Understanding what you really believe in, bellow layers of disjointed opinions, personal life lessons and amusing anecdotes isn’t just a curiosity – if you are to have kids, your beliefs are the framework for their lives. If you are honest with yourself, than you’ll strive to raise your child with this framework in mind. Framework he will chew on, wrestle with and undoubtedly discard. But not before being affected by it.
At 32, it’s about time I wrote to you, my unborn child.
Living a lie is a waste of time – you’ll just wake up one day full of regrets. Don’t escape the reality of your life – it’s always less terrible than what we picture it. Don’t close your eyes on problems with your relationships, don’t avoid thinking about how boring your job is. Open up to your pain, vulnerability, loneliness, realize your unhappiness. We are all lost and confused at times, but only the brave can admit it. Reality can be scary and painful, but facing it is the only way to start transforming your life.
Turning to face my fear, I meet the warrior who lives within. Each condition I flee from pursues me. Each condition I welcome transforms me (Jennifer Welwood)
The unexamined life is not worth living (Socrates)
Do you stay or do you go? Do you fight or do you give up and move on? No one knows what’s the right thing to choose, and often there is no right or wrong choice. But there is a right and wrong choosing. Not choosing, sitting on the fence, waiting for the world to make the choice for you, and for the time to make it irrelevant – that is the wrong way of choosing. Don’t miss the opportunity to exercise your freedom, don’t let others make the choice for you.
That doesn’t mean that you always need to be a stoic, carrying the full weight of your choices on your own shoulders. Sometimes yielding your power to others is an act of wisdom, not weakness. But yielding doesn’t have to be a passive submission, it can be an active choice as well.
In choice, spirit grows (Robert Heinlein)
Stand For What You Believe In
Do you support some political party? Volunteer to hand out their leaflets. Did someone mock a person you like in your presence? Say something. It’s not enough to secretly believe in something – you have to act on it to make it count. Our thoughts and ideas are ephemeral – they come and go. Only our actions say something about us. Don’t let cynicism stop your from engaging in life, don’t let insecurity shield from a possible disillusionment. Only in struggle we learn who we are and what we are made of. You know what is the sweetest thing of all? The self-respect you earn from this.
Beyond a given point man is not helped by more “knowing”, but only by living and doing in a partly self-forgetful way (Ernest Becker)
Don’t become an expert – experts tend to be narrow-minded, driven by pride, too busy defending their status to be able to change. However good you are in something, you are always more than that – don’t let what you do define who you are and who you can be. Keeping a beginners’ mind lets us explore the ever-changing world with curiosity and freshness, developing and growing instead of retreating to and barricading in our familiar identity, threatened by the changes around us.
In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities; in the experts mind, there are few (Shunryu Suzuki)
Live With Freedom and Responsibility
Explore the world, make your own way in it, find your own element. But realize that in doing so you affect other people. Freedom without responsibility is a selfish escape. Responsibility without freedom is a pointless burden. In every conscious action you can choose to break through the limits and boundaries of safe conformism and other people’s ideas about life. But life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation and compassion.
Live as if you were living a second time, and as though you had acted wrongly the first time (Viktor Frankl)
This is all I have to say to you my child. I just hope that if you ever read this, I could look at you without shame for not living well.