Seems to me we often say things like “if I only knew then what I know now”. I’m going to turn that on its head and tell myself some things I know now that might actually give me a chance to make a difference in my life. This year has been quite a challenge, in ever so many ways. But, challenges expose opportunity. And through them, we gain insight into alternative courses of action. So here I am, speaking to the future me.
I’m writing to you from, as you may recall, possibly the only truly peaceful day you experienced in 2018. December 31st. You woke up this morning with the remnants of a dream floating through your neurons. A simple little thing, you were helping a new friend restore an old traction engine. Where the dream came from, or why, is a mystery. But, it contained so many of the things that bring you peace and joy. Friendship, working with your hands, puzzling out unknowns and history. Remember these things. They are the core of who you really are, deep down under the pain and grief. They are enough to build a new life on. So, as you go riding off into your future this coming year, I offer you a list of things I think you should consider.
I believe you should resolve to let go of:
Relationships that do not serve your peaceful nature. You don’t need me to explain this one.
The career of twenty-nine years that you have been mostly checked out of for the last ten.
Other people’s expectations of you.
Other people’s judgements of you.
The past. It’s over and done. Put a fork in it.
Of Liz’ death.
Of the kids growing up and moving away.
Of losing the one relationship you thought could “fix” you.
Of the unknown.
Of not having a secure future.
Of being alone.
The lies you tell yourself:
That you aren’t enough.
That nobody cares.
That you’ve failed anyone. Ever.
Along with the things you need to let go of, it’s time to set some intentions for who you want to be in the future. So, here are the things I think you should resolve to make happen.
The J.O.B. is the last thing you held on to (and you held on way too long, in my ever so humble opinion). When you walk away from that, you walk into a new life. Seize it! It’s the reason you’re still here (there’s got to be some reason, might as well believe this is it).
Why else go on?
Sunsets (and the occasional sunrise). Mountains, rivers, trees, birds and animals.
Long peaceful stretches of highway.
Curves (of all kinds).
The stories. Those you read, those you write and (best of all) those you get to live.
Seek deeper connections.
With your children.
With your grandaughter.
With all your other family members.
With your friends.
With people you haven’t even met yet.
Remember that conversation with the couple on the airplane to Denver? They’d just scattered her father’s ashes, from an Adirondack guideboat, on Long Lake. The Universe, in all her wisdom, brought an old guideboat builder together with a mourning couple, on a flight from Albany to Denver. That couldn’t possibly have been a coincidence.
There’s probably a whole lot more I could say to you. But this is enough, I think, to get you started. You should swing back around in a year and see if you’ve managed to listen to me. Because I promise you, if you do, 2019 will be ever so much better than 2018 turned out to be.
With all my love,
The 2018 version of you.
Thank you for reading.