This questionnaire was invented by the noted French author Marcel Proust. Famously asked of prominent people as a regular feature in Vanity Fair magazine. Since my fame has not arrived as yet, I figured I’d make an attempt to answer it anyway. What I enjoyed most was how hard it was! I really had to sit down and consider carefully my answer to each of the questions. Some came more easily than others!
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
So far? Raising my four children to be happy and healthy people – generous and kind to their friends and family, contributing to their community, setting high standards for themselves and the people with whom they spend their time.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
When no matter how your day is going you know in your heart that you are fully and completely loved. Beyond that? A beautiful sunny day with a cool breeze, lively conversations with friends, hugs from my kids and meals made by someone else.
What is your current state of mind?
What is your favorite occupation?
The time I spent developing private label product for Loblaw Companies in the States. By all accounts, my boss was beyond awful but it was a great five years. Now I’m hoping to realize another occupation – that of writer. That has been my dream since before I knew it was possible.
What is your most treasured possession?
I own things, things don’t own me. There is nothing I possess that would compel me to run into a burning building to retrieve. As long as I have my kids, I’m good.
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
I do not believe I have met him – yet. It only recently occurred to me that I have never actually been “in love” in a romantic sense. I always stopped myself short. Fear is a terrible thing. Settling is worse.
What is your favorite journey?
Back to myself. I have spent the better part of the last five years working on how to be me again. No more second guessing or feelings of inadequacy, I’m a fully realized woman of substance and very clear on how I got here and where I’m going now.
What is your most marked characteristic?
My ability to make choices in alignment with what I believe to be right and wrong. Without apology or explanation.
When and where were you the happiest?
Exhausted and not looking my best, I was at my happiest when I was introduced to each of my children.
What is it that you most dislike?
Those people who don’t walk their talk and still feel able to criticize those who do. And blamers, oh how I cannot stand the blamers!
What is your greatest fear?
That my children might, at some point, not like each other.
What is your greatest extravagance?
After much hemming and hawing, I went out and bought an amethyst geode I had been admiring for months. It makes me happy every time I see it. Mind you, upcoming there will be a huge extravagance if all things go well. I live in hope!
Which living person do you most despise?
I do not despise anyone. Though ISIS is really pissing me off. And Kanye West is just awful – he and the whole Kardashian clan!
What is your greatest regret?
Oh my goodness, where to start? Well, it all boils down to not following what I knew to be right and bowing to the insistence of others to make them happy as opposed to following my heart and making me happy. I often get myself in trouble when I depend on my head to be my compass and not my heart.
Which talent would you most like to have?
I would like to draw well. I would also like to paint. Anything on paper or canvas. Pottery, too. And maybe some jewelry making. I’m a creative magpie!
Where would you like to live?
I love living in a place with four distinct seasons. My home outside Toronto suits me fine. I would like a vacation home in the arid and mountainous area of Tucson, Arizona for when winters become unbearable. Other places I’d like to visit have everything to do with the ocean: the Oregon Coast, Turks & Caicos, Cape Cod and the UK.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Not meeting your potential and knowing down to your bones that you have more to give. Feeling stuck and not knowing how to tap into and bring that potential into the world is a miserable way to live.
What is the quality you most like in a man?
Dependability followed closely by accountability.
What is the quality you most like in a woman?
Compassion and integrity.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Stinginess. (Spiritually, intellectually as well as monetarily)
What do you most value in your friends?
Their humour – and that they put up with my regular absences.
Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
Whose are your heroes in real life?
My dad, for many more reasons than his simply being my father. And all those many women who raise boys to be good men and all those men who raise girls to be good women – they are my heroes.
Which living person do you most admire?
It may be cliché, but I really admire Oprah. She brought awareness where there was none. For that I am incredibly grateful. She is a brilliant force.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Physical beauty. Is that a virtue? Celebrity? I suppose it is a modern virtue. Maybe it’s the power that is given to beauty and celebrity without being earned in a way that can be attributed to ability that I find overrated. To be celebrated for looks alone seems so shallow and boring.
On what occasions do you lie?
Tough. I don’t as a rule lie, ever. When you’ve been surrounded by liars you tend to either become one or reject it completely. I suppose, to protect my children from harm I would lie. (To me the most toxic things in the world are secrets and lies, especially lies of omission, dreadful.)
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
“Seriously?” “I’m waiting” “Clean your room” “Let’s go!” I also text my kids one word while I wait for them in the school parking lot: “Status?” and I’m told it drives them crazy. And though it is neither a phrase or a word, I have been known to provide a heavy sigh now and then.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
My weight – and the health issues that lead to it being a problem!
What are your favorite names?
I love names like Atticus, Balthazar, Lazarus, Augustus, Gideon, Grace, Emily and Isabella. I’m either going to have to write some books or get some dogs!
How would you like to die?
Peacefully – unexpectedly.
If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be?
A turtle. Or as a more confident version of myself. Imagine a do-over!
What is your motto?
This too shall pass.