Life Lessons We All Should Consider From Alice Taylor’s Pen


As you move forward in life, you will usually come across people who turn out to be teachers for you.

At that point, you might not feel particularly lucky about it, as the lesson taught by such a mentor may not be enjoyable.

For example, you might one day realize that there is someone in your life that you help a little bit and more and more regularly.

Almost imperceptibly, the little help becomes a little more help, then a little more, and suddenly you realize that you are constantly on the run and have no time to do your own things. .

You are suddenly too committed; you run and race. Over time, you may notice that small jobs, regular and new, have just become expected of you and everything is received a bit casually.

You may start to feel a bit taken for granted. But you’re not quite sure what to do about it, and you don’t want to tip the boat.

Inevitably, a push comes that forces you to accept that the balance in the relationship is gone.

For example, you may have a sudden need for help, which is met by impatience, unkindness, or unavailability from the person you have helped so much.

Or, perhaps, due to circumstances beyond your control, one day you are not available to help when needed and the response is sulky or cold.

There could be a comment, left unfinished, like “Well, okay, if that’s too awkward …”

You might feel guilty. You may become annoyed by this feeling of guilt. You may even get directly angry at being taken for granted.

But there is another way to look at it all.

The person was a teacher.

Now you have learned something about your desire to please. You are forced to realize that you have inadvertently given up some of your power and allowed yourself to be used.

Maybe you haven’t respected your own limits. You end up feeling ashamed, angry or depressed by the lesson, but if you are wise you take heed of it.

So life sends us teachers and sometimes, unfortunately, the world being as it is, the lessons we have to learn can be tough.

How lucky we are, then, when a nice teacher arrives to give us a warm and caring lesson. West Cork writer Alice Taylor, although she will probably never recognize that she is such a mentor, is a gentle teacher whose lessons come from a long and busy life and the unprecedented isolation caused by the Covid pandemic, when she discovered the challenges and pleasures of living alone.

In her latest book, Tea For One, Taylor remembers an elderly lady who stayed with her and her family for some time. She was an extremely aristocratic, very intelligent and impeccably outspoken person who, as Alice recalls, hailed from a majestic “rookery” somewhere in the west of Ireland.

His old age was spent most pleasantly; drinking, dining and playing bridge with a whole coterie of like-minded friends as the exotic scent of cigar smoke and brandy wafted through the hallways of Alice’s house.

Now, Alice remembers, that wise old owl, who once revealed that she deliberately moved into a house full of young children because they kept her young, once advised her never to grow old. Growing old, she commented, was “an appalling condition”.

Taylor, then a busy mother with a family of young children, who was also involved in running a guesthouse, post office and store and was married to a man whose working day started at 6 a.m. and continued often into the wee hours, somehow absorbed the wisdom of this old lady who knew how to savor the pleasures of life so well.

Now Taylor remembers those lessons.

She takes care these days to make sure that as she gets older she takes her time, grasps the handrails and stabilizes her pace. In the garden, as she bends down to lift a heavy pot, she remembers taking it slowly and listening to the voice behind her back.

She makes sure to stay busy, remembering how the old lady stayed mentally alert; read, do crossword puzzles, watch and listen to sports, watch both world events and what was happening in the community.

Taylor, too, has a knack for savoring the little things; she learned to enjoy brewing good tea in a warmed teapot rather than soaking a tea bag in a cup of not quite boiling water. The experience brought back, she said, the flavor of her mother’s perfectly brewed tea and as she poured it from the teapot, she wrote, there was a rich amber glow that she hadn’t seen for. the years of steeping tea bags.

She rediscovered the beauty of an old navy pot with golden calligraphy that a friend had given her one day and filled it with real tea leaves. A friend gave her a ruby-rich red knit tea comforter. Tea leaves and teapots are now back in Taylor’s life for good.

She has seen how cows have no notion of rushing and will refuse to engage in it unless trampled by rushed humans. How conscious cows are. How these large, slow-moving, grass-munching animals are in perfect harmony with the tranquil rhythm of nature; with the sun rising above the horizon, with the birds slowly waking up first, then a few more before the whole chorus of dawn gradually begins to sing.

She found an old book called Ten Poems To Change Your Life, by Roger Housden, and read it. She experimented with painting and learned more about the story of Innishannon, where she lived most of her adult life.

She discovered the joys of the Proms on BBC Four. Taylor never had any knowledge of classical music, but as she points out, you don’t have to be an artist to appreciate a beautiful painting and you don’t have to be God to love landscapes. breathtaking.

This book contains many good, warm and wise lessons, although they are not delivered as wisdom teachings.

Most of us don’t have time to bless ourselves on working days – whether in the workforce or at home or in the chaos and bustle of modern childrearing, the dealing with teens and dealing with the growing effects of social media, not to mention keeping control of a busy and chaotic modern household with everyone following different paths.

But when life calms down a bit – and it will eventually – don’t hang up your hat and put on your slippers. Take a look at your garden, which is no longer needed for muddy football games, damaged trampolines, or repairing old firecrackers, and see what you could do to make the sunset more enjoyable.

Be proud of what you have done around you. Do more. Appreciate what you have done and maybe do a little more.

And always, always ready to try something new. As Tea For One demonstrates, you’ll never know what you might have inside of you unless you give it the chance to air.

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