I’m writing this letter to you today to let you know how far you have come in the past twenty years. I know at this point in your life you’ll be looking back and flailing yourself with all your perceived shortcomings, missed opportunities, poor choices and heartaches.
Knowing this about you, I’m writing to remind you that you made two decisions that impacted your life and have made you the person you are. I’m certain you haven’t forgotten those decisions, because they shaped you in ways no other choices could have done. To clarify and to help you feel better about where you’re at right now, I’m writing to remind you that these were your conscious choices. You knew, at least to a small degree, what direction choosing such things would require.
The sacrifices have been worth it. Whatever fell to the sidelines, whatever was left undone was as it needed to be. It was part of the design you set for yourself when you put your feet on this path you now find yourself on.
The first decision you made was to choose people over things.
Do you remember when you made that decision? Probably not, it was a process, not a one-time thing. You had found, through helping a few people along the way, in spite of how busy you were as a young mom, as a mom with teens, as a working mom, that reaching out and helping someone, even at the cost of something you wanted, was always the better choice. The relief on another’s face was a balm in your own wounds. The joy in a child’s eyes reflected back into your eyes. The time sacrificed, again and again, always felt like the best expenditure of that time.
You were honest with yourself about the sacrifices that decision required. Sometimes they hurt. Sometimes giving was the last thing you wanted to do, but it had become who you were. The tricky part, do you remember, was finding that tipping point when it was time to regroup, fill your bucket, shore up your own reserves, care for your tender worn spots, so that you could once again care for others.
That balance was not an easy thing to maintain. The pendulum often swung wide to either side, excessive giving to others, or a kind of self-indulgent, inward cocooning. But you have worked at achieving a rhythm to your giving, your sharing, your service, and your self-care. Now you can look back on your life of generosity and selflessness. You should feel a sense of, not pride, no, not that, but of integrity. You stuck to your decision to choose people first.
The other life decision you made seemed almost contradictory to the first one. But, by time you read this letter, you will have made the two into proper companions, a perfect marriage of ideals. This decision, too, required sacrifices. You set aside a sense of security and safety for a life of openness and sharing and of uncertainty.
You chose words.
That was a very deliberate decision on a very specific day. You decided to honor that spark of creativity, intelligence and joy that burned so bright from your early childhood.
You chose to be the writer you wanted to be. You chose words as your paint, words as your clay, words as your film, words as your musical notes. Words gave life to all you saw, thought, felt, and experienced. Then you shared those precious words in as many ways as you could think of.
The people you loved will have known to their very bones, that you loved them. You will have shown it, you will have said it.
Actions and words showed the world and yourself who you are and were. Feel secure and sure in the way you have used your life. It was well spent.
Regrets? You probably have many. But not about these two decisions.
The best choices you ever made.
All my love,