Saturday, January 19, 2008

Belated New Year Wisdom

My dear friend (for the sake of this blog entry I'll call SS), who's a bit of a traveller/free spirit, but simultaneously very grounded, sent her friends a New Year email message.

Her words come from her own experience and insight, which includes most recently upping sticks to spend at least a year living in Lviv, Ukraine where she has recently rediscovered family. Her father escaped Poland when the Second World War broke out, and he ended up as a refugee in the UK. He'd believed until about 2 years ago that all of his family - parents, siblings, cousins etc - had been killed. Only to discover that most of them survived! What a shock that must have been....many have died from natural causes, but he's met his sister again after 60+ years. SS's rediscovered family are now Ukranian because of border changes which occurred around the time of war.

SS has decided to reconnect with this lost part of her heritage and background. She's over there learning the Ukrainian language, and teaching English to the Lvivians! Perhaps living with her family in an Eastern European country which is not part of the EU, has helped her to see life in a different way. I don't intend for this to sound patronising; I send much respect and love her over to SS :) :

I want to remind you all of something really really simple that I realised recently: Time is the most valuable and finite resource that we have and it seems ridiculous to me that so many of us waste it doing things that don't enrich our lives or the lives of the people around us, or trade it for money - which there's an infinite amount of in the world (okay, maybe it's not in our pockets, but is it really more important than time?).

Doing the things that you feel you should do, or doing something just because you've always done it might just be a great big waste of time. It's all too easy to get sucked into the vortex of doom and gloom created by the press - a week reading the British papers has made that all too clear - but life is pretty much what you make of it and it has occurred to me that there are a million and one great things going on out there. At least. So make up your mind that you want to be a part of it! Forget about making the usual trite New Year's resolutions that you will fail to keep (you know it's true - that's why you make them at New Year, because the fact that it's traditional to fail provides you with every excuse not to see them through!). Make 2008 really count. Take a risk and do the stuff that you WANT to do and the stuff that will make you, and the people you care most about, happy. Don't make excuses.


barbara said...

Hi Abby,
This is an incredible story.
Your friend's life will never be the same, now that she has discovered her long-lost family.
I can doubly relate, being a genealogist.

Such true words of wisdom.
I wish your friend a happy and enrichening year in Ukraine.

Joyce Hopewell said...

Wise words and a wake up call. What better way to start the new year than to get out of a cosy rut and do something meaningful that you really want to do?
:-)) xx

ginabeloved said...

oh really?! I am so happy for them.

seev said...

Yes, it must have been unbelievably great for SS to find so many of her family alive and be able to go to the Ukraine and teach English there while learning Ukranian.