Becoming the best version of yourself

Je Ne Sais Quoi –

on June 17, 2016

“Je ne sais quoi”

Je ne sais quoi is French for “I know not what.” In English, we use it to refer to an intangible, distinctive quality, especially of a person, that can’t be put in words—e.g., “I don’t know what makes him so charming. He just has a certain je ne sais quoi.” The phrase is often italicized and occasionally put in quotation marks.

The phrase has been in use in English for at least three centuries. In some old books, it is treated as a broader term representing various philosophical and aesthetic concepts not easily put in words, but by the 19th century je ne sais quoi was widely used the way it is today.

My Father used to use that phrase all the time.  I never quite knew what he meant, but it sounded so cool.  If it were today, and my Father was still alive and using the phrase I could simply go to Google and figure out what the heck he was trying to tell me.  After all these years, I finally did!  (look it up that is)  Therefore, I copied it above and have to admit, it still kinda throws me off.

If I’m going to go with “I know not what”, then I could agree that when it comes to looking into the future and trying to see where I’m headed (or is it heading?), nothing could be more perfect as a description of my feelings.  “I know not what”!

Years ago I would have thought that by my age, life as I had planned it, imagined it, would be so simple.  Loving husband, retirement adventures, mortgages paid off, kids safely launched, grandkids to baby sit, sunsets to enjoy – you get the drift.  This would be the year of my 40th wedding anniversary.

Didn’t quite work out that way.  Now when I look into the future, I somehow keep hearing my Father say, “Je ne sais quoi” and I’m starting to get the picture.



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