The boy-child is gone. He is no longer living with me. He’s still in the neighborhood, just not in my care. After a full year together, we finally split up. And I have so much to say, but I can’t say it.
So, with just my almost-ten-month-old girl, I have been soaking up the backyard sun, reveling in the calm of the house, punctuated occasionally by the little girl’s grunts as she army crawls across the floor, and not feeling stressed about what comes next. Also, I’ve been taking a writing workshop called Write Yourself Alive, and the first prompt was to write a letter to my ten-years-younger self with five to ten lessons I’ve learned. I had just written a long letter to a dear friend that day, so instead of writing a letter, I just wrote out some life lessons I’ve learned in the last ten years.
In lieu of hashing out any details of my current or past life, I am going to share some lessons learned:
-You will know by experiencing things; you will learn by making mistakes; you won’t just take people’s word (or collective wisdom) and will have to do things the hard way to find out for yourself. BUT, it would be better for you and others if you would just listen to the wisdom.
-The more you do, and the more places you go, the less afraid you will be.
-It’s the people— the relationships— that are important. Everything else— jobs, resumes, career, location— is superfluous.
-Expect kindness. You will find it everywhere. And offer kindness, always.
-People don’t know if you don’t tell them. (They don’t know your problems unless you explain them; they don’t know your desires unless you express them; they don’t know how nervous you are if you hold yourself together; they don’t know your dress is homemade if you don’t say.) So be confident.
-Perfect doesn’t exist. The perfect body, the perfect job, the perfect partner, the perfect relationship, the perfect city. Don’t chase it. Look for the good. Embrace diversity. Learn from what’s there.
-Rest is good. It’s ok to take a break— from efficiency, from thinking, from doing. Just be. It’s harder than it sounds but worth more than we give it credit.
-“Be true to who in your depths you have it in you to be.” Don’t give up on that. Don’t compromise that. Never stop learning who it is you have it in you to be.
-Oh, and don’t take yourself too seriously.