Sunday, May 12, 2013

What Would Jane Do?

Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorite books and the family of Elizabeth Bennet is so true to life. Jane Austen knew people and how they work and she knew how to spin a yarn very well, indeed.

Today I was thinking of the Bennet sisters -- Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Lydia, and Kitty -- and how different they are. Jane and Elizabeth use their time wisely and learn well, they make themselves "handsome women" in the sense of what they accomplish and become. Mary strives to be like her elder sisters, well accomplished and informed, but she misses the mark because she has no room to be sensible and thoughtful in the moment. Lydia is hopeless and has not become who she could be, while Kitty aimlessly follows Lydia around and copies her behavior.

I wonder which sister would be my model were I to look at this carefully and objectively. I have bits of them all if I am to be honest, and I am not sure how I feel about it. I know I can do better with my time, of course we all can. It is far too easy to sit at the computer and stay idle when there are a million other things you could be doing, things that are far more valuable.

Where have all of the accomplished arts gone to in this fast paced world that finds us rarely having time like the ladies of old did, ...devouring a book for hours, baking something from scratch, needlepoint, drawing, art, taking walks and thinking long and thoughtfully with your head, about life and its meaning.

It can be a crazy time to live in, and it's not going to be simple or accomplished unless we make it so for us, ...we live in a time that doesn't demand for us to bake a cake from scratch or draw sketches of family to remember them. We don't have to whip up tea and scones for company dropping by for a chat, or write long letters to relatives who are far away. There are not dresses to be made by hand or needlework sitting at the wayside begging to be worked on. But we can use our time to become really really great at something and maybe even two or three somethings, rather than being idle like Lydia and Kitty.

Which sister am I destined to become, whether Kitty, Lydia, Mary, Elizabeth, or Jane is entirely up to me - that is the beauty of it.
What would Jane do? Indeed, we already know the answer to that question.