Saturday, May 11, 2013

If I were to die tomorrow...

My son-in-law posted an internet meme on his Facebook. It was simply a question, something along the lines of, "If I died tomorrow, what would you want me to know."

It is a pretty thought provoking question.  Not in relation to my son-in-law, but in relation to everyone. First of all, if you died tomorrow, I'm not really sure it matters much. Your life is over. I will have to move on (unless I die tomorrow too. In that case, it really doesn't matter.)

Of course, I think the point of the question was more along the lines of, "What don't you tell me, that you probably should?" Or, "What nice things do you want to say to me that you don't say?" The question probably works better phrased, "If you knew you were going to die tomorrow, what would you want to tell me today?" I like that better.

Matter of fact, I'll answer that one. First, I love you. This is a tricky one because I really love everyone. I don't see any reason to love my kids or my parents or even my partner more than you because all of you matter just as much. My friends and relatives are no more important than you. I love you if you are mean. I love you if you murdered someone. I love you regardless of your race or religion, ethnic heritage or sexual preferences. I may not understand you, and you may frustrate me sometimes. I may be sad because of your behaviors, but I still love you. I have this love for humanity, this way of seeing that knocks down separations. It is odd because personal intimacy is so hard for me to achieve, but this grand feeling that we are all in this together, it never fades.

As for family and friends, it might be good for you to know that I love you even knowing you. I may be very familiar with your stuggles and strengths, or maybe you are really good at hiding them, either way, I love you. I love you knowing who you are, and that is something special. I am often at a loss at how to show love. I tend to think most of my interactions with others are a burden on them. I realize on some level that this is not true and is just my personal insecurity and paranoia, but it is pretty intense so it often limits me.

I guess since I'm dying tomorrow (figuratively), it would only be right to also dispense some advice. I would want to say that you are you, that is, you are stuck with you, so you might as well love yourself. You are perfectly you and that person is never going to be perfect, just like everyone else. You're going to struggle, but in general, you will be the best you that you can be, destined by genes and environment. Take what joy you can, let yourself cry at sorrows, wonder. Explore everything with curiosity until you need to rest, then rest. Money matters, a lot. But not as much as you are likely to think it does.

I could be cliche and say be yourself, but I think we are all ourselves. I don't buy into that "she's a fake" mentality. How can you not be yourself?

Don't worry about your weight, but you might want to take care of your health.

If you have kids, be nice to them. Never forget that they are people. Never forget that they are likely to love you, unconditionally, no matter what, and don't betray their trust, ever. If you do, apologize. A quick apology for misplaced anger or frustration really does help. If you forget, a later apology is better than nothing. Talk. Talk, talk, talk. Communication and connection with your kids will make your family life better and will build long-term relationships that matter.

Cultivate a feeling of optimism in your life, and even if you never achieve much, you will still be a positive influence on the world. I was raised in a family filled with undying optimism, and it really was the biggest positive influence on my life.

Enjoy your youth. You have more energy at this time than you are likely to ever have again. You look prettier by society's standards. You have less urgency and fewer responsibilities. Take advantage of this time to have fun and to lay a foundation for things to come. Build relationships. It is probably easier than it will be in the future.

Enjoy your middle-aged years. You are still beautiful. You have more wisdom now. Share it. Don't live like life if over. Laugh at your failing eyesight, pursue old dreams, make better decisions now that you know yourself more. Keep building relationships. It is never too late.

Enjoy old age. Relish in an empty nest. Try new things. Play. Savor every single day, and don't be afraid to rest when you need to. Look in the mirror, and know that you are beautiful. Let yourself reminisce about the good times, and keep building relationships. It is really never too late.

At every age, assert yourself. You are the only one that knows you, and you matter just as much as anyone else.

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