Tuesday, January 4, 2011


My father always told me I expected too much. He also told me, beginning at a very early age, that life wasn’t always fair, that the sooner I learned to accept that, the easier my life might be.

I’ve always struggled with this. That whole “do unto others as you’d have them do unto you” seems like a good way to live your life. If I want someone to respect me, I need to respect them. If I don’t want to be lied to, I don’t lie to others. If I want my back scratched, I scratch yours. It seems simple to me. It doesn’t feel as though I’m expecting too much. If I can do it, can’t others?

We are such a blip in the universe and take ourselves so seriously. I guess living here on this beautiful island surrounded by nature makes me realize how insignificant one human being is in the grand scheme of things. It’s quite clear to me that we are not in charge. Every time we visit the beach, more sand has shifted, more shoreline altered. Every walk we take with Rupert on the Island Trail, another tree has fallen.

A customer recently was chatting with us, sitting on the loveseat by the fireplace in the bookstore after making his purchase. “There’s a piece of the Canary Islands that’s going to break off and send a tsunami this way. All these lovely books are going to get wet. What will you do when the waves hit?” he asked.

And it took me back to my time as a Human Resources Director when I had a saying typed out and taped to my computer monitor that helped me keep my sanity those days. I can’t remember where the words came from; I know I read them somewhere. They were words I imagined my father could have said to me, words that always calmed me, made me realize I could alter my expectations to meet the reality of any situation. It was the perfect opportunity to quote them.

I said, “If you can’t stop the waves, you can always learn to surf.”

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