Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: bbc, contentment, geese, goose, happiness, michel de montaigne, radio 4, weather
Actually, this isn’t really about goose poo, although it might have done if my lunchtime snooze in St James’ Park had gone wrong.
It’s September 22nd and the sun is shining on central London. Until August this little island off the north west coast of Europe was having a blessed summer. Then I got married. August was rubbish. Autumnal and spiteful. And now we are nearing the end of September and it must be around 25 degrees out there – hence the lunchtime snooze and the concern about goose poo.
I have frequent discussions about the weather with Mrs Monkeysized. She is of the opinion that everything needs to be perfect all the time; anything less is a cause for complaint. She is, after all, Italian, and therefore overly demanding when it comes to sunshine (she also relishes complaining). I’m from the blowy north east of England and therefore slightly more tolerant of the capricious turns that the weather takes. For me, coping with what one doesn’t necessarily want is also a skill that is useful in appreciating life.
On the way back from the park I listened to an interesting edition of BBC radio 4’s ‘Great Lives’, looking at the life of Michel de Montaigne.
He seemed an impressively balanced chap, who relished have enormously painful bladder stones because it allowed him to appreciate the moments that he was pain free more fully. This from Sarah Bakewell, the expert on the programme:
“…his general feeling that one was happier in a somewhat imperfect condition, because if we expect everything to be perfect then life was going to fall short of that and we’re going to lament that we haven’t got what we want… If you adjust to a less than perfect state of affairs it actually releases an enormous pressure off you and it allows you to enjoy what you do have. And again, it’s about putting things in perspective. It’s about not expecting life on earth to be heaven, but just the messy, ordinary, flawed, imprecise, imperfect business that life actually is.”
I enjoyed the sun in the knowledge that it was an unexpected and temporary gift. And when I got up, I was delighted not to have an arm that smelled of goose poo. On Saturday I’ll go to watch Middlesbrough taking on Watford, pleased that even if I were a multi-millionaire I would still be doing exactly the same thing, no matter how badly they play. And it’ll probably be raining.
Mrs Monkeysized, take note!
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