We are afraid of truth, afraid of fortune, afraid of death, and afraid of each other. Our age yields no great and perfect persons. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
You just discovered you have fifteen minutes to live.
1. Set a timer for fifteen minutes.
2. Write the story that has to be written.
For me, it’s not so much a “story” but a letter to my daughters. If I only had 15 minutes, I would use it to make sure they knew the important stuff.
My girls, I just want you to know that I love you more than anything. I’ve been so proud of you, even in moments of frustration, exasperation, and my own personal disappointment at not having all the answers. Just promise me that you will do what makes you happy, what fills you up and adds something good to the world. Don’t do what you think I would have wanted you to do. Don’t worry about what other people think. I spent way too much time doing that in my life. I wasted too much time doing that in my life, and I missed out on a lot of opportunities.
Don’t be afraid to take chances. That doesn’t mean going all in every single time, but if you think something might be worth your while to take the risk – whether it’s with a career, or a project, or a cause, or love – take the risk. If it succeeds, it will be the best thing in the world. And if it doesn’t, remember hurt is temporary. It’s much better to open yourself up for the chance at happiness and fulfillment, than to be overly cautious and miss out completely.
It’s almost impossible to go through life with no regrets. There will always be something you wish you’d done, or NOT done. But if, at the end of your days, you can look back and say, “You know, it was a pretty good ride. I was happy, I had friends, and I had fun,” then you did all right.
I want to tell you something about love. I’ve found that the best kind of love is not the romantic kind you’d read about in books or see in movies (although there’s nothing wrong with it, per se). The best kind is the kind that glows inside you. It doesn’t matter what the source is, or what lights that fire, but if it brings you ease, contentment, and a sense of completion, then you’ve struck Love with a capital L. And I can tell you it won’t sweep you off your feet, but it will leave you awestruck and smiling and grateful.
Remember to look out for each other. I know it’s not going to be easy because you are two very different people. But give it your best. I will always love you, and God will always love you and has your backs. I’ve learned that there’s a whole lot of power in faith and prayer – I didn’t used to believe that, but as an adult I realized what it really means to have faith. Sometimes that means just saying, “Okay, God. It’s up to you. I’m going to trust that you know what you’re doing and that you have a plan for me and this is going to work out in the end.” And then trust. Trust is harder than love sometimes. But it’s equally important.
You’re good kids. You’ve been taught well by many people who hopefully made up for my shortcomings as a parent. Plant gardens. Hold open doors. Give hugs. Dance. Sing. Paint. Watch the sun come up and go down as much as you can. Listen to nature’s story. And don’t be afraid to be a part of it.