One of my favourite newspapers asked readers to share their life philosophies and then published a series of responses in the letters to the editor section. Many letter writerss reflected the impact of the pandemic on their thinking. Several resonated with me.
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Kindness is one of those actions that is so simple to do and open to everyone, young and old, female or male, wealthy or of modest means, highly or simply education. A smile, a helping hand, a listening ear, an email to let someone know you’re thinking about them, a harsh word left unsaid — each one a small act that can make a difference to the recipient.
You cannot overestimate the unimportance of practically everything. The other day I said to my husband that Covid-19 has taught me something and that is the importance of family and friends above almost anything else. Ian commented that this was probably wisdom speaking – the kind of wisdom one acquires a bit later in life – and maybe it is. However, this simple truth will be a beacon for me going forward.
Ensure that the world is a kinder, happier place with you in it than it would be without you. No moaning. No doom and gloom. No angry words intended to wound someone. No nasty gossip. Build people up, don’t tear them down. Spread joy not hate. Sing. Send thank you cards. See rule #1.
You are not better than anyone. And no one is better than you. As my grandmother used to say, we all put our pants on one leg at a time. Money doesn’t make someone better than you. Celebrity doesn’t either, nor does power. Ethnicity, religious beliefs, colour, gender, age – these may be facts but they are in no way reasons to feel superior or inferior. I spent way too much of my career trying to overcome being sidelined as a female and resenting the way I was treated. Such wasted and negative energy.
Get off the sidelines. Get in the game. I’ve interpreted this as don’t watch life roll by, get up, get out and do things. Contribute in some way. Make a difference to someone or within your community. For the last 9 years, my writing and the historical fiction community have taken significant time and focus. But other communities are important to me, some that I have neglected, and I fear that I don’t have the right balance.
If you go to bed at night and you’re not proud of the person you were that day, you’ve done something wrong. I posted a variation of this some time ago in An Ideal to Live By. The quote I explored a that time was “every day should be a day I can sign my name to”. Perhaps following the philosophies presented above will determine my success in this endeavour.
Armed with these ideas, the rest of this year should be both meaningful and satisfying! Back to historical fiction next week.
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M.K. Tod writes historical fiction. Her latest novel, PARIS IN RUINS, is available for pre-order on Amazon US, Amazon Canada, Kobo, and Barnes&Noble. An earlier novel, TIME AND REGRET was published by Lake Union. Mary’s other novels, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED are available from Amazon, Nook, Kobo, Google Play and iTunes. She can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads or on her website www.mktod.com.