One of my favorite words in Finish is “ilo” which means “joy”. I love the sound, idea and meaning of it. But it is not easy to be joyful. I think it is not a coincidence that the International Labour Organization is abbreviated as ILO.
Gretchen Rubin, who writes about happiness, has concluded that it is hard to be light. By this she means that it requires work to be happy although it looks easy. But it’s not. It’s not easy to see the positive side of unpleasant things whereas it is much easier to sulk.
I knew once a person who was able to see the positive side of things. Even when that person was dying, I would hear stories about the lovely soft kitten they had or their smart son. This person had all the reason to sulk and feel miserable being in pain and emotional distress – but decided otherwise. Only years after I realise that lightness was harder to obtain than it seemed to others.
I’m terrible at being light. Becoming a parent has forced me into trying to be light. But at times, I’m sulking when I could decide otherwise. However, it seems being light gets easier when I try harder. It’s hard to be light, right?
Writing rule # 1: The more time has passed from writing a text, the easier it gets to evaluate its objectively.
As I read a month old application related to my PhD I felt like writing a postscript to the organisation and apologising for all the inconveniences possibly caused by my failures in logic and grammar. For instance, how can I not notice that I wrote “dominate” instead of “dominant”? Very annoying. Especially when my colleague, who read the text, said “you’ll spot the simple mistakes”. Well, I didn’t.
Writing rule # 2: If enough time has passed from writing a text, one wonders who this wise person is who wrote all these excellent things.
There was a similar feeling some years or decades ago in a language studio while practicing French pronunciation. Not being used to hearing my own voice, I was sure my teacher had mixed up the lines and I was listening to someone else. I was rather critical on some aspects about the recording but in general it was impressively good for a first session. Until the person made exactly the same mistake I just made a minute ago. The same applies to old texts. It is quite often when I return to an older text I wonder how I could produce such fluent wording. Unfortunately, as often I notice annoying logical errors I remember trying to cover very hard. As often time has not buried them any deeper.
How to learn to accept oneself as an incomplete writer? And please do not comment on any mistakes in logic, grammar, tone, or the position of stars and the moon.