It’s a new month in a relatively new year and I am launching this new initiative on my blog called Things I Want My Daughters to Know Thursdays. I’m not entirely sure why I am starting this weekly endeavor—part of me has been feeling a strong pull to write in a more substantive and personal way, part of me feels powerless as time slips through my fingers, and as I watch you both emerging and transitioning into adulthood there is so, so much I want to say.
I hope you both read these weekly entries as I write them and find wisdom and comfort within my words. I hope you are able to feel the overwhelmingly inexhaustible love I have for you and know it deep within your bones. I hope you are able to accept these stories in the spirit in which they are intended—tales from my journey that may (or may not, in some cases) somehow inspire, uplift, or influence your journeys. I hope to touch your lives, and the lives of all the other humans who may stumble on my little corner of the internet, in positive, tangible ways.
I know you know this already, but you are growing up in a distracted and overwhelmingly disconnected society. There is just so much literal and metaphorical NOISE. Simple, timeless pleasures are frequently usurped by the constant pinging of cell phones, the lure of social media, and the at-your-fingertips access to streaming television shows. Life just seems to keep coming AT all of us, like bugs to a windshield.
The Thing I Want You to Know This Thursday is: Your life will be greatly enriched if you can regularly and unapologetically put your gadgets away and willingly seek out simple pleasures and lost arts.
- Handwrite a note and send it to someone in the mail for no reason at all.
- Lay on your back in the grass and watch the shape-shifting of the clouds.
- Put on your favorite songs, grab a gigantic spoon that you pretend is a microphone, and belt out the lyrics with wild abandon.
- Make your favorite meal or dessert…from scratch.
- Take a long walk…but leave your cell phones at home so you can listen to the world around you and engage with your surroundings.
- Take a nap.
- Play a board game. Or do a puzzle.
- Get still with your thoughts and write in a journal. You will find almost no greater clarity than the clarity that comes from stream-of-consciousness writing.
- Make some art. Get messy. Play. Give yourself permission to put something beautiful out into the world, even if it’s just your world.
- Find a quiet place, free from light pollution, and seek out the constellations in the nighttime sky as you contemplate the vastness of the Universe.
- Do random acts of kindness. Often.
- Dig in the dirt…do some gardening or yardwork. The joy you feel when something you planted thrives is indescribable.
- Go barefoot. Connect to the earth and feel the ground beneath your feet.
- Visit a farmer’s market. Savor the local produce and plants and support people who work incredibly hard.
- Dance in the rain. Jump in some puddles. Raincoat optional.
- Take photos. Not selfies—photos of other people, places, and things. Train your eye to look for the beauty and magic that is all around you every minute of every day.
You bear witness to me sitting in complete silence. You see my solo trips to the ocean. You have witnessed me lying in our hammock and doing nothing else but listening to the sound of the birds. You see the beautiful gardens we plant, the rainbow hues of the flowers, and how overjoyed I get from simply being a spectator to the growth and beauty that blooms in our very own yard year after year. You know about my voracious appetite for a good book or a beautifully crafted magazine. You see me nap. You know that I am buoyed by the art I create. We have talked about how I find value in simple times and simple activities.
Many people would say I am selfish for caring for myself in this way. They would call me indulgent. But, they would be wrong! These things feed my soul. They help me be my best. They are the antidotes for a noisy, rude, belligerent, inconsiderate world. They are as important to me as the air I breathe. May you also unearth the simple pleasures that feed YOUR souls and may you seek them out with wild abandon on a regular basis! And, if ever you want to sit side by side and make art or take a quiet trip to the beach to let Mother Ocean cure what ails you, you know where to find me. I’ll even treat you to an ice cream on the way home.
I love you both! So very much.