Saturday, August 23, 2014

A Letter to My Younger Self~

I dip a chip into the salsa and wonder, where has time gone?

Beside me is my soon to be eight year old nephew. Next to him, my beautiful sister who is expecting baby #2.  Seated by them, I watch my soon to be 80 year old mother as she watches her 2 year old great-granddaughter who is sitting beside her - my niece's daughter. In my niece's lap, her one year old, and rounding out the table, her mother - my older sister, now in the 50 something category of life.

As I take a sip of water, I feel tears form in my eyes.  Here at this table, at a Mexican restaurant somewhere in the middle of Oklahoma, I realize the passing of time.  Like a slap to the face, a pinch to my heart, a reality check unlike any other, I feel the brevity of life.

When did they get so old?
When did I?
When did I graduate from child, to Aunt, to great-Aunt?

In my mind's eye, I see her.
Me, then, my younger self.
The child I used to be.
If I could write her a letter what would I say?

Dear Stacy,

You look out at the world through eyes that see so much more than people and places, colors and things.  You see what others feel and you feel what others see and you don't have a clue in the world what to do with any of it.  Like a spin on a merry-go-round, you see the world around you in the blur of emotion, and you can't quite seem to get your feet back on solid ground before your stomach feels the effect.  Oh, child.  The world is yours to see, to feel, to breathe in, to experience, but it is not yours to carry.  It is not yours to make right.  It is not yours to heal. It is not yours to fear.  It is not yours to win.  It is not yours to mold into.  It is yours to live. To live, sweet child.

Don't be afraid to live.  

Yes, there will be times that will scare you spitless, leaving you sweaty palmed and so very unsure of who you are.  But, here's the thing: life does that to everybody. If we all knew how to live life before we were born, where would be the challenge?  What would be the point? 

Yes, there will be times you will try your hardest and fail, and times when you won't try at all and will wish you had, and times when all your hard work will pay off and success will be yours.  But, here's the thing:  in all, there is a lesson to be learned.  Do your best, all the time.  Give 100%, 100% of the time.  It's not about  winning or losing, failing or succeeding, it's about you not settling for less than your best.  In this, giving your all, you will taste the sweetness of triumph and perseverance.

Yes, there will be times (lots of times) you will want so desperately to stand on the sidelines and watch others "do life". But, here's the thing: don't do it.  Don't stand by. Don't bow out.  Don't decline.  Don't choose not to. Listen to the true desperation you are feeling - it's not the doing you are afraid of, it is the result of doing that scares you. You want to....but, what if. Oh, shy girl, take those "ifs" and follow them into life - your life. If you want to dance, get out on the floor and dance.  If you want to try your hand at something, jump into it with both feet.  If you are given a chance to take a chance that speaks to your heart, breathes life to a dream, makes you want to move forward and move backward all at the same time, take it.  Chances are you won't regret the chances you took, but sadly, all the chances you let slip by.  

Oh, sweet girl - live your life, every single moment of it.  Wring it out dry and then, try and squeeze a little more out. You only get one chance to live, one chance to be you, one chance to live your life.  Do it now, because here's the thing: life goes faster than you can even begin to imagine.


I look around the table and I smile.

And, I realize how very blessed I am.

To be here, in this Mexican restaurant somewhere in the middle of Oklahoma - this is life, my life.

To gaze upon the faces of those I love,
to be called "Aunt CiCi",
to share in the fellowship of family
(with all the highs and the lows that come with it),
 to be able to savor the flavor of the cilantro in the salsa,
- this is life, my life.

And, I love it.

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