Letters to Little One

Love & Where to Find it

Dear Little One,

I’ve been thinking a lot about love lately. There are so many kinds.

Love for the senses: things you love to taste or smell or hear or feel or see.

Love for the brain: things you love to learn about, explore, understand, and invent.

Love for the body: things you do to feel calm or alive or dangerous or happy.

Love for the earth: things that you love to be around, be it outside or inside, underwater or in the air.

Love for the heart: things you will live and breathe and sacrifice and die for.

There’s love between friends and girlfriends and boyfriends and husbands and wives and daughters and fathers and sons and mothers and daughters. There’s self-based love and faith based love. There is tangible love and intangible love.

What’s comforting about all this is that, quite simply, there is love. And no matter where you are in your life, you will have it. It will be around you, it will be inside you, it will be you, even when that seems impossible to believe. So don’t lose hope, Little One, love is always there.

 

See you soon

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Letters to Me

Dear Me,

No, this isn’t your past self, or your future self, or some self that is hidden deep beneath the folds that only comes out on Sunday afternoons. (Though, if you catch wind of that third one, you should probably get that checked out) No, this is you, right now, in your current state. Hey.

I’m writing to tell you that you’re unhappy. You are. And even though it’s not the kind of unhappiness that cripples you, it’s still prominent, and you need to address it.

You need to make changes. Big and small. And you need to be brave.

First off, you need to get a new job. The one you have right now just isn’t cutting it.  I know, I know, this is a touchy subject. But it’s arguably the most important. You’ve been at this job for almost 10 years now and it’s been great. You’ve learned a lot. More than you realize sometimes. And you are grateful for everything everyone here has done for you. They’ve watched you grow up. They congratulated you when you graduated college and encouraged you when you started to pursue writing. But they also look at you, they wonder—or at least that’s what you assume—they want to ask you, but they don’t: how long will you be here?

This is a family business after all. It’s been passed down three generations and you would be a logical choice for number four. But you don’t want it. You don’t want to stay here and carry on, no matter how noble or nostalgic that may seem. Maybe you’ll inherit it and keep it running in your name. Maybe you’ll be the face behind the scenes, but you don’t want to stay here. You don’t want to exist only here.

No.

You want—no—you need to get out of here. Because as much as you can survive here, you’ll never thrive. And that’s what stewing deep down inside you: the need to thrive.

You’ve felt it for a while now, but you couldn’t quite make out what it was. You have come to work frustrated and short-tempered and gone home regretful and confused. It’s not this place. It hasn’t changed. It hasn’t declined. You’ve just grown. These old clothes are too small now, and you need to buy some new ones.

Secondly, you need to start failing harder.

I know you have dreams. Big ones. Some bigger than you’d dare say out loud. You get that feeling in your stomach, like you’re really meant to do something good. Something that sticks. Start following that feeling because none of it is out of your reach. Start making big scary jumps alongside the small safe steps. Try hard, fail harder, and then succeed infinitely.

Write your dreams down. All of them. Even that one. You’ve been thinking about it for years. It’s time you stopped pretending like you don’t want it more than anything.

Thirdly, you need to you remember me—you.

You need to remember that you are equally as worthy of the kindness and patience and respect you so desperately try to give to everyone else and you need to remember that there’s no shame in admitting that. You need to remember that to do all the things you want to do—to find happiness, to make your dreams come true, to thrive—you need to be you. To love you, for you. Because that’s the only way you make it out of here. Out of this place you wrote this. Out of this secret unhappiness. You need to admit you’re unsatisfied and then you need to do something about it.

I recommend you start now.

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Letters to Little One

Always, Always, Always, Capable

Dear Little One,

Always always always remember you are capable. You are capable of doing everything and you are capable of doing nothing. You are capable of saying yes and saying no. You are capable of thinking and dreaming and producing and achieving. You are capable of failing and you are capable of trying again. You are capable of standing up and you are capable of surrendering. You are capable of loving and hating and choosing which one to turn to. You are capable of smiling and frowning and crying and laughing. You are capable of helping and turning your back and apologizing. You are capable of anything you set your mind to, and an infinite amount more outside of what you can imagine. You are capable of all this at once and yet sometimes you’ll still feel small, and that’s okay.

 

See you soon.

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Letters to Little One

Help the Sinking, Stay Afloat

Dear Little One,

In training to be a lifeguard, you learn how to control a chaotic, often life-threatening situation. When people are drowning or in fear of drowning, they are desperate for help, and it is your job to get to them, relax them and bring them to safety.

In learning to be a good friend, we are often faced with many of the same situations as a lifeguard, though they often exist on much more figurative planes. Life consistently throws the unexpected at us, knocking us down, pushing us under the water, and while we often try to teach ourselves to swim the best we can, we often rely on our friends to save us when things get too hard.

As a friend, we learn to hold our breath, we learn to paddle and to kick. We learn to stay calm when the person we are trying to save is too panicked to realize they may be drowning us too. Yes, as a friend we do all of these things, because oftentimes we are the only ones who will. However, we must always connect to the fact that we are not just a friend. We are not solely a lifeguard on duty during someone else’s swim. We too are swimming and we too are trying our best to stay afloat. So while we must always keep ourselves open and available to lend a hand when we are needed, we must also take note of where we are in the water.

So, Little One, I ask you to remember this: Love hard enough to want to save the ones around you from sinking, but make sure they put in as much time to help you float.

 

See you soon.

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Letters to Little One

Generous With What We Cannot See

Dear Little One,

Ever since I was little I was encouraged to be generous, to share, to give. And as I’ve grown up, I’ve noticed how often I associate those words with tangible things. I’ve shared toys. I’ve given presents. I’ve been generous with my money. But now, perhaps more than ever, I’m starting to believe that what the world needs more than anything is our generosity with the things we cannot see.

We need to be generous with our hearts, both in loving those who love us and those who don’t.

We need to be generous with our voices, using them to identify what needs to be changed and giving them to those who have had theirs taken away.

We need to be generous with our time, giving it to people not things.

We need to be generous with our hope, passing it along to those who have been given no reason to hold onto their own.

The world needs so much more than money and things, and you are worth so much more than your supply of either. So when you’re looking for ways to be generous, you need look no further than inside of yourself. Chances are if you look there first, the gift will be far greater than anything you could have given blindly out of your pocket.

 

See you soon.

 

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Letters to Bear

The Silence of Time

Dear Bear,

Sometimes it’s weird thinking that the only thing keeping us apart is the silence of time. That which forces us to be patient and shapes us into who we’ll need to be when life weaves us together. That which teaches us and tortures us and turns us upside down. Until one day it calls out and without thinking, we answer.

 

See you soon.

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