It’s been a busy few weeks for me personally. More on that later.
Here’s an update from the French capital…
Restrictions remain in force here in Paris as COVID rates continue to worry public health officials. The less-severe Omicron variant still strains hospital facilities and staff, but not at crisis levels. Only vaccinated citizens and tourists are allowed to visit museums, attend concerts, and sit in restaurants and cafes.
This would appear to be a safe, logical approach if it weren’t for an inconvenient truth: a recent French government study shows that a person’s chances of being infected with the virus increases 98% when the sit indoors at a cafe among 50 people or more.
This would lead one to believe that the government has now adopted the policy of managing the virus, not getting rid of it, especially with this allegedly milder version, until it plays itself out. (A risky but understandable approach.)
Parisians have opted to handle this situation with a predictable mix of patience, elegance, nonchalance, and no small amount of irony. As they do, I will handle it in my own way: ordering my daily coffee and croissant to go, merci beaucoup. There will be time enough to enjoy a sidewalk perch when the storm has passed.
On a (barely) lighter note, our foreign correspondent David wrote me recently, shocked and appalled at the State of the World…at least when it comes to travel attire. He said he felt like a ‘freak’, being one of the few of well-dressed passengers in the airport recently. I cringe to imagine the flip-flops, cargo pants, warm-up suits, and tank tops that engulfed him. Hopefully, he had a cocktail on the flight to soothe his nerves.
He sounded fairly sartorially traumatized. We should all wish him a speedy recovery…and remember to dress nicely as we all start to travel again. Note: those who don’t think it’s possible to ‘dress well’ and also ‘be comfortable’ probably don’t know how to dress. (Get your copy of The Old Money Book or Old Money Style today, if there’s any confusion.)
As I may have mentioned, the French presidential election looms on the horizon. Voters will head to the polls this April to bless President Macron with another term, or hand the reins of power off to another candidate.
Far-right candidates spewing hate and far left candidates boiling with indignation have their niche audiences, it seems. The ‘first round’ of the elections allegedly allows the citizens to ‘vote with their heart’ and support idealistic campaigns. The runoffs that happen in the second round offer them the opportunity to then ‘vote with their head’ and select the person best suited for the job.
I hope that system works this year. The country doesn’t need the vote they made with their heart to turn around and bite them, you know, somewhere else.
There is the fairly moderate Macron, who has, overall, done a commendable job with the economy and the pandemic. (In contrast with US and UK leaders.) Running against him are some scary people with equally scary ideas in the running. France needs a steady hand at the wheel, and European countries need a reliable partner in France.
Finally, Jesse, one of our loyal readers, commented on a recent post. (One about taking time every 30 days to contemplate and plan.) She shared her approach to achieving goals, prioritizing tasks, and increasing quality of life. I thought it was a great comment and deserved a place here.
Enjoy it below. Thank you, Jess. Stay safe, everyone. We’ll speak soon. – BGT
I, too, have a similar practice, although I fear mine’s less sophisticated. I’ve kept a physical, paper monthly planner for years and can’t imagine living without one. I buy a new one at the end of each year from Amazon – a nice, sturdy one, but by no means posh.
Each month, when turning to a fresh 2-page spread and filling in important dates, I copy a few little lists that have formed themselves over the years. This wasn’t intentional – it just happened that I kept a running “to do” list in the sidebar… and it became multiples that now spill over into empty days. There are now four lists, unnamed, but they’re roughly “To Do,” “To Be,” “To Learn,” and “To Keep in Touch.”
The last list never changes, but it’s the most important: it’s my dear friends and family I want to maintain a relationship with and not forget to write or call. “To Learn” is a behemoth now and barely fits into a square no matter how cramped my writing – but that’s because I never consider any skill fully learned. It expands but rarely shrinks. “To Be” includes basic things like “Be humble and kind,” and “Always thank, compliment and appreciate,” as well as anything I might really need to work on about myself.
If I were perfect, I’d always remember; but I’m not perfect, and I’m afraid I’ll become weighed down by my own worries without the daily reminder. “To Do” is increasingly short compared to the rest, which matter so much more – and I see more with age that the others are all that really matter. “To Do” the right thing will follow the rest.
I may start making the monthly ritual a more pleasant one involving coffee and a relaxing environment – and include your Lists and thought-provoking questions.