In 9 days Downton Abbey ends its six year run on PBS. Would anybody have guessed that a TV show about a titled family in Yorkshire would gain the respect and loyalty of a worldwide viewing audience?
Here are a few things I learned from Downton Abbey.
- Vulgarity is not a substitution for wit. What’s happened to the English Language? Never in all of my 55 years have I heard to F bomb dropped so often. Young girls in mall parking lots shouting at each other with all kinds of profanity. Young boys as well but on observation much less. Where have the ladies and gentlemen gone and how can we get them back?
- Attention to detail is important. Looking at the lavish dinner tables and the perfectly dressed people made me remember that detail is important. Furniture I have purchased recently almost always has one or two flaws. You never see it when you buy it. And buying something online or from a catalog doesn’t always mean you get what you see. Things come cheaply made or they don’t do what they claim to.
- Manners need to be back in style. What happened to please and thank you? Why do people feel like it is OK to be on a cell phone when in line at the store? Opening doors for a lady is not sexist; it is a mark of respect as is opening a door for an elderly person or anyone else for that matter. Where and how have we become me first and everyone else second.
- Why use it at all? My father once said that the use of profanity showed a lack of intelligence. In other words we use bad language to make up for our short comings in our own vocabulary. The occasional four letter word slips out of my mouth but usually it’s intentional. When I use a four letter word it’s to make people pay attention, and because I use them so rarely, it works.
- We have stopped respecting the elderly. Why? Most of the elderly have a lot of wisdom to offer. Lady Violet has a sharp tongue and a quick wit, but she has a lot of wisdom in her words. The same is true for all those in their 80s and 90s today. Don’t turn your backs to them. Listen to them. They will solve problems you didn’t know you had.
- We have lost the art of elegance. Sitting down to dinner properly dressed to meal not only cooked well but served well.
- Talk to each other. Facebook and texting is fun but don’t let it take the place of real face to face conversation. Speaking to each other and looking in each other’s eyes as well as being able to hear the emotion a voice communicates is the only real way to know someone else. We are beginning to forget that. There was a time when people said “This is too important to talk about over the phone.” Almost everything is too important to text about.
- Slowing down. This world wants everything yesterday. We are all on some kind of medication just to get thru the day, and yes caffeine counts. We need to slow down. We need to see the world around us and appreciate it for all of its wonder and beauty. When was the last time you sat at dinner and enjoyed the meal? Both the food and the company are important. We have lost that and we need it back.
Downton Abbey will soon come to a close. But her lessons shouldn’t. We need to adjust ourselves as best we can back to the time of manners and simplicity respect and when appropriate elegance. It’s become a dirty world; let’s take the time to clean it up.
What does this all have to do with my health? A lot. Slowing down my thoughts may help anxiety. Eating well prepared foods slowly may help with my weight. Watching my language may help my intellect grow. Talking to people and developing deep friendships can only make life better.