I am on a plane with Stefan Zweig, the Austrian author whose work inspired Wes Anderson to write Grand Budapest Hotel. He is in my hands in book form because of course he killed himself and his wife Lotte in 1941 in Brazil. They died of an overdose of barbiturates, holding hands in bed (somewhat romantically).
My observations from twenty thousand feet follow:
1) Every journey is a chance for a new start.
2) I am focused and organized on a plane in a way that I never am in real life. I am writing lists, identifying goals, straightening out the kinks in my life with the help of my sturdy notebook. Perhaps 5 minutes at the beginning of very day doing exactly this would save time & create a positive forward momentum?
3) I should start every day with an Americano with steamed milk. (Thank you JEF & your trusty Nespresso machine.)
4) Perspective: I have wasted a lot of time on emotion when, in truth, time would be better spent walking, running, writing, listening to music, reading great books. Emotion should take a back seat. Shift perspective first. Do not react. Wait. If possible.
5) Love is always the answer. But it must be kind. I can think of no situation that isn't made immediately better when an attitude of loving kindness is applied to it. I must remember this in my weak, anxious moments.
6) Dogs make everything better.
7) Sitting still for too long is the devil. Get a hula hoop or a skipping rope. Or turn up the music and dance.
8) Count your blessings. Mine are abundant.
9) There is no such thing as a failed marriage. There are long marriages and short marriages and there are mistakes I am sure, but a bond and friendship of over 25 years with one person, bringing two excellent human beings into the world, is a triumph.
10) Change is possible but it takes gargantuan effort and a stalwart focus. But you can have anything you want enough and are prepared to work hard for.
If I die today I would like R. Vaughan Williams "The Lark Ascending" played at my funeral. And Faure's "In Paradisum" and something jolly, that people will want to dance to. And perhaps some Barbara Ras or some Carol Ann Duffy (These are the things one thinks about soaring over America). Also, pork and leek sausages, egg & tomato sandwiches, elderberry fizz, pirate jokes, impromptu singing, freesias, peonies, dogs. Also, please bury me under a big English Oak. Somewhere we can go for picnics.
If I die today I will say that my children are my single proudest achievement, not that I had much to do with the way these excellent people have turned out. I watched them together last weekend, tall and beautiful and inquisitive and smiling, and all was well with the world. We will be safe in their hands, I thought.
And now I fear I am becoming treacly. We will speak anon. I am sure of it.