Although Audrey Hepburn is famous for her iconic look and fashion sense, what I have learned to love and appreciate about her is that she had this unflappable ability to stay true to herself, and to be ok with making choices that might not always line up with what society feels she should do. She left Hollywood at the height of her career to spend time with her family. She knew what was important, and the spotlight wasn’t cathartic to her.
She knew what she had to do to find happiness, and while she struggled in some areas of her life, she always found a way through it. In the end, she learned to find happiness in all areas of her life, by starting with herself.
I have struggled over the last few years to find my footing. It is ingrained in myself and most women that we put others ahead of ourselves, and that we need to have the perfect kitchen, the perfect meals, the perfect bodies, the perfect kids, and the perfect life. However, that isn’t what life is about! I have spent far too much time, trying to appeal to those outside of my home. Why? Does it matter what others think of me? Do those people ever set foot in my house? Is having the perfect bikini body worth 10 months of starving myself, just to hear the words “wow , you look great”? No, it really doesn’t matter. It is time that we do things to make ourselves feel good on the inside. If having a clean house makes you feel good, then clean it! But do it for you!
I often run myself ragged trying to have everything perfect. Will my kids remember the clean house and mom saying no to playing with them? Or will my kids remember a house that was lived in, and mom chased them around the mess trying to tickle them? Which leads me to this quote from Audrey:
“There is one difference between a long life and a great dinner; in the dinner, the sweet things come last.”~Audrey Hepburn~
This quote stopped me in my tracks. The sweet things in life are happening all around us, each and every day. We have to start being more present, and start noticing and appreciating the things we have in our life NOW, not yesterday and not tomorrow. NOW. I often read books from Deepak Chopra, and the one thing I have learned to do to be more present is to stop, bring awareness to my beating heart, and start to listen to all the sounds that are occurring around me. Open your eyes to all the things happening, like the trees swaying in the breeze, the bird flying by, and to see the life that is happening right now in front of you. You don’t want to reach the end of your life, and look back and realize that the entire time, you had everything you were searching for but you were blind to it all.
” I have to be alone very often. I’d be quite happy if I spent from Saturday night until Monday morning alone in my apartment. That’s how I refuel.”~Audrey Hepburn~
I have learned recently that I have a need to have moments of solitude. I have been feeling guilty about this feeling for a while. During this pandemic and subsequent lock-downs, I have not been able to work and my girls are being home schooled. This has left very little opportunity for me to take time for myself. With my health, I haven’t wanted to go out to any stores, and have tried to limit my social contacts with those outside of the home, so I do feel that it has impacted my health in some ways. The guilt comes out of feeling that I should have more gratitude for being given all this extra time to see my kids, and for having a roof over my head, and food in my belly. The guilt comes because for some reason, I haven’t felt like I was allowed to have this time. However, the more I spread myself thin, the more cranky I was getting. The more days that passed where I didn’t allow myself time to meditate, read, write, do yoga, or do things to advance my own health, I felt more sick, more unbalanced, more rage. Yes I said rage. I found myself being short and curt with my kids. I found myself irritated with my husband, and irritated with life around me in general. I was more pessimistic, more angry, more unhappy. When I heard this quote from Audrey, I felt validation. I felt that it was OK to need time alone. When she said that time alone was how she refueled, I felt this light go on inside me. That is how I felt. She wasn’t afraid to say she needed time. Why was I so afraid to ask for time? Why was I so afraid to admit that I need that time too? Why did it take me so long to realize that I needed to refuel. I created a space in my house to do that, and I wasn’t using it. I realized, that I needed to take this time, so I could be a better mom, a better wife, a better version of me. I needed to refuel my soul.
“For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone”~Audrey Hepburn ~
The way to true beauty, is through kindness, and seeing the best in people. It is time we start talking about the good we see in people, instead of the bad. It is time that we see beauty as more than just the shell that holds all of our souls. With so much bad going on around us, we have forgotten that there is still a lot of great things going on. Audrey lived through the war, and waiting on the other side was humanity wanting to help and fix all the bad that had occurred. We will get through this pandemic. There is a lot of good waiting for us on the other side of this. This pandemic has taught me to value those in my life, and to return life to the simple basics. Sit and talk with someone you love, hug someone you love, play with someone you love, and listen to someone you love. That is all we crave isn’t it?
“As you grow older you will discover you have two hands. One for helping yourself, and one for helping others”~Audrey Hepburn~
I have had the need and desire to help people my whole life, and since being removed from paramedic I have struggled to find a way to fill that void that was created. The void wasn’t the job, the void was in no longer having a job where I was helping people everyday. However, I don’t need a job to do that. I am learning that now. I can help someone every day with a kind word. I can help some one every day with a kind gesture. I can help someone every day by checking in with them. Everyone in this world is going through something. Everyone in this world has a hidden feeling. It is hard to reject and ignore an act of kindness when it is given to you, it only spreads goodness. If we all were to just check in with someone today, can you imagine the ripple that one act would create?
“When you have nobody you can make a cup of tea for, when nobody needs you, that’s when I think life is over”~Audrey Hepburn~
I leave you with this one final quote. Take a moment to process this. Solitude is different than loneliness. We all need to feel purpose. We all need to have a reason for living. The relationships in your life will formulate the type of path you will take. We all need to have someone to love, and to love us. Invest in the right people, and they will invest in you. Find those people that will make you a cup of tea every day. Find someone that needs you. Make life need you as much as you need life. Audrey made life work for her. She did things that made her happy, and didn’t conform to others ideals. Don’t conform to societal ideals, find your own life. There is no wrong path if it makes you happy.