18 May 2020

The “At-Home” Diaries: Presume Nothing

The 'At Home" Diaries : Presume Nothing on vickiarcher.com

I have a new motto.
We take so much for granted even though we don’t mean to. It goes further than that.

Taking for granted is not the same as presumption. A presumption is an expectation we have come to rely on; meaning if we do the work we will ensure a result or if we plan X then Y will follow. I don’t think we can think like this anymore. If the current pandemic teaches us nothing else it is to expect the unexpected. What we presume will happen may be nothing more than a sentimental recollection of how it used to be.

I don’t mean to sound dramatic.

It’s not.

Addressing reality and accepting a new vision is a positive way to look at life.

For example, a presumption I made only a year or so ago now seems so redundant in this new way of life.

I should be flying to Italy right about now to celebrate our daughter’s marriage. If they called it off, somebody became seriously ill or there was a force majeure of geographical nature I might have presumed changes. Not this. No wedding anytime soon and no leaving the country for the time being. No flights no parties. There is a disappointment, there is sorrow for Italy, there is a deep sadness we won’t be celebrating with our couple and friends but honestly, it’s ok. We are all healthy, we are happy as can be expected and our lives aren’t in jeopardy. So many others have been less fortunate so the cancellation of an event is neither here nor there.

It is as it is and whatever they choose to do, wherever it is, will be wonderful in whatever shape it takes. What I do find interesting is my presumption, my absolute faith in how our lives were, that an event such as this with the right dedication, planning and desire would be the status quo. There are so many couples facing change this year – celebrations cancelled and re-scheduled – they too put their faith in the norm. And this is only one aspect of the changes we are facing.

Now I want to tread cautiously, see what kind of world awaits us when we exit our safe havens. There is no way I will take for granted the small stuff but neither am I presuming the big. Will we be able to travel? Yes, I am sure but let’s presume it will look different. Is socialising back? Probably we will congregate in small numbers, but the presumption of a grand old gala? Maybe not for some time. Fashion and the related industries? I don’t know how this will look but I am certain it will be altered. Will we even care about what’s “in” and “out” each season? Maybe the idea of “season” will become truthful and rely on temperatures and geography to dictate what we wear?

I presumed so much of my life was here to stay. Did I see it as my right? Perhaps I did and perhaps it’s something to do with being a baby boomer. We had all the luck.

Taking too much for granted is easy to remedy. We fall short and need helpful reminders. Our children, partners and friends feel the weight of our moods. The luxury of how we live can seem the norm when it isn’t compared on a global scale; we are so fortunate if we can face hardship in comfort. That’s how I see the truth for many of us. It’s been tough but it has not been uncomfortable. Taking for granted means we forget to appreciate the value of the lives we live.

When I say, “presume nothing” I am conceiving a far bigger picture. And my new motto: Presume nothing. xv 

Have you downloaded your copy of Better, Not Younger?

Whenever I feel the need for a boost of self-confidence or encouragement to keep moving forwards I re-read certain passages:

“We are so much more visible to ourselves once we reach a certain age. Feeling invisible in public ways has grown my self-confidence and allowed me to be the woman I am. The focus is on the internals and not the externals; yes, I care about how I am perceived by others but it is more for my benefit. Being driven by outside perception does not overly enhance confidence but the flip side is we work harder on the more meaningful elements.”

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Babyboomer…that’s the keyword in that situation. Perhaps B.B. understand the situation better and can handle it with more patience. Myself feel also very grateful to learn to be greatful. Before I took nearly everything for granted, which is not. All we get from life is a gift and yes, we can assume it is our karma, however everyone must change and reconsider behaviour in many ways and live in the present which build our future.


Presume nothing and embrace life.. To paraphrase Oliver Wilde, we need to live not merely exist especially at this time. Life has really changed here in Toronto, where I live. I have been working at home since February and not venturing out much. I have been making it a point to enjoy my home at this time..I made small changes to my home office and den, been using all my beautiful candles and special glasses etc.
Once again, your thoughts resonate with me. Life is indeed precious and I feel like the world has changed within a short period of time. We have to start reimagining a post pandemic world, workplace etc. The global economy has changed radically within a short time as well.
I certainly will continue to be grateful for my life, give thanks for each day and yes, presume nothing since our lives have changed immensely over the past few months. I will be hopeful though and embrace what is to come. A well timed blog Vicki. Thank you .


Yes.. Oscar knew what he was writing about!
And we must use the beautiful pieces we have as that’s what they are for… Small pleasures are huge wins… Thank you, Maureen..


I welled up in tears reading your post. It really placed into perspective what life is like in this pandemic, but summarizes Gratefulnness!

Your new format with links is wonderful!

Linda B

I am so with you on all that you said, Vicki! I am impressed that you are in such a place of positive acceptance about your daughter’s wedding. I think everytning will be taking new form that we can only partly imagine, in the course of the next year or two, or even beyond. . . I have to admit I swing throughout each day between accepting that all this is out of my control, and resenting it. . . But I also am a long believer in gratitude for what we have, and I strive to see the glass half full, and to accept I don’t have to know what is coming down the pike. I think I succeed more than not.

In this vein, and circling back to a recent conversation about the delights of changing houses now and then, it seems suddenly like my husband and I might have an opportunity opening up to move to our dream spot in the near future. So now, on top of trying to have equanimity about all of the current global situation, I am trying to hold to a simmer booth the excitement and the anxiety (for all that would have to be done in short order) engendered by this possibility! You may recall we haven’t moved in over 31 years. . . But I am encouraged by what you said to me–that I would love being in a new home! Thanks for bucking me up!


YOU can do it, Linda… I know it… and it will be so exciting planning the change… Trust me… I know :) Good luck, I hope the sale is rapid and as you wish..


Such a good post Vicki. You are so right in that our situation has changed so much and we can’t presume anything right now. I’ve just retired and had many exciting plans with my husband to travel and of course to visit France many times but that’s all been taken away but then I feel all isn’t lost. Like you I am focusing on how I feel positive about the simple things in life like today baking scones and gardening. Tasks we would have just done without a second thought but now become a focus for some part of our day and the sharing of our days with family via text or FaceTime is the absolute pleasure. I do reflect that we are healthy and well unlike many others, but we must try not to dwell on the heartache around us rather focus our minds elsewhere to keep us grounded in simple and enjoyable pleasures.


Yes, Janet, I hear you… and focusing on what we can have is so important. I am taking pleasure in planning our Archie’s 1st birthday.. and making the little details a pleasure instead of rushing through them like I normally would. I am trying to remember how to do blanket stitch!! I am making him some bits and pieces :)


Good morning, Vicki!

I started to consider a version of this as a teacher long ago, and must remind myself of it constantly:

Assume nothing.

Whether it is assume or presume, both require a flexibility of lifestyle, practices and goals. One of the biggest areas that have been challenged by the contortions of change is my work. I am proud to say I’ve surprised myself in learning that I can learn new things, as tough as they may be, when it is critical. When things are easy and we have the leisure of taking our time to feel comfortable in our new state of understanding, I don’t know if I become as flexible as I can. But when you are required to rise up to an occasion you never planned for, I think that is where the assumptions and presumptions about oneself really start to shift into a more pliable, even humble attitude. Life is beautiful.


bravo to you Anita… it sounds as though your learning curve is easing and you are well on the way to mastering the digital teach :)


Vicki, How terribly disappointing that this Coronavirus has disrupted plans for your daughter’s wedding. Events such as a wedding are dream-fulfilling both in the planning and in the moment of celebration. This virus is a nightmare. Your choosing to have a positive attitude in spite of all this is exemplary for your daughter and her fiancé and the joy of the marriage will be there, wherever and however- just as you so wisely say.


Thank you Suzanne… yes it is but.. we will celebrate in another way, another day. Thank you for your lovely thoughts :)

Jo Dennis

We are in our first week out of lockdown here in New Zealand. The differences to how we go about our ‘normal’ day is clearly noticeable and although people are very happy to be out of lockdown we are all well aware that things have changed dramatically. Learning to accept the change has been easy for most as safety and well being is the priority.


It’s wonderful to have such positive attitudes come out from this… silver linings and all :)


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