My Best Advice to My Daughter: Live Happy, Big and Bold
There is a life lesson I want you to learn, sooner rather than later. Live big. Don’t lose your sparkle. Live life to the fullest.
I mean really live it.
You have a Sparkly side. Don’t lose it.
I Lost My Sparkle
A while back, I misplaced my sparkly-fun side. I lost a part of myself, the part that was growing and exploring and creating.
I stopped living big.
I made the mistake of withdrawing.
But the good new is that we can both learn from my mistakes.
For too long now, I’ve been holding myself back. I’ve been holding your dad back. In some ways, I’ve been holding all of us back.
I’ve put life on hold with my attitude and my outlook. In recent months, I have come to realize what I’ve been doing.
I’ve been living small, thinking small, and as a result, limiting all of us.
Moving forward, I’m making a promise to you and your dad. I will stop confining us to a small life. I will start letting us live bigger.
In some areas of life, I give in to fear and anxiety. In those areas, I’ve been walking timidly.
You could say I’m always waiting for the other shoe to fall. It’s just something I do because that’s what I learned growing up.
I’ve lived most of my life like that. But in the past few years, it’s been worse. Somehow, instead of growing and doing more, I’ve been shrinking and doing less.
We should never stop growing. We should never stop doing.
I just returned from a few days in Sonoma; a Girls Getaway. Because you’re so young, I don’t know if you will remember me taking this trip. You’ll probably just remember that I was gone for a few days.
Years from now, when you’re older, I doubt you will recall how, when one of my best friends invited me along on a trip to celebrate her 40th birthday, I struggled to commit.
More than likely, you won’t remember how I was reluctant to leave you and your dad.
You won’t recall my hesitation to spend the money, and feelings of guilt for taking time for myself.
I was reluctant to take this trip. Not because I didn’t want to go, but because I was hesitant to do something for me.
Your dad insisted I go. Sometimes he understands me better than I understand myself. Thank God for him.
Dear sweet girl, promise me you will never follow this path. Don’t say no to things because you think you shouldn’t spend money, have fun, and do things for yourself.
This is not the kind of thinking I want you to observe and learn.
I Used to Sparkle
Years ago, I allowed myself much more freedom. I treated myself better and loved myself more. I let myself have more fun and had some of the best experiences in my life.
Traveling, reading, working out, naps, spas. You name it. I did what I wanted whenever I wanted.
Over time, that has changed. I don’t do as many of the things that fill my soul and make my heart sing. I don’t always do the things that make me better.
These days, I don’t go too many places outside of the errands that need to be run for things to go (somewhat) smoothly around here. I don’t see my friends as much as I used to.
In my ongoing effort to keep up with life’s responsibilities, I have put restrictions and limitations on myself.
I’m not sure how it happened, but suddenly I am finding myself in a place where I worry too much. I take care of everyone else, but I don’t take care of myself.
I Stopped Living Big
Now I can look back and see many of the things have contributed to me going into this shell and shutting down. Changing careers, setbacks, life stress, pressures, cancer treatment.
Lots of things. Lots of very complicated things. But shutting down is not the answer. Saying no to LIFE doesn’t get you where you want to go.
And I can’t take care of you as best I can if I’m not taking care of me. I can’t be the best wife and mom if I’m not being the best version of myself.
When I was in Sonoma, I caught a glimpse of my old self. It’s the girl your dad married and the mom you really haven’t seen much of. And in the other girls on the trip, I saw more of who I want to be.
I’ll give you just one example. I made a new friend on the trip and she opened my eyes to celebrate. You see…she takes a big trip each year for her birthday. She invites dozens of people and makes it a big deal.
She takes birthday trips to Jamaica, Costa Rica, the Bahamas, Antigua, just to name a few. So many beautiful places. Too many to list. The point is, she goes. She goes and she celebrates. She knows exactly how to live big.
I love that! That’s living!
I Should Live Big – So Should You
Living big doesn’t mean big trips or elaborate things. It can be anything, as long as it includes things you want to do and things that make you happy. Living big is a mindset of loving life and celebrating it in whatever way that works for you and brings you joy.
By this definition, you already do live big. You have an incredible zest for life. I imagine most children start out that way before life starts getting real and hard and kind of mucky. Before weary, worn-down grown-ups discolor and darken the filter with which you view the world.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can keep that spark….that magic. I am so intrigued when I see you creating your art. Whether you are drawing pregnant cats (because you are currently obsessed with pregnant cats), or a creating a sculpture of a tree using mud and twigs, you are doing your own thing with joy.
My heart feels like it’s going to burst with joy when I hear your sweet, beautiful voice singing from your bedroom. I am filled with awe and wonder when I watch you build an elf trap. And it amazes me that you really believe the elf will come. You really believe.
Don’t Stop Believing in Your Magic
I don’t want you to stop believing. And I don’t want you to start thinking small or living small just because life gets hard and the world starts putting restrictions and limits on your beliefs.
I can promise you this. At some point or another, things will hard. And then it’s going to get better. A lot better. That’s just how life works. Believe me, I know. And if you keep your head and attitude right, it will better a whole lot sooner.
My girl, YOU see the beauty in all things and you also see the beauty in all people. You are loving life and full of adventure, even when it’s just in our very own backyard. Don’t stop living vividly. Don’t stop living big.
Life is going to kick you sometimes. There are days, weeks, months, sometimes years, that may be bleak, or even really dark. Some stretches of time will be tough, stressful, painful. But if that happens, don’t quit. Don’t stop. Keep living in color. Be true to yourself. Don’t let it make you start living in fear and don’t let it hold you back.
Live Big and Love Your Life
Be brave. Be bold. Celebrate every day. Celebrate the big things and small things and even mundane things.
Take trips! See things! Make friends! Love people! Do stuff! Be courageous! Live boldly!
Most of all, love yourself fully. Love yourself, love your life and live big. Just like you live it now.