Let your boat of life be light

Thirty-six years ago my soon-to-be husband gave me a subscription to The Mother Earth News for Christmas. (In a nutshell, that speaks volumes about the person I am.) The gift notice came as a card with a memorable quote by Victorian English writer and humorist Jerome Klapka Jerome. I just loved the metaphor of it. So much so, all these years later, I can recall the entire quote word for word.

Here’s my New Year’s wish for you from his pen:

“Let your boat of life be light, packed with only what you need – a homely home and simple pleasures, one or two friends worth the name, someone to love and someone to love you, a cat, a dog, and a pipe or two, enough to eat and enough to wear, and a little more than enough to drink; for thirst is a dangerous thing.”

Most people go through a year with some buffeting by life. On the downside of 2013, we’ve had assorted sadness in my family. I’ve lost loved ones this year. I had a bout of pneumonia that I just couldn’t shake. We saw the end of a very special 25-year event my husband and I built with our own hands. Worse, my old puppy, my empty nest child, is fading before my eyes. Sadness came in the form of grief, huge life changes, disappointment, and heartbreak.  Life is like that. Sad or negative things can be instantly recalled and revisited with such clarity that you’re almost reliving them days, weeks, months, years later. But how often do happy things come to mind without searching for them? I have a theory on this and it involves mankind’s early development.

Negative things, like those found in a wild environment, have potential to kill you so it’s important to steer clear of them. You steer clear by being able to recognize them in an instant. It’s simple self-preservation. You avoid them because negative associations can be recalled in a flash to protect you. Rare now are the dangerous bears in the back of the cave, rare too are the other situations you need to recognize to save your life. But the instinct for self-preservation remains. It opens the mental and emotional door to things like sorrow, personal slights, disappointments, and heartbreak. And the brain revisits them in their painful entirety because instinct says self-preservation comes with remembering. And the heart aches with the memory. That’s my theory anyway. I did say I think too much.  🙂

Having rheumatoid arthritis since age 15, my personal philosophy has always been it could be worse so be happy it isn’t! I’m no Pollyanna in my outlook. I’m simply a pragmatist. In all honesty I can say in retrospect, I’ve had a very good year.  In between all of the above were far more good things. I had fun and laughs. I was entertained. I had interesting life experiences and personal growth. I had love and friendship. What’s more, people I care for are still doing well, and that makes me happy. And, my old puppy still seeks me out for ear scratches and shoulder rubs and is doing well with her physical therapy sessions. On good days she’ll carry a stick around the yard even though she fetches them only in her dreams. Seeing her run in her sleep makes me happy too. I have lots of reasons to smile, and many to be grateful for. Tomorrow when I put my happy synchronicity jar on the table for a year, I’ll prove it. (scroll down to learn what that is.)

I’m ending 2013 with just a few things that gave me smiles and laughs throughout the year and I hope they do the same for you. It was very hard to choose so I did a smile test to be sure they still make me smile. 🙂
(If you subscribe and get my daily post in email, the video clips might not work. Find them live on the blog.)

If you’re on Pinterest, my account is filled with happy and interesting things. Do stop by and feel free to harvest things from my collection for your own. The top 81 of those boards are mine. My titles all begin with a little heart. The remaining 118 boards belong to other pinners and I was invited to join them. Beware. Pinterest can be addicting and you’ll lose your sense of time. Case in point – I have 81 boards. LOL

And this last one. Have a safe and Happy New Year! Party on!


all7books-smallloveWaits.cover.swLove Waits in Unexpected Places – Scorching Samplings of Unusual Love Stories

Sample my love stories for free!


ny3If you’re here for the first time, my husband and I are assembling a vintage holiday postcard scrapbook one card at a time. I hope you’ve enjoyed them. Here are the last.  😀



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First Kiss Wednesday ~ share your best 300 word kiss.
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About ~RoseAnderson

Rose Anderson is an award-winning author and dilettante who loves great conversation and delights in discovering interesting things to weave into stories. Rose also writes under the pen name Madeline Archer.
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19 Responses to Let your boat of life be light

  1. What a lovely post, Rose. Happy New Year to you, the husband and anyone else on site or passing through. I have appreciated taking up some of your opportunities throughout the year. I don’t know if it’s raised my profile, but it makes me fell I’m doing something. Anne Stenhouse

    • Thank you Anne. My goal is to raise everyone up. Ripples in the pond of life are very good things, and they always come back. One day when we’re all established authors, I’d love to meet up with everyone at a conference. Have a fantastic 2014. 🙂

  2. Rose, I think you have a very good attitude towards life, and I think you’re spot on about why negative experiences are so much more vivid than happy ones. I’ll never forget the Christmas following the death of my grandmother when I was ten, though the rest of my childhood Christmases have faded into a general memory of vague happy times, none standing out particularly. Also remember the Christmas we spent on the road and ended up having a dinner of hamburgers and fries at a White Castle somewhere in No. Carolina and were happy for it. Not negative but unusual.

    Anyway, I do hope 2014 is a good year for you, without as much heartache as 2013. I like Jerome’s quote, though due to allergies I’ll pass on the cat and the pipe, thanks very much. 😉

    • lol yeah hubby is terribly allergic to cats too. I love the metaphor about thirst being a dangerous thing. Sometimes just having enough to be happy is enough.

      Thanks Linda, I try. I do understand. My dad passed away the day after Christmas about 12 years ago. It’s a sad thing to pin grief on a holiday, you can’t help but revisit it. A year doesn’t go by without remembering my parents and sisters during the holidays and wishing they were still around. I hope you have an amazing 2014. 🙂

  3. jdfaver says:

    Yes, it was a lovely post, Rose. Thanks for sharing your joys and your sorrows, but that’s what friends are for. 🙂 I loved the Earl Scruggs and Friends video. Spotted so many big-name stars in there. Nice to know they have other talents.
    Happy 2014, my friend.

    • I saw Earl many years ago along with Doug Kershaw the ragin’ cajun. I don’t think I slept that night — SO much energy. Doug Kershaw had an umbrella basket of fiddle bows. He was bowing so hard and fast his horsehair bows would go *poof* and without breaking stride or rhythm, he grabbed another and kept on going. And of course Earl Scruggs was fabulous as always. I’m a fangirl for bluegrass and fiddle.

      Happy new year!

  4. Melissa Keir says:

    Rose, I think that you have a wonderful attitude and that goes a long way in life. I know that we agonize and rehash the bad rather than remember the good. Maybe we have so much good that they blend together. This year I gave my family (sisters, dad and aunt) the best gift… a dvd of all the old home movies my mom made. Now they all can look back and remember those good times.

    Happy New Year’s Rose!

  5. The Geico commercial my my all time favourite! We didn’t get it up here in Canada – but I saw it when we were down in North Carolina visiting daughter.

    • Isn’t that a hoot? Hubby and I went to the movies the other day. They have a camel commercial there too, same camel telling everyone to turn off their cellphones. Instead of humpday, he says movie day. It made me laugh. Thanks for stopping by, Victoria.

  6. Dear Rose, you have enriched my life in 2013 more than you will ever know. You spread light, and love, and the spirit of sharing and make so many people’s days better. You are certainly enriching my experience as a writer and promoter in more ways than I could have wished, and for that I thank you dearly. May you and your family be blessed with joy, health and prosperity in this new year. And I love the vintage card~~the old wise man hermit with the lamp of illumination!

  7. Thanks for the smiles, Rose! Happy New Year!

    • You’re welcome Susan. Now every time you have a bad day, you can picture sledding labs and a nose-honking manatee. They never fail. Thanks for stopping by. Happy new year to you too. 🙂

  8. Vanessa says:

    Rose, I have been following your blog for a couple of months now and never fail to be uplifted and encouraged. Today’s post is without exception. I try to remember two things 1. you cant enjoy the rainbow without the rain…. and 2. even on the worst day, someone somewhere will have it worse, so get up and keep moving… So Thankyou for the time you spend to post, thankyou for your books and I hope that 2014 is a particularly great year.

  9. Nancy Jardine says:

    The New year beckons now and those disappointments you mention are in the past. i think a healthy dose of pragmatism gets us through a lot in life! Best wishes for 2014!

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