My youngest daughter, BeautE, is 21! Incredible! In preparation to celebrate this milestone, I wondered what hard-learned, sage advice I could share with her. In doing so I have created quite a project, one which I have loved doing and hope will evolve, certainly onto other pages within this blog (see my Positive Thoughts blog).
Armed with a small nondescript notebook and pen, I asked many people that I know (and that I didn’t really know at the time) what advice they would give to their younger selves. Responses were collected from close friends and acquaintances, family, people that I stand next to in exercise classes, guests on tables near us in restaurants … my list goes on! The ages of my questionees range from 28 to 83 (and I was given an indirect quote from a 91-year-old hermit, but that’s another story!) It has sparked so many fantastic conversations and many people took time to think about their answer before writing, texting or emailing me. I have been delighted by the response and my original ‘project’ has been overwhelmed – in fact, it has become more than some birthday card quotes for BeautE!
My next thought was the ‘presentation’ of this acquired wealth of recommendation. A card, obviously. That would be written in my best script and almost certainly accompanied by a home painted picture. I realised that the card could become more of a pamphlet as the responses kept arriving. (So excited by the responses that I have received, that I can’t stop asking people for their thoughts!)
I decided to create a series of photocards for the most striking, enlightening quotes. These, I decided could be strung up or put in an album. My hanging line would need to be very long, I realized. BeautE could easily garotte herself in her small student room, or be bound up like a fly in a spider’s web of string, pegs and photos! The conclusion, a compromise … 21 photocards, every quote written out in a small book for future reference, and a blog page! I do hope that on reading this, you may consider sharing your own pearls of wisdom with me.
Being 21 is a strange age in today’s times. The watershed of becoming an ‘adult’ at 18 is years behind but, in the case of my children who are away studying, the independence has not yet bloomed. Washing and overdrafts still come home at the end of the term, the childish squabbles with siblings at the Sunday table about who is doing the washing up still rumble on, but everyone’s thoughts really are moving towards the next step – the location, career, finance, life partners for the rest of their lives.
The overwhelming advice given to BeautE is to take her time to commit to all of the above, to enjoy living in the moment, to feel content with her own opinions and that it is okay to make mistakes along the way. Here are a few of the photocards that represent numerous similar experienced insights. Each photocard image has a story and I shall share them as I post them in my ‘positives thoughts blog’ as the weeks roll on.
And my advice? Well, I believe in all of the advice shared – I wouldn’t want to send my daughter off on the wrong path as life can do that anyway, but I particularly liked my mother-in-law’s advice and the advice that I wish I had most taken to heart is to enjoy the simple things. Life rushes along and the need to grow material wealth seems to eclipse all of the simple pleasures that are a constant if you just take the time to see and feel them. A further reflection and one that I am truly following is ‘DO IT BECAUSE YOU CAN’ – not everyone I love can and that makes me sad yet determined.