Because a dear friend wanted to write a something for her little boy on his birthday, (which is today) she’s guestblogging for today. Giveaway Monday is postponed til tomorrow.
Recently my friend turned thirty. He had asked me for some “words of wisdom” on turning 30. I wanted to smack him, as I was approaching my 31st birthday: I am not that much older then him.
But then I got to thinking, what would I tell someone who was turning 30 who just wanted advice? My life has been an interesting one, and if given the shot, what would I do over? There are so many variables in looking at your life it’s hard to know where to begin. But then I thought of my son. He will be three soon, what would I say to him if he were turning 30.
I couldn’t think of anything on the spot but now I have to admit, I have been thinking about that a lot. The past few weeks, I jotted down in my journal a couple things I have learned about life through experiences, both good and bad, and the lessons they have taught me in my 31 times the planet has rotated the sun. I would rather consider them little bits of me that I would want to say to myself, had I gotten the chance. Words of wisdom? Hardly. Sage advice? Not exactly. Just some simple things I have learned on my own.
Maybe it’s what I do for a living, being constantly surrounded by death and the terminally ill, but these are a few truths in my life I have come to understand. Life can only be understood backwards but it must be lived forward. I keep diaries and journals. I recently started reading them and I can tell you this: most of the stuff that worried me and made my life complex when I was 16 is completely inconsequential to real life. Or at least life now. The real things that are to be worried about blindside you when you least expect it. But some themes are the same, if that makes sense. I can look back now and say, “Wow, that was something else!” The truth is simply that life is yours to live. It’s a gift that shouldn’t be squandered. Being angry, fearful or upset is a waste of time. Let the anger go. Every choice you make in life is half chance and it’s the same for everyone else. I want to live my life in a way where on my deathbed I can look back and say, “my god, what a wild ride that was!” Life is divine chaos, embrace it and enjoy the ride.
Love. I can say that I have loved and lusted. There is a difference. I have been in love exactly three times. I have been in lust god knows how many times. Love is when you would move heaven and hell for someone. It’s unconditional. It never compromises. It never puts you in a place where you can be hurt. It is pure. It is simple and it is complex. The ultimate oxymoron, it can have you flying high at 3am or even broken in the middle of the afternoon. Even the pain that comes with a broken heart, love is worth it. And while it hurts to love someone and not be loved in return, but what is more painful is to love someone and never find the courage to let the person know how you feel. Don’t be reckless with someone’s heart. Don’t let them be reckless with yours. Don’t let anyone walk over you. Don’t compromise yourself for anyone. If you find that in order to be loved by someone, you have strayed so far from your true self that you have all but disappeared in the darkness, and one day you wake up and you don’t know how you got there or who you are anymore? Then it’s not love. I told myself that was the selfless way, the loving way, instead of the chicken shit way. I don’t know what it is, but I know what it isn’t. It’s not love. But don’t brood over love lost. Get on living and loving because you don’t have forever. Don’t hold to anger, hurt or pain. They steal your energy and keep you from love. I hope you find love in your life and when you do, for god’s sake, say something!! To often I have loved and not said so. My heart may have always been in my chest, but I never knew love until I had you. The day you were born was the day my heart started beating. You are my one true thing.
Any girl can tell you that beauty is a major pressure from every side. It’s not a matter of being beautiful; it’s a matter of the self-confidence to know that you do indeed possess beauty. Self-esteem is a tricky little bugger. You can have it and then it disappears in a blink, leaving you to wonder what ever was good about yourself. Don’t let anyone ever tell you that you are not handsome. You are. People who tell you such things are trying to put you down to build themselves up. Remember compliments that are given to you and forget the insults. In my life, there are two compliments that I have received that I try to remember when I am having a bad day. One was from your uncle Ted. The other was from your uncle Erik. If you learn how to dwell in the positive and forget the insults, please tell me how.
Regret. It’s the insight that comes a day too late. There are so many experiences in lifetimes that people say they regret. I don’t think of life in this way anymore really. Everything you do is a learning lesson. But there are some lessons that you wish you didn’t have to learn the harder way in life. For me, it was when I was 19. I made a mistake that has haunted me in one way or another every day since. Perhaps one day I will tell you, but until then just know that I was stupid. I made a mistake and there’s not a day goes by I don’t feel regret about that stupid mistake in one way or another. It’s a lesson that was learned the hard way. I look back on the way I was then: a young, stupid girl who trusted someone too deeply. I should have paid more attention. I want to talk to her and explain how the world works, that there are bad things that happen to good people. I want to talk some sense to her. Most of all, I want to tell her to walk the other way. To trust your instincts. But I can’t go back. I can’t change the past, no matter how hard I wish. We learn lessons in our life. They shape who we are. I made the wrong choice, on a night so very long ago. I sometimes wonder what happened to the girl I used to be and can pinpoint that moment as the turning point. She disappeared. She’s buried somewhere under the dirt on that path. And I have to live with the consequences of my actions. That being said, the experience has made me a stronger person. I know right from wrong. I know when to get out of a potentially dangerous situation, whether it is psychical, emotional or mental. I will not allow myself to be there again. It’s one of the reasons I finally left your father.
Forgiving people is one of those things that piggy backs on regret. It’s hard to feel forgiveness for people that have wronged you. My advice on this is let the little things go. There are moments in everyone’s life that feel unforgivable. When you look back in 40 years, do you want to say that you were bitter for most of it? Forgive people. Forgive yourself. You are notoriously hard on yourself. Self-deprecation is a full time occupation for some; I would hate to see you fall into that style of life. The game of life is made up of chances. Sometimes you are a head in the game, sometimes you are behind, and it’s all a matter of chance. Its an awesome idea to play the truth or dare game, and come up with sincere questions and answers. That can tell you more about your characters, more than a thousand times.
Hatred. I can officially say that I have only hated three people in my life. Hatred seems like such a waste of time. You can feel betrayed by people. People can hurt you. People can confuse you. But each one of those moments you learn something about yourself and the person you are. While I can’t forgive those three and never want to see them, I have to thank them in a way. They made me stronger. Even people I once loved, such as your father, I can’t hate. I can pity, but I can’t hate.
Faith is something that is different to each person that it intertwines with. It sometimes can be faith in god. Sometimes it is a blind faith knowing that everything happens for a reason. I have leaned there is a reason for everything, whether or not it is clear to you as it’s happening. Having faith in the universe is all I can say to you. There is always a reason. Have faith that everything will be as it supposed to be.
Friends come and go but there are a few you want to keep a hold of. They are the ones you can call at 3am because you know that they won’t be upset. A friend is someone who understands your past, believes in your future, and accepts you just the way you are. Hold onto your friends, the ones that know you, that don’t judge you. When the shit hits the fan, your friends are the ones you call for perspective. I know that I really needed perspective on a lot of things and in the past ten years I would either call uncle Erik or Auntie Jessie for advice. I have known them for most of my life now. I find it an honor to call them a friend. I have faith in my friends, for I consider them my family. I can recall that some of the most meaningful and wise words advice has come out of conversations with friends where we would talk all night because we just needed to talk. I relish the memories, memorizing the sound of the laughter, the insanity of my kindred spirits. Sometimes, when I can’t sleep, I think about the times when I spent all night talking with friends. It brings me comfort.
Which leads me to family. Love them or hate them, they are the only ones you get. We make our own family when we are older. But when we are young, we have mom and dad, and then the siblings. I will let you in on a little secret: your parents are fallible. Your siblings are human. Whether or not you like your sister, be nice to them. They are going to be the most likely to stick with you when you are older. Tell your parents you love them daily. You never know when you may wake up to a ringing phone saying one of them has died. Remember that they too are on this journey and are still in the learning process and sometimes, parents are wrong. Shocking, I know. It may seem silly, but be gentle with them as well. It doesn’t matter that you are 30 years old now; you are their little boy. Their pride and joy.
I guess I can sum this whole thing up in one word: Once. People always say “oh ONCE I have a job…” or “ONCE I find this person….” Or “ONCE things fall into place…” The problem is, while you are waiting for this “once” life is passing you by. Live it. Have no regrets. Don’t wait for “once”. Take a chance. Open your eyes. Open your mind. Open your heart. Let people into your life. Relish in the moment. Don’t even think about once. Forget regret or life is yours to miss. That’s the way to live life.
Happy birthday baby. I will always love you, unconditionally.