effect, laughing at them, not with them. I think I have a different perspective–I admire exceedingly intelligent people even if they have some quirks. Let those among us who have no quirks cast aspersions.

Are you a fan of Big Bang, or do you think my son is right? Can you cast aspersions?

Capturing Weekend Bliss

Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Weekend? What is a weekend?”~  Dowager Countess (Maggie Smith) from Downton Abbey

I heard the traffic girl on tv call today Friday Eve. I remember the days when that would have meant something to me. When Friday Eve would produce some excitement—the weekend was almost here, so adventure was surely around the bend.

I do not know when I lost my excitement for weekends. I would like to get it back in this year of finding my bliss.

The Dowager Countess was completely mystified when she came across the word “weekend’. It was obviously a foreign concept if you were not among the working class.

I would like “weekend” to no longer be a foreign concept for me. I think part of the problem is that I work at home, at a desk in the corner of my dining room, so I never really get to leave my work behind. Weekend used to mean a break from school or work—not so much anymore.

Any suggestions about how to make my weekends more blissful?

Published in: on February 21, 2013 at 2:52 pm  Comments (52)  
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Top Ten TV Shows

Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

Barefoot Contessa Cookbook (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I call this my frivolous Monday submission

I am a pushover for top ten lists of just about anything. Top ten books about avocados. Top ten artistic renderings of telephone poles. Even top ten music lists (though anything past the year 1982, which coincides with the year I was married is unfamiliar to me). So, just in case you too are a fan of top ten lists, I thought I would provide you with a summer list of my top ten favourite TV shows. (It is a summer list, because in the summer we are allowed to be frivolous and admit that we watch and enjoy television in the comfort of air conditioning).

1. Community: I love this show. My youngest son is home from college to toil away in a produce warehouse for the summer. He introduced me to this program about seven friends who form a study group—or actually the study group forms the basis of their friendship at Greendale “Community” College (hence the name of the sitcom). I hesitate to call it a sitcom, as that does not really do it justice—it is quirky, funny, and endearing.

2. Downton Abbey: I have already  written about this – but the Christmas show at the end of the second season ties up some loose ends while leaving a few tantalizing tidbits dangling for the third season.

3. Chopped: Who would not love a show where four chefs are given mystery baskets with weird food items (such as guppies, cornmeal, red liquorice, and lime Jell-O powder) and are asked not only make an appetizer, but one that is edible and presented artistically. This show is the ultimate in grace under pressure.

4. Big Bang Theory:  Cannot get enough of these super smart guys who find life mystifying.

5. The Barefoot Contessa: Any show that stars my favourite cook, Ina Garten, is a show I am going to watch. Her favourite saying is: “How easy is that?” I have written down recipes from her show, and actually made them! Who says there are no miracles?

6. Power and Politics with Evan Solomon:  This is serious entertainment. Political operatives, pundits, and the powers-that-be all vie to be on this show. Unfortunately some of them did not learn the second golden rule: listen quietly and wait your turn.

Okay, I could only come up with six, but who has heard of a top six list?