When I first started reporting on the ready-to-wear collections in Paris (New York, London, Milan), I couldn’t believe I was there in the midst of a universe I had only imagined.It was all too surreal, too out of this world glamorous. A dream come true, a dream I hadn’t dreamt. How did I get so lucky?
And that, in a way, is the story of my life. No planning. Plop! Things happen. I’m amazed.
When I look back on what has been, and continues to be what I can only say is, all in all, a charmed life, I can’t help but wonder how the pieces fell together so beautifully without a grand scheme in place.
Of course I stumbled. First marriage didn’t work, but out of it I have my exquisite Andrea, plus a few side benefits, a mother-in-law who was like a second mother, brothers-in-law I love and see to this day, a sister-in-law who is like the sister I never had.
Was I, am I, like a cork on the sea as the French say, putting myself out there and letting circumstances direct and control my life? Not exactly. Unexpected opportunities presented themselves. I either took advantage of them or passed (more on the latter in a second). In other words, I’ve made considered decisions. I can’t say I haven’t been ambitious, I have been, but not a goal oriented ambition. I have always so loved what I’ve done that I couldn’t get enough of it, so employers probably thought, “My, my she is quite the worker, we can definitely get our money’s worth out of her.”
I was living my dream. But there was another one on the horizon whom I had yet to meet.
I guess what I’m saying as I sort this out in my mind is that I’ve pretty much always done exactly what I’ve wanted to do. Never did I lie in bed in the morning dreading the day ahead.
This brings me back to the top of the story: “It’s better to have remorse than regret.”*
I first heard the expression at a chi-chi dinner party during the collections on my first professional outing in Paris. From that moment on, I decided it was the perfect way to live one’s life.
Here is how it translates: Take risks. Failure is never the end of the world. You tried; it didn’t work out, but at least you tried. Move on. Take more risks. Some will work out magnificently. You’ve got a dream, go for it. This is not Pollyanna psycho babble, stay with me. . .
Try to measure life out in quanta of “what if I do?” and “what if I don’t?” Will I regret something that is past and gone forever or is it better to have remorse over something ventured and nothing gained? At least you know. You’ll never know if you don’t take that risk, test that dream.
Now, for those of you who think one can apply that formula to, for example having an affair with one’s best friend’s husband. The rule does not apply. Although it might apply to a chocolate mousse or too much champagne. A conscience counts.
|All the drawings by Edith.|
Not much remorse and honestly no regrets to date. I wish Drea and my adorable son-in-law, Will, lived down the lane instead of in Chicago, but c’est la vie. I wish some of the people I love lived around the corner instead of in Michigan, Texas, Colorado, California, Hawaii, Georgia, Florida, New York and Ohio, but love travels well by phone and e-mail between visits.
Do I have any unfulfilled wishes and dreams? Most certainly, but they are yet to be identified.
I think one major hope and wish I’ve been dreaming about for years may soon come true and as for the rest, I’ll simply slip back into character and see what life has in store for me. And act accordingly. I know it will be filled with dreams I could never imagine. I love surprises and I believe totally in serendipity.