Advice Worth Forwarding
Here’s some pretty great advice from a friend of goop—and it applies to just about everyone on this earth, so pass it on. It’s a letter from a mother to her about-to-go-to-college daughter; it contains some really well-explained, really universal truths worth thinking about no matter who you are, no matter what stage of life.
This is a big day and while I know I’ve been peppering our time together with tidbits of unsolicited advice and truisms, I feel the need to send you just one more big one (for now). I’ve had 18 years to teach you what I know about life—and now have this feeling that I’ve got to get in my last few drops of whatever wisdom I’ve garnered in my 44 years on the planet. So here you go:
There is one certainty in life. It’s universal and mathematical, it’s spiritual and it’s true: Things go up and they go down. They wax and wane. They rise and fall. That is life.
There is no straight line, Joni Mitchell was right. Nothing stays good forever, and it always gets better when it’s bad. You will undoubtedly get knocked down a few notches now and then. The trick, and I’m not saying it’s easy, is to truly enjoy the moments when you feel good, the sun is shining and your ideas are flowing, the world is smiling at you, and things are going your way. The other part of the trick? The hard part? To hold on to the knowledge that when it’s dark and the air is heavy and everyone else feels just beyond your ability to reach them, it will pass. You will shake the little cloud above your head; you just have to let the wind do its thing and blow it away.
It will pass, because it always does.
The goal isn’t to never feel pain. That’s actually where most of us make the mistake. Most of the ways we humans choose to not feel pain make things a whole lot worse. We drown it out, we medicate it, and we do stupid stuff that causes ourselves and others more pain. That’s not the goal. The goal is to feel the pain, try to understand it; process it by talking it out or writing it down, boosting our serotonin with exercise or kindness, or plain old sleeping it off. Our paramount job is function through it: keep moving and doing what we need to do. The goal is not being disabled by the pain. And here’s the great news: the difference is your thoughts.
There won’t be a warning, or sometimes there will be and you will choose to ignore it. You will be striding down the street feeling strong and clean, well-liked and solid, and a car will whiz by and splatter you with mud. At that moment you have a choice: “I am covered with mud. It is wet and goopy and it has made me late for my appointment and ridiculous looking. I am upset and this sucks.” And you choose to keep walking. The other option goes along the lines of: “Why is my life so shitty that I always get covered with mud? No one else got splattered. Everyone’s looking at me. I can’t handle this.” And stopping. The difference is the way you think about it. You get to decide.
You are strong and capable and you know what you need. You always have. When the the first day of school felt overwhelming to you, do you remember what you did? Nursery school was big and new and separating was scary. But you figured it out. You, decided to be a bunny. You looked at me, announced you were a rabbit, and then you got down on the floor and you HOPPED into class. That was that and you haven’t looked back for 16 years.
You have always been self-aware and known what you need for your well being—and it hasn’t been easy. I know you know what you need, so please, keep a strong eye on that as you enter this new phase of life. Stay connected to yourself and keep yourself strong and healthy and well rested so your body is able and your mind is clear. Listen to the part of you that says “slow down,” or “get up,” or “ask for help.” There is a voice that will ring clearer than the others and that is the one you should heed. And if that voice tells you to be a bunny, then hop—and don’t let anyone tell you not to.
I love you so much, more than you feel, I can promise you that. And even though “it’s not my proud it’s your proud,” I am SO SO SO very proud of you.