Tuesday, March 10, 2015

                                  























                                                                            “DEAR ME:”

     A friend of mine told me about the latest trending question yesterday: “If you could write a letter to your younger self, what would you say?” I didn’t tell her that I had done that years ago. I should have kept it to compare to the one I am writing today. What surprised me, this morning, however, as the news media repeats the story for the 47th time, was the response given by several movie and TV stars. Several said things like, “Don’t worry; it will all work out.” “You are all right. Don’t be so hard on yourself.”
One female star spoke of having bad skin and not feeling pretty for years. I was surprised and validated by such comments as I come from a long line of worriers, and vanity flows in our family veins. According to my mother, it was all about how you looked, and if you didn’t look pretty, somehow you were “less.” Now I got the worry gene from my father’s side of the family too, so I worried about everything from the time I was old enough to button my dungarees.

     Some might say that learning to let things go and to focus less on our outsides and more on our insides is just a matter of maturity. Although this may be true, just imagine how much stress and angst could be avoided if parents somehow instilled in their children a sense of self that focused less on looking good than doing good, less on cosmetics and more on compassion. It seems so ironic that in an age of Apple watches that can open a garage door and robots that can build cars, we still can’t figure out how to “be” at peace with ourselves and each other.

   
     Dear Little Me:

     When you are all grown up, it won’t matter that you weren’t homecoming queen, that you weren’t the prettiest girl in your graduating class or that you didn’t get into Harvard. It won’t matter that you lost the class president election by 25 votes or that the boy next door rejected you for the beautiful exchange student from Germany. It won’t matter that you didn’t become a concert pianist like Daddy had hoped or that you never learned Grandma’s recipe for homemade coffee cake. None of those things will be engraved on your tombstone. What matters isn’t what you lost; but how you learned and grew from losing. What matters is what you did with that experience to help someone you care about cope with similar losses. What matters is realizing that the person your family and society tried to mold you to become was not the person you were meant to be. What matters is that you find your own unique voice and celebrate its message. Letting go of past hurt, rejection and failure are part of everyone’s path. They are part of the human condition, and those who thrive are the ones who continue to dare greatly and share their positive energy with those around them. It’s all right to cry; it’s healing to laugh. It’s all right to stumble; getting up is exhilarating. It’s all right to succeed; it’s more important to be humble. You won’t wake up one day and have it all figured out. Just when you think you have it all together, life will throw you a curve ball. You just need to have your glove out ready to catch it.