Dear Laurie At Age 11,
It’s Halloween 2016 and you’re about to read a blogpost that conceptually speaking, has been purloined. On this spooky day in the 57th year of your life, you’ll casually read an article written by an American female soccer player who helped her team win a medal with some precious metal content (we’ve never been much on details) during the recent summer Olympiad. It is a letter to her seven-year old self. Hardly a new concept, it’s been done to death, the same with writing one’s own obituary. Oprah, as you’ll learn, will enter the screen of a TV set near you in the early 80’s and she’ll eventually become the host of her own globally syndicated show. Eventually, she’ll become something of a doyenne of all things self-help, self-empowerment and spiritual recovery from the evil that’s creatinh one’s failure to launch. Give her whatever credence that fits your life needs at the time. Otherwise, move along and look for your ‘source’ where you can find it, but please, don’t make the mistake of thinking it can be found in any singular performance or person. In fact, avoid seeking approval in all forms and learn that everything you really and truly need comes from within.
For example, don’t find yourself needing another person. Instead, want them–that makes their presence or absence in your life, your option. Options are powerful. Appreciate them and never assume they will ever be as easy as A or B, black or white, right or less wrong. Eliminate degrees of difficulty and avoid all ‘damned if I do, damned if I don’t’ scenarios. Know your exits and in your 40’s, if none are clearly marked, create them where there are none. Peace of my mind is worth every dollar you might spend on property damage, literally or figuratively speaking.
Write in your spare time but major in a science of some sort, when in college. Broadcasting will only break your heart. Just to as you enter the early summer of your career, it’ll start its descent to the gallows. In 1996, a President by the name of Clinton will serve as its executioner. Oh yeah…he has a wife named Hillary. They’re both terribly addicted to the limelight, scandal, making lots of money and blaming vast right-wing conspiracies on everything. Oh and one more thing: don’t forget, a savtig brunette wearing a beret will enter the picture. She’s a silly, young thing really, with lofty goals that cloud her judgement. From what I remember, her daddy issues will get her in trouble. A certain president’s own particular version of daddy issues, will get him into trouble along with her. Sad scenario for the families involved, but a never ending font of material for comedy writers. You’ll consider voting for the Clintons when possible just because they’re the gift that keeps on giving. But I’d strongly advise against that for reasons that will become obvious.
You’re going to fall head over heals in love the first day of Jr. High. It’ll be the time of your life, Part One. It would be in your own best interests to employ catch and release tactics involving this young man. You’ll lose him for the silliest of reasons, but you can keep the memories. They become fewer and sweeter in time.
Strive for prosperity but be aware that the real prize is satisfaction.
The time of your life Part Two kicks off in the late summer of 1979. It includes career moves to three different cities. The years from 1988 through 1995 are for compete recalibration.
This next sentence will seem convoluted at first, but having lived our life, it’ll make sense–never settle, know your limits but defy them every chance you get. Failure is your best teacher, pain makes a terrific guidance counselor. Envy and insecurity can cancel out everything you achieve. Love yourself in moderation.
The dreaded Kendrick divorce gene continues to wound every generation. You can do nothing to prevent it from affecting others, but don’t let it taint your view of marriage. But if you ever choose to couple and you are by no means obligated to do so, find the right guy. Find a mensch, a man with a moral compass similiar to yours. Fight through the doldrums once the romantic goggles are removed. Love him, but more importantly, like him. And make damn sure he feels the same about us.
Avoid pilots, long-haired Liberals too scared to take a chance, dreamers who don’t act, actor who don’t dream; say no to musicians, tennis pros at the club, college jocks and that guy in that bar that one time in that city.
Don’t be afraid to admit you dig yacht rock, treasure real friends, discard place fillers. It’s perfectly okay to be comfortable in your skin.
As for your parents, please do your best to understand they are, were and always will be emotionally incapable of so many things. Forgive them early and often. They’re as wounded as you are and know no better. They’re victims themselves…of another time, a different generation, embittered and embattled for reasons of which they aren’t aware. And as for ever acheiving your ideal mother/daughter dynamic? Ain’t gonna happen, Sister.
That beautifully illustrated scene you saw in that Little Golden Book, the one that moved you at the tender age of five, doesn’t belong to you. That lovely and carefully drawn mom and her equally lovely infant and four-year old girl child, sitting so placidly in the lovely living room on a late afternoon, isn’t your reality.
But the sunset can be. And as you enter the early autumn of your life, all you need to do is look for it. Then, look AT at it through your six year old eyes, youR 24 year old eyes, the peeoers you have at 53….at 57 and beyond, if there’s a beyond. Understand how fluid its beauty is. Revel in the time you have with it. Sunsets have sonething very unique. They’ll be back within 24 hours. They have staying power. Unlike childhood, young love, teen angst, twenty something confusion, absent parents, , pimples, joy, contentment, glory, defeat, complicated relationships, both personal and professional and bad choices, can remain with you, should you decide to keep them in your life. But please, please refrain.
Sunsets require unobstructed views.
You at 57
PS: Floss more, realize that bread is wonderfully evil, wear sunscreen, endeavor to have a daily BM and be kinder, earlier please. And a hearty tip of me hat to “Baby Dear”, published by Little Golden Books written and illustrated by Esther & Eloise Wilkin, respectively.