Quand on aime, on ne compte pas

Flowers, floatingIt is said in French that in love one doesn’t count. The exact meaning of this phrase always eluded me. Does it mean that when in love we forget all rational notions of time and money and throw ourselves into unbridled passion? Or rather that in love one does not keep score about whose turn it is or who owes what to whom? Can it be applied not just to romantic love but also to the things we love?

The answer for the French is oui, oui and oui. But when it comes to me, it’s non, non, and non.

Maybe it’s my lack of Latin blood. Whether at work or at play, I simply don’t throw myself completely into things, much as I admire those who do. Like my husband, who hikes up mountains and keeps going until he reaches the top. I go a short distance, become dizzy and exhausted, and say bon, that’s enough. Husband rarely reads, but when he gets into a book he may disappear from social interactions for days at a time. And if there is something good to eat within reach, there will soon be none left.

Me, I meter out my passions in careful doses. Count my drinks and keep an eye on my calories. I don’t binge watch my favourite TV series or run marathons. I will eat just a few pieces of chocolate, then save the rest for tomorrow. Read for an hour. Sleep for seven. Moderation in all things. How boring is that?

Perhaps it’s innate to character, upbringing or genes. Whatever it is, I seem to be more at home with the English model. When Browning asks, “How do I love thee, let me count the ways?” there is a calculation, a method to her madness. There is a list.

Which is not to say there isn’t love; it’s just that there is also counting. Somewhere, no matter how far back in my mind, there is always a list.

How about you? Do you keep count or live with unbridled passion?


  1. Colin Bisset · October 15, 2015

    Oh c’mon, bet you went just a little bit silly when you first met your man…?

    • MELewis · October 15, 2015

      Ha, ha…so long ago and far away I’d almost forgotten (I’m sure he has…).

  2. Multifarious meanderings · October 15, 2015

    I used to be the Queen of unbridled excess. I still am for many things, but only those that don’t affect my health and family. I’m becoming more careful with age – which doesn’t mean that I’m ready to grow up yet. I still jump in piles of leaves, I still see monsters and animals in clouds, and I’m useless at self-discipline for blogging time.

    • MELewis · October 15, 2015

      Interesting. I think that those are able to do things to excess are also much better at making radical change when it is necessary. Glad to hear to you have become sensible, at least in the health and family areas! BTW, aside from being an uptight adult, I also act silly and jump in piles of leaves!

      • Multifarious meanderings · October 15, 2015

        There are advantages to being an “all or nothing” person at times 🙂 I’m relieved that I’m not alone for jumping in leaves. Little My stands by rolling her eyeballs and tapping her foot every time I do it. I love role reversal with my kids.

      • MELewis · October 15, 2015

        Hilarious! Love the eye-roll image.

      • Multifarious meanderings · October 15, 2015

        The next step on the scale is the hair-flick and ancient camel dung stare. That’s when I know I’ve blown it and will be in the dog house for the foreseeable future.

  3. Osyth · October 15, 2015

    Of course I was brought up to moderate all things and I do believe that one should where excess is clearly potentially harmless. And actually, I had to be very sensible with my children at a certain age and clarify that perhaps there are some things they shouldn’t even do in moderation. But sensible has a tissue thin limit with me and I never fully learned to count 😉

    • MELewis · October 15, 2015

      Did you mean ‘harmful’ or is that a Freudian slip? 😉 It’s funny, though, cause despite my tendency to mentally keep track, I’m not much good at maths either!

      • Osyth · October 15, 2015

        Ha! yes, harmful – that would be the thing! Actually whilst meandering through my very damp morning I have been thinking about your post some more and have to own that I do keep endless lists both inside my head and on paper. An interesting piece of self-analysis is currently in progress (interesting to me alone) 🙂

  4. coteetcampagne · October 15, 2015

    I confess to veering crazily between sensible logical list-making control freakery and mad impulse
    Both seem to co-exist happily within my fractured psyche………….

    • MELewis · October 15, 2015

      I love this comment, perhaps because I know that deep down my control freakery is constantly tamping down a lot of mad impulses. More than a little envious that you’re able to allow both free expression!

      • coteetcampagne · October 15, 2015

        I may allow this, but it confuses the hell out of my nearest and dearest

      • MELewis · October 15, 2015

        Ha, ha….give full expression to your inner pyscho – keeps ’em on their toes!

  5. cheergerm · October 15, 2015

    A lovely insight into your inner and outer workings Mel. I am a fairly passionate person who can also be quite controlled at times. In terms of health, I try to reign it in on weekdays, food and drinkwise, try and exercise blah blah, then have a good ole knees up on the weekend. (But not like I did in the old days.) The inner child is never too far away. 😁

    • MELewis · October 15, 2015

      Not sure my inner workings are worthy of being aired, but I seem to be in good company in terms of the eternal struggle for balance. I wish I could throw a party for all my blogging friends – what a knees up that would be!

  6. A.PROMPTreply · October 15, 2015

    I think I’m about the same as Cheergerm up there…..very passionate about some things but I do try and act the grownup at times. Still….a good pile of leaves…..

    • MELewis · October 15, 2015

      …demands to be jumped in! Yes! 🙂

  7. George Lewis · October 15, 2015

    Moderation in everything , especially moderation !

    • MELewis · October 15, 2015

      You taught me well! 🙂

  8. wanderingcows · October 17, 2015

    In the moderation in all things kind of person … which sounds rather boring written out like that, but it seems to work very well!

    • MELewis · October 17, 2015

      Sometimes I think boring is underrated…there is comfort in moderation, especially as we head into the dark days of winter. Cheers!

  9. davidprosser · October 18, 2015

    Unbridled passion like an unbridled horse can soon run away with you. So much better to retain a little control at least.
    xxx Massive Hugs Mel xxx

    • MELewis · October 19, 2015

      Maybe that’s why I’ve always been rather frightened of horses. 🙂

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