In Praise of a Simple Approach to Life.


I don’t know about you but I always find that the people who are the most comfortable to be around are the people who accept themselves. They always seem to have that something extra. They are not charismatic, they don’t seem to promote themselves or try and prove that they are special, and yet they stand out.  When you speak to them they are usually busy helping out in some way,  family, working life but also involved in what is important to them. What makes these people stand out?




I was reminded of this question recently when I paid my last visit to my local beauty therapist. Anna (not her real name) was retiring after twenty years in her business. We had known each other throughout that time. She ran a very simple business in a tiny shop, based mainly on her loyal clients and walk-ins off the street.  Over many years we shared our journeys. Anna shared about her daughter’s problems with infertility, the loss of her Mum and Dad, the birth of her grandchildren. I shared about David’s accident and the loss of my sister. We spoke about the local businesses and how well they were doing, even the odd politics. Our conversations were full of laughter and sympathy interrupted by the occasional ‘Ouch’ which those well versed in waxing will understand. Whenever she thought about something sad, Anna would stop, nod her head and say ‘Such is life’ or ‘It’s a good life,’ “I have my children, I have my husband, my grandchildren…” and then continued to inflict the pain of waxing.




On my last appointment, Anna was reflecting on her working life of forty years. I asked her what she had done before she came to New Zealand.  She told me that her husband, a University professor of mathematics and physics in France, was awarded a teaching position at a University in Morocco. With a young family in tow, Anna decided to establish a large beauty therapy school and business. When their daughter moved to New Zealand they decided to follow her.  Her husband couldn’t get a University teaching position in Auckland without further training- he decided that if a PhD wasn’t enough here he would have to do something else. Anna didn’t want the concerns of a large business. They both remade their lives on a much simpler scale and they both enjoyed this new life. They didn’t worry as long as they had their family and they earned their living. They went with the flow and accepted their lives, and didn’t think about the past or what they had before. They did well. During the course of that conversation I found out Anna spoke French, Romanian, Arabic and English.  She was humble, nothing needed to be paraded.


That was ‘it’, that was the quality I could see in these special people. It was presence through acceptance.


‘It’s a good life.’




Lucille Henry PhD