“May You Live in Interesting Times” by
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As we start our third year of this fearsome pandemic it’s hard to believe we’ve gotten through it this far.   Initially I was in a state of disbelief,  and it took me awhile to internalize how serious the situation was.  And then I felt sorry,  very sorry for myself.

But in time I saw what a selfish and wasteful emotion that was,  and instead began to empathize with everyone else –  parents and young children at home while their offices and schools were closed;  high school and college kids in virtual classes isolated from friends and peers;  men and women in mid-career with financial and other worries;  and older,  retired folks with trips and other plans now on hold.

Then – finally – a glimmer of light at the end of the dark Covid tunnel,  and the hope we might return to some semblance of life as we knew it.  But now the new horror in Ukraine.

”May you live in interesting times”,  I had always thought was a blessing,  but now I understand why it’s actually a curse.

And so my friends,  my fervent wish for us all –   may we live this next year in a world of peace.

Dana Susan Lehrman

Profile photo of Dana Susan Lehrman Dana Susan Lehrman
This retired librarian loves big city bustle and cozy country weekends, friends and family, good books and theatre, movies and jazz, travel, tennis, Yankee baseball, and writing about life as she sees it on her blog World Thru Brown Eyes!

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Tags: Pandemic, Ukraine
Characterizations: moving, well written


  1. Betsy Pfau says:

    A wide range, appropriate range of emotions, Dana. The horrors in Ukraine make us forget, for a moment, what we have lived through for the last several years. Let’s hope our lives get a bit less “interesting”.

    Chag s’meach to you and yours.

  2. Dave Ventre says:

    As my own tale on this prompt shows, I don’t do optimism all that well. I’d LOVE to be wrong this time, though! Passover is a bittersweet time for us, since our dear Stacy is no longer here to host the sedar. Guess who was always the wicked child?

    • Understood Dave, let’s all try to be cautiously optimistic.

      Our Seders these last 3 Covid years have been small, hoping things will change by next year!

      Sorry for the loss of your friend, you obviously were the Wicked Child!

  3. Marian says:

    Happy Passover to you, Dana, and all sentiments beautifully expressed. We are skipping gatherings this weekend because Passover, Easter, and Ramadan coincide (which is actually rather nice), but we don’t want to be among people. I miss Seders very much and can only wish for peace for those in Ukraine and throughout the world.

  4. John Shutkin says:

    Just a lovely sentiment, and very nicely presented, Dana. I join you in your wish. Especially with regard to COVID and Ukraine. And, OK, maybe the Mets, too.

    But I have to admit that I had always seen/heard your title phrase in euphemistic contexts as at least a warning, if not a curse. In any event, may we simply live in happier times.

    • Thanx John.
      Apparently “May you live in interesting times” is a Chinese curse. I feel it’s counterintuitive but as I wrote, after Trump and Covid, I get it!

      BTW we’re Yankee fans here. but do root for the Mets secondarily … in fact as I sit here reading Retro stories, the Mets are losing to the Diamondbacks, sorry John!

  5. Khati Hendry says:

    Indeed, may peace be among us, but we don’t seem to have acquired the skills adequately. I kind of think most times have been unfortunately “interesting” depending on where you are in the world. And yet, we persist. Thanks for the eloquent observations.

  6. Laurie Levy says:

    Amen, Dana. We can hope that as the pandemic winds down, so will some of the violence and division in our country. As for Ukraine, may their bravery be rewarded soon.

  7. I will ring out my Gregor on the Mets or the Yankees (even though that holiday already passed) sooner than rooting for them. But I appreciated your rather solemn meditation on your own journey through the pandemic, moving past carping at your own restricted life to recognizing how much worse was the impact on some other parts of the population.

  8. Suzy says:

    I’ve always understood the “interesting times” statement to be a curse, and now with this “interesting” pandemic time, it’s easy to understand why it is.

    However, last year at our seder, instead of saying “Next year in Jerusalem,” we said “Next year all together.” And actually Saturday night we did have a seder with eleven people, both of my LA-area kids having flown up here, so our wish really did mostly come true.

  9. May you live in interesting times. A curse. Interesting take. I like Lucinda’s admission of the dark nature of our third go-round. I think of the unexpurgated honesty of Brecht, speaking of the struggles to keep Germany progressive:
    Truly, I live in dark times!
    The guileless word is folly. A smooth forehead
    suggests insensitivity. The man who laughs
    Has simply not yet had
    The terrible news….

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