Letter to my children

[Day 24, Prompt: Write a letter to your children with advice about life]

Dear children,

This is hard to write, this letter of lessons learned and insights gained. It’s hard because no matter what I have to say, you will have to learn it for yourselves. And that’s painful. Childhood is painful when you get made fun of for pants that are slightly too short or hair that is too curly or skin that is too dark or a mind that enjoys learning and is good at it (or is terrible at it). Adolescence is painful for the way your body changes and for having to get used to it all the while studying and performing in school plays and playing tennis in P.E. class. And then adulthood is painful for having to face the world and its expectations and demands, pressing on your own now free-standing self, for dealing with the loss that comes with moving apart (or remaining stuck). It’s not easy, growing up. It’s not easy being grown. And I can’t do much about any of it.

However, life can also be fun. Don’t forget that you have a say in how your life goes; you can ask as many questions as you want. You can choose to step outside of the walls that are always being built around you. You can choose to laugh at the ridiculousness of it all (and of yourself) and then go on to do the things that make your heart beat faster and smile spread wider.

At the same time, while choosing your own path may mean leaving one you’re already on, you need to be willing to carry out commitments you’ve made. Be people of integrity: people who do what they said they’d do, who say Thank you, who know when to say no but also when to say yes, people who own up to mistakes they’ve made or harm they’ve caused and don’t shy away from the consequences. Your life is yours, and that means even the negative parts. Acknowledging this is never weakness.

Ultimately, I hope you choose kindness and understanding. I hope you allow others to live their own lives. I hope you see humanity in all its messiness and still stand in awe of the beauty there. I hope you never stop seeking. I hope you choose love over and over again: it’s the only thing worth living for.

So live deeply, my brave souls. There is so much life to be had.

-Alyse

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