Remember that “song” Everybody’s Free (to wear sunscreen) by Baz Luhrmann? I only remembered it after I started to type something, a kind of advice to my younger self. Anyway, this is not me trying recreate something that’s been done before, it’s simply me giving myself a bit of a talking to, whether it’s to my younger self, my older self or me as I am now.
First things first, you need to understand that everyone’s got an opinion and advice. Some keep it to themselves, some carefully discharge it with wisdom and others blurt it out indiscriminately whether it’s any of their business or not. Take it all with a pinch (or a bucketful) of salt. Be careful who you share your opinion with and how you do it.
There are some things you should know.
There are some things you don’t need to know.
Learn to discern which is which and act accordingly.
As sure as the sun rises in the east, other people will let you down - don’t let them get you down but do get up to see the newness of the sunrise.
As sure as the sun sets in the west, you will let yourself down – learn to build yourself back up and remember to enjoy the beauty of the sunset.
Dare to wander barefoot into the meadow of your imagination. Tread softly, gently, sit awhile and discover the beauty that exists in endless possibility.
Be loyal - when all else is gone loyalty will mean you are not standing alone. Your credibility and integrity matter more than anything else. When IT is gone you are in trouble.
Stay out of trouble.
Don’t allow feelings to stop you doing the right thing. Feelings come and go. Your conscience will always be with you.
Understand that true friendship is more valuable than a huge house, a full bank account or any other material treasure. Your friends are precious; cherish them.
Life is precious; cherish it.
Forgiveness is vital; hold on to it.
Regret will eat you up – let it go.
Live a life which brings peace of mind. If you don’t have that you will forever be tormented by what if’s and maybe’s.
Spend time gazing at the stars. The universe is huge, you are tiny in comparison. Allow your breath to be taken away by a shooting star and the beauty of creation.
Allow your heart to be broken – you will retain a tenderness which allows you to love again.
Bitterness callouses the heart and poisons your thoughts.
Always have a dream big enough to grow into.
Allow your passion to show others what you believe and what you stand for.
Believe in yourself.
Stand up for others.
Colour outside the lines. Do not be constrained by the expectations of other people. Express yourself freely as only you can. You are unique.
Understand that there are many viewpoints. Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean someone else can’t. A church tower has four sides; if there’s one person looking at it from each side you will all see a different clock face but you’re all looking at the same church and the same tower. Life is not always quite the way you see it.
Be an educator. The greatest threat to an inclusive society is ignorance. Educate the ignorant with words of love not condemnation. You will win others over to your side more quickly if you treat them with respect. Do not use words of hate. You are not judge, juror and executioner, even if sometimes it would feel better if you were.
Write. Poems, songs, prose. Just write.
Walking away is not a sign of weakness. Sometimes the bravest action is to walk away even if it appears to be in defeat. Living to fight another day when you are stronger is more important than fighting with no energy. Learn to pick which battles need fighting today.
You don’t need to explain yourself.
Don’t ask others to explain themselves.
Look after your teeth.
Look after your heart.
Hold on to memories which make you smile.
Let go of memories which make you wince.
Travel to far off places and broaden your horizons.
Stay close to those who love you. Do not treat them with contempt or take them for granted. Invest your time in those who care about you and those you care about.
Smile. It encourages those who love you. It confuses those who dislike you.
Laugh. Every day. Laugh long and laugh loudly.
Sing. Sing the song of your heart. Sing in the shower. Sing in the bath. Sing in the kitchen and the lounge. Sing in church. Sing in the car. Sing in the street. Sing in the mountains. Sing in then valleys. Sing in the forests. Sing in the deserts. Even when there are no words; sing.
Cry. Allow your tears to bring healing to your wounds. Welcome them; do not despise them. You cannot make the past disappear but with every teardrop you get stronger and one day you will be glad for those tears.
There is beauty in brokenness. If you never hurt, you never truly love...
….and finally listen to the advice you give yourself. But remember…if you listen to this, take it all with a pinch of salt….