Cleaning up my computer last night, I discovered a letter I’d written for a friend of mine on the occasion of her eighteenth birthday. I was going to slip it inside her card but never did because, in the end, I thought it a bit corny. Looking at it now, I realise it’s not corny, it’s true. So here it is, Elle, I hope you’re reading!
At the official beginning of this next portion of your life, I have little to give you but some hints and tips for future adventures:
1) The world is big and amazing. Because of this, we often find beauty and happiness in the most unexpected and unusual of places. As such, you must keep your eyes open and always be ready for these gifts.
2) Amid a world full of wonder, you are unique. There is no other being on Earth with your character, your smile, your faults or your strengths. You are a surprise package and the Universe is holding its breath waiting to see what you will become.
3) There is more than one lid for every pot.
4) Life is never fair, it merely is. As such it is rare in a lifetime, to get what you want. When you do, remember to be grateful.
5) Love is like water. The more you grasp at it, the harder it is to hold. If you cup your hands and let it fall to you, it will fill more than you can imagine.
6) Sometimes life is awful. If it should become this way for you, try not to wallow. Learn what you must and move on. There is always a path out of despair but only you can walk it.
7) Buy quality not quantity.
8) Know that you are loved. Not because of your hair, smile or skin, or even for your intellect. Just because, magic as you are, you have the audacity to exist.
9) Because you are loved, there will always be minds, hearts and arms open and waiting for you. In return, try to be these things for someone else.
10) Always carry a first aid kit involving paracetamol.
11) Love is not gratitude, nor is it suffering. Love is your birthright, accepting imposters is to spit in the face of god.
12) Laughter and time are miraculous healers. Trust them.
13) Nature’s greatest strength is diversity. Dare to be different.
14) Sometimes sex is just for fun.
15) Have a care because life is short; yours and others.
16) Don’t fill the silence. Some people take a while to speak. It’s usually worth the wait.
17) Eat vegetables; they really are good for you.
18) When someone tells you who they are (eg, “I’m a loser”, “I’m a bastard”, “I’m stupid”), believe them, they’re telling the truth.
19) Charm is a verb; it’s what someone does, not who they are.
20) Drink water, only the well hydrated traveller remains ready for adventure.
Well there you go Elle, 36 years old and this is all I have to offer someone half my age. I wish there was more; a map, some certainty, a formula, but there isn’t. This is all I know for sure.
Love you lots.