Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Yesterday NPR aired an interview with the 90 year old Rosamond Bernier about her memoir entitled Some of my Lives. What struck me about the piece wasn’t the obvious privilege that put her in the position to meet some of the greatest figures of the 20th century, but the spirit that embraced her opportunities with curiosity and enthusiasm. The NPR article online begins: 
“In 1947, Vogue magazine sent Rosamond Bernier to Paris to cover European cultural life as it recovered after World War II. She met everyone who was anybody — Pablo Picasso befriended her, Henri Matisse gave her fashion tips, Alice B. Toklas baked for her. Bernier's memoir Some of My Lives is a lively compendium of this movable feast of art and genius — and of the author's own considerable charm.” 
It’s hard not to envy the opportunities Ms. Bernier’s circumstances afforded her and yet how many other wealthy young women of her time sat on the sidelines and never took advantage of the world their position opened to them? Many young women are charming, but Ms. Bernier’s curiosity and willingness to put herself out there endeared her to the creative geniuses of her time in a way no amount of money or parental influence could do.
 As I listened to the piece, I couldn’t help but think about my favorite movie of 2011, MIDNIGHT IN PARIS, where Gil (Owen Wilson) travels back in time and is befriended by literary legends Hemmingway, Stein, and the Fitzgeralds. Gill had Woody Allen and a great script to fulfill his dream but he also had a joie de vivre that opened him to new experiences. 
I realized that joy is something anyone can have and interesting connections can be made no matter who or where you are. I’m lucky to live in a big city, so why don’t I go to art galleries, museums, concerts on a regular basis? Every week there are author signings at bookstores around the city, cultural events, speakers on all kinds of fascinating topics. Our universities, community colleges and specialty schools offer continuing education classes in everything from languages to ancient philosophy to wine tasting. And hundreds of special interest organizations welcome interested newcomers. There are sporting events, fairs, arboretums, parks. The sad truth is I get too busy with my day to day routine and don’t make time for these adventures and the interesting people I wouldn’t meet otherwise. 
If I want to live my own charmed life, I need to embrace more of the wonderful experiences my world has to offer. As of today, I plan to do something that enriches my life at least once a week. Can’t wait to research all the choices I have for this weekend! 
What is it that makes you feel alive and happy? If you defined a your own version of a Charmed Life, what would it be?


Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Thanks for this post, Lark. I need a shove out of my same old/same old weekend routine. Hubs and I will be going out for tapas--a new-for-us treat, but surely we can squeeze in something mentally or spiritually enlightening.

I, too, liked MIDNIGHT IN PARIS.

Sarah Andre said...

There's a line in a song by Joe Walsh: "I can't complain, but sometimes I still do" that resonates strongly with me.

I live a life little girls dream about having when they grow up. But I often forget the abundance of happiness and security surrounding me. It's so easy to get wrapped up in petty annoyances and self pity...until you drive by a homeless person.

If it's about taking advantage of adventure I can point to the 6 weeks my friend and I stayed in Tuscany writing a novel, socializing with the locals instead of being tourists and traveling the countryside every weekend.

But it WAS an adventure because I don't travel and meet new people all the time and I wouldn't want that for myself. Thankfully, I'm comfortable in my little Houston routine and need to remember more often that it's an amazingly charmed life.

Lark Howard said...

Speaking of old songs, Sarah, I've always loved the line "I'll live a lush life in a small dive."

Everything is relative, isn't it? And it's wonderful that each person has his or her own perception of adventure, contentment and a charmed life.

LynNerdKelley said...

Great post. Most people don't have that drive to get out and conquer with charisma. I'm such a homebody anymore. There are so many wonderful places I could go, too, and authors to meet and art exhibits to see, but I love being at home and it usually takes an invitation to get me to go to one of those events!