And so my mind wanders to wondering what life’s greatest tactful omissions might be...
I wonder how many sitting rooms are housing an elephant while their inhabitants silently watch TV.
I wonder in how many boardrooms tomorrow the recession will be blamed for everyone’s failings.
I wonder how many forbidden ‘I love you’s’ are not being said tonight.
I wonder about the stories we tell ourselves in the dark, so that we might sleep soundly.
And I ask myself whether fear, self-preservation, the greater good or a simple act of kindness is the reason for these tactful omissions?
Tricky lesson number four: always tell the truth, especially to yourself.
We tell ourselves we use them to spare others’ feelings, to boost their confidence, to keep the peace. But how often do we tell them for our own sakes: because we don’t want others to think badly of us, because it’s an easier life, it’s easier to please, easier to be beloved by all?
Perhaps the truth is that our tactful omissions are at the heart of what define us. For life is an editorial process; we shape it as we go, writing our stories and vaguely remembering the discarded opportunities and the unwritten, unwritable chapters.