“May you live in interesting times”
is reputed to be the English translation of an ancient Chinese proverb and curse. It is reported that it was the first of three curses of increasing severity, the following two being:
“May you come to the attention of those in authority.”
“May you find what you are looking for.”
There is actually no real evidence that there is any real Chinese saying that this is directly translated from, but one theory is that it may be related to the Chinese proverb, “It’s better to be a dog in a peaceful time than be a man in a chaotic period”.
Perhaps it is more likely to be of recent and western origin, although it seems to be intended to sound Chinese, similar to the “Confucious he say…” words of wisdom, and it is undoubtedly ascribed to the Chinese to make it sound more wise, inscrutable, enduring and ancient.
The saying was used by Robert F. Kennedy in his Day of Affirmation Address in Cape Town, South Africa, in 1966, and has been referenced in movies, TV shows and books.
While initially sounding like a blessing, this is in fact supposed to be a curse, suggesting that interesting times are not always good to find oneself in!
But sometimes the most difficult times can be the most interesting and the most rewarding too. They challenge us, they test us, and occasionally they can even bring out the best in us.
So the saying could perhaps be perceived as a blessing too.
For me, as I approach the start of the auction, just over a week away now, I certainly feel that I am living in interesting times! I guess I will know in just over two weeks whether this is a blessing or a curse!!