Dedicated, with mad love always, to my fabulous E’s.
Mother’s Day. For such a quirky little holiday, it sure kicks up a lot of emotional dust. I’m not particularly sentimental but I’ve been reminiscing a bit lately. In honor of the day, here are 15 things I wish my mother had told me:
1. It’s important to take care of yourself, no matter what. You have to attend to your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual needs on a daily basis. Sleep. Eat clean. Breath deeply. Meditate. Read. Ultimately, nobody is going to do this for you. Self-care is requisite to your well being and crucial for your survival in this tough world. You can’t face everything that you’ll inevitably be confronted with out there if you haven’t taken care of yourself.
2. With the exception of aging, life is not particularly linear. It doesn’t follow some ordered progression. You’ll have very good years and some really awful ones. Within these, there will be months that flow in ease and grace and others that bog down in sadness and struggle. You won’t always have control over how these periods play out or their duration. You only have control over how you care for yourself therein. It’s best to temper your expectations. Who knows? It might all work out in the end
3. Life requires us to go the distance. It’s a Catch-22 thing. We need to have the bigger arc in view but can only tackle it all in small, daily bites. It’s an interesting line. We’ve got to have some sense that the little things we’re doing now–slugging through a job, taking care of our bodies, dealing with our crap–will have a cumulative affect that will be helpful in the long-term. But we only have today to do it.
4. If there’s a hole, no amount of ice cream or weed or shopping or booze will fill it. Don’t even go down that road. Some holes are never really filled. We just have to learn to live with a measure of ambiguity and discomfort. It begins and ends with grace.
5. Dance is good for you. And there’s no such thing as “I can’t dance” or “I don’t have rhythm.” If your ears can hear and your body can move, you can dance. The two were meant to go together. It’s an excellent way to release those tasty little endorphins that make us feel so yummy and alive. If you dance regularly, your quality of life will improve. Gospel truth.
6. Trust your gut–always, always, always. We are wired to be intuitive. It’s a critical part of the design. It’s an internal alarm system that keeps us safe and let’s us know when something’s not right. Conversely, it gives us the necessary clarity to know when to move towards something or someone wonderful. Whenever I’ve dismissed my gut in the past, I’ve always regretted it. Repeat after me: “My intuition is my friend.”
7. It’s perfectly OK to defy societal convention. I actually encourage it. But know what you’re throwing up against and be prepared for the difficulty that can sometimes come with it. Our culture only tolerates rebels to a degree. Once you’ve crossed that line, you’re in tricky territory. This isn’t to say there’s no value here. It just might not be comfortable. Thumbing your nose at the establishment is not for the faint at heart. Go for it.
8. Dye your hair, wear what you want, develop a style that is comfortable and unique to you. Your body is your house and, if you’re lucky, you’re going to live in it for a very long while. You might as well decorate it as you see fit. And don’t worry about other people’s approval. It’s overrated anyway.
9. You are going to run into all kinds of assholes out there. Some are up front and personal, like family members or people in your immediate community. Others are random characters that you meet only briefly along the way. You get to decide how you want to deal with them. Long-term assholes take a different strategy than some creep you encounter in traffic. You don’t have to take abuse from anyone. You also don’t have to waste precious life energy on some dumb ass you’ll never see again. Choices.
10. If you find something you truly love to do-DO IT. If it’s painting or soccer or piano or baking or sewing or hiking or whatever, get to it. We spend so god damn much of our lives getting ready to do stuff or waiting until we’re “good enough.” We waste time doing all the “should” before we allow ourselves pleasure. We end up frittering away hours and days and weeks and months on shit that isn’t important, while joy becomes this thing that sits on a shelf and is only brought down on special occasions.
11. People are complicated and will perplex you your entire life. You will meet some gems that you’ll hold forever. They are effortless to be with. They love you and know you well. They tell the truth and never leave you wondering. Others will confuse the holy fuck out of you. They’ll be kind one day and aloof the next. Sometimes they’ll be mean. Sometimes they’ll lay shit on you that every cell in your body knows is a lie. And then they’ll get offended when you won’t buy in. Still others thrive on drama. Like crack, it has a hopeless pull. And there will be a handful of mesmerizing angels who will land for mere seconds and leave you breathless as they float away again. You get to decide whom you run with in this world. Your heart already knows. Right now.
12. Be outside as much as you can. It invigorates and restores the soul. We are meant for the air and the trees and the sky and the light. We are not meant to hunker down in front of computers in some kind of self-induced hibernation. We are creatures of the earth. We should roam.
13. The present moment is where it’s at. It’s home base. It’s all you’ve got. It’s the garden. Get back to it.
14. You are exquisite and lovely just the way you are.
15. And if you end up having kids one day: As much as you swear to the contrary, you will not do the job better than your mother did. You’ll just do it differently. Although you can use her mistakes as a blueprint for what not to do, you’ll make plenty of your own. Believe it. But as much as you fumble, your kids will still blaze. They’re so fucking amazing that way. And as for you, it’s OK to be human. Just always bring it back to love. Always.