Love letters written in 1901 to a Frenchwoman named Gabrielle in Paris. The bundle of letters was found at a Paris flea market.
Have you seen author and blogger Patti Digh's insightful new book Four Word Self Help: Simple Wisdom for Complex Lives? Patti talks about the need for simplying our busy lives; how the most important concepts usually may be summed up in four words or less.
This blog post title echoes Patti's philosophy, translating from French to "you simply your life." Here's my take on three of Patti's four-word ideas for living:
Write more love letters. Can we ever have enough love letters? I think not. These thoughtful missives, penned from the heart, reveal more about us - and those who love us - than any store-bought gift chosen with care.
Years ago, I was on assignment in the Middle East and left many valuable items with a friend in San Francisco. Sadly she vanished, taking my treasures with her. I really haven't missed them, except for a couple of sentimental family items and a stack of love letters, bound with ribbon. Those foreign-postmarked letters written in green ink on heavy vellum reflected an important part of my personal history and can never be replaced. So Patti is right: we should all write more love letters. Email just doesn't have the same panache.
My daughter Jordana pictured last December standing in the Dead Sea, Jordan, for the first time since she was eight years old.
Tell them your story. Time passes so quickly. As a journalist, I am acutely aware of the necessity of writing things down; recording events as accurately and objectively as possible. As a photographer, I am convinced each of us has a responsibility to tell our own story; to capture key moments in our lives and the lives of those close to us, not only for ourselves, but for generations to come. One's sense of identity and place in this world is important; each of us has a role in helping preserve our wholly unique family histories and special events. Expensive possessions may come and go, but our personal stories and photographs are timeless and therefore priceless.
A trio of bicycles parked by a canal, Delft, Holland.
Buy experiences, not things. Nothing provides more education and perspective than travel. Throughout my life, I've tended to favour adventure over stability; experience over material possessions. I may not own a big house or access a fat bank account, but I do have a wealth of experience. I am rich through the risks I've taken; the places I've traveled; the people I've met and befriended; those I love and who love me. It doesn't take money to try something new; to do something different; to make new friends. Our choices and our experiences define us and inform our memories...It''s how we spend our time, talents and resources that matters; not how we spend our money.
For more simple wisdom, read Patti's delightful book packed with warm and witty anecdotes. Four Word Self Help is also beautifully-illustrated by numerous artists and bloggers. Get your copy here or at your local bookstore. You may already be familiar with Patti's best-selling book Life is a Verb. And don't forget to visit her blog 37 Days for inspiring stories about making the most of each day.