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'Wisdom and happiness are increasing with age'

Updated: Oct 27

Catherine is a professional organizer (curateddwelling.ca). She teaches people to declutter and organize their homes, so they can make literal and figurative space in their lives. She is also a part-time schoolteacher. One of her hobbies is easy sailing.

'What is the quality you most like in a human' (nr. 13) is her favorite Proust question. Her answer: "Openness and ingenuity". Catherine: "Openness is a really important quality for the evolution of humanity: being open to loving, to learning, to healing, to others. I also admire ingenuity because I think it is how humanity has evolved. Again, it’s back to evolution. Having ingenuity is what enables us to solve problems, to fix things, and figure things out. And to survive as a species. When people are not open and not problem-solving, they become stunted and potentially unhappy, on an individual level and on a larger societal level.”

The second question she really liked was ‘What is your greatest regret’ (nr. 33). “I am a pleaser, but less and less the older I get. I feel that our culture really encourages women to look outside of themselves for how they should be and feel, and what they should do. And I think that the result is that you don’t even know who you are. I am trying to undo that learning, but I find it very difficult; it’s a struggle to really believe in my own self-worth, and trust myself that what I am feeling is real. And that I don’t need anybody to agree or approve how to figure that out.”

Proustʼs Questionnaire

1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Freedom. Easy sailing on a sunny day. And good chocolate.

2. What is your greatest fear?

Fear of failure.

3. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

Avoidance. My dependence on food to avoid feeling my feelings.

4. What is the trait you most deplore in others?

Laziness. Ignorance. Hypocrisy.

5. Which living person do you most admire?

Danielle Laporte. Sheʼs a courageous, authentic, heart-centered businesswoman.

6. What is your greatest extravagance?

Eating out, good chocolate, hair coloring, and esthetics.

7. What is your current state of mind?

Contentment, excitement, adventure. Underlying dread.

8. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Self-sacrifice. I can support others AND myself.

9. On what occasion do you lie?

When necessary to avoid disappointing others or to avoid conflict.

10. What do you most dislike about your appearance?

My ginormous boobs.

11. Which living person do you most despise?

My friend's ex-husband.

12. What is the quality you most like in a man?

13. What is the quality you most like in a woman?

I find these questions offensive. How about the quality I most appreciate in a human?

Openness and ingenuity.

14. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

Fuck.

15. What or who is the greatest love of your life?

My children.

16. When and where were you happiest?

Here and now. Wisdom and happiness are increasing with age.

17. Which talent would you most like to have?

Inspiring others to hear and heed their soul's calling.

18. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

My inability to focus, to commit, and to finish things.

19. What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Raising two amazing humans while dealing with my own shit.

20. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?

I would come back as myself. I'm ok with a do-over.

21. Where would you most like to live?

St Margaret's Bay or Lawrencetown Nova Scotia.

22. What is your most treasured possession?

Photographs. Caran d'ache pens. Apica Notebook CD15. Oracle cards. Bicycle.

23. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

Being unseen and misunderstood.

24. What is your favorite occupation?

For myself? Life Coach, writer, dancer, mom, pro organizer.

25. What is your most marked characteristic?

Connecting with others on a deep personal level.

26. What do you most value in your friends?

Acceptance. Honesty. Support.

27. Who are your favorite writers?

I don't know. I just keep reading and learning.

28. Who is your hero of fiction?

Hermione Granger

29. Which historical figure do you most identify with?

I don't know. Weird question. Pass.

30. Who are your heroes in real life?

Female politicians, mothers, women.

31. What are your favorite names?

I don't care about names.

32. What is it that you most dislike?

Meanness and put-downs.

33. What is your greatest regret?

Developing my persona based on pleasing others.

34. How would you like to die?

Comfortably. Outside in nature near the ocean and trees.

35. What is your motto?

Make space in your home and life for living well.

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