Monday, April 07, 2008

Six Word Memoir Meme

Each morning is a new gift

I was tagged a few weeks ago to participate in the six word meme but had a mental block when trying to think of something to share about myself. I have already written that mornings are my best time of day. Breakfast is my favourite meal and sleeping in makes me feel sluggish. When I know the day will have a stressful or unpleasant event, I mentally tell myself, "by this time tomorrow morning it will be over." I anticipate each new day as if it were a gift to be opened.

The Geriatric Assessment Unit I work on admits many older people suffering from depression. There are a number of causes for this condition but we frequently see people who simply have nothing to look forward to each day. They no longer have a job or a role within their family unit. They may live in social isolation or struggle with failing physical capabilities. Sometimes our patients perk up significantly after admission because they participate in a daily routine of mealtimes and group activities. They may start helping a less capable roommate and gain a sense of purpose from doing so.

Beth of Beth's Stories wrote a post last month called Fighting the Blues. Sydney Smith's Letter to Georgiana Morpeth, written in 1820, contained 20 tips to overcome melancholy. I printed it off and appreciate the common sense in this piece of advice. I have cut and pasted the list from the British Medical Journal.

Dear Lady Georgiana,

Nobody has suffered more from low spirits than I have done—so I feel for you. Here are my prescriptions.

1st. Live as well as you dare.

2nd. Go into the shower-bath with a small quantity of water at a temperature low enough to give you a slight sensation of cold, 75° or 80°.

3rd. Amusing books.

4th. Short views of human life—not further than dinner or tea.

5th. Be as busy as you can.

6th. See as much as you can of those friends who respect and like you.

7th. And of those acquaintances who amuse you.

8th. Make no secret of low spirits to your friends, but talk of them freely—they are always worse for dignified concealment.

9th. Attend to the effects tea and coffee produce upon you.

10th. Compare your lot with that of other people.

11th. Don't expect too much from human life—a sorry business at the best.

12th. Avoid poetry, dramatic representations (except comedy), music, serious novels, melancholy, sentimental people, and every thing likely to excite feeling or emotion, not ending in active benevolence.

13th. Do good, and endeavour to please everybody of every degree.

14th. Be as much as you can in the open air without fatigue.

15th. Make the room where you commonly sit gay and pleasant.

16th. Struggle by little and little against idleness.

17th. Don't be too severe upon yourself, or underrate yourself, but do yourself justice.

18th. Keep good blazing fires.

19th. Be firm and constant in the exercise of rational religion.

20th. Believe me, dear Lady Georgiana,

Very truly yours,—Sydney Smith

Photo taken from my front door as I left for work at the end of March.
The snow has melted considerably in the past week.


  1. Depression certainly is an insidious disease. Your 6 word meme is one of the things that escapes depressed patients--for them each morning is not a new gift.
    I do like the 20 ways--esp. the last--believe me!

  2. Ruth.

    That is probably some of the best danged advice I've ever read.

    Nothing's changed, has it? Depression and wisdom across the ages.

    I winced when he advised against poetry . . . but I think it's sound advice. It can reinforce melancholy.

    As for the tepid shower: now HERE - I must disagree :0)

  3. While not a morning person, I agree that each day is a new gift if we look at it that way and receive it as such.

  4. Good One!

    Each morning/day is a new gift, an adventure in learning ... good lessons, hard lessons, interesting ideas, opportunities for creativity, opportunities to give and to receive love .... each day holds SO much.

  5. I really like your meme, Ruth. Wise words to live by. And Smith's advice was also excellent. But I would agree with Cathy about the cooler water temp. Brrr!

  6. I love these Ruth. So much truth to them, even now. Beautiful photo too.

  7. KGMom- Yes, belief is the key to many cures.

    Cathy- A tepid shower would get one's mind off their depression, at least temporarily. Likely a precursor to shock therapy.

    AC- You are right, you do not have to be a morning person to look forward to each new day.

    CS- You are a good role model for looking for something interesting or new every day. I think many bloggers are the same way.

    MaryC- And you were the one who tagged me. Why do I find meme's so difficult? But I did like this one.

    Jayne- Thanks. Much of the advice is just plain good common sense.


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