Parenting is one of the biggest responsibilities of life. You need to love your kids as much as you discipline them. You need to allow them to experience the challenges & suffering needed for self-discovery.
I don’t have any children.
And, at this point in my life, I don’t know if I’ll ever have them. As one of my mentors likes to say, maybe I’ll just be a “parent to adults” for the rest of my life.
If I do have children of my own one day (adopted or biological), this is what I’ll want them to know. And if I don’t, this is what I’ll still want other people’s kids (like you) to know.
These are seven of the most important life lessons I’ve accumulated in my three decades on this spinning beach ball of beauty, that I would want to instill in the minds and hearts of my children.
1. You can have whatever you want in life, but you have to pay the price for it.
Whatever you want in your lifetime… the dream career, the world-class relationship, the super fit, and capable body… you can have it all, as long as you put in the work.
Some things will come easier to you than others. Some things will come to other people easier than they come to you. The world isn’t fair in this way. We all have different strengths and abilities. This is to be embraced, not resisted.
But if something matters enough to you, and you know, deep in your heart, that it’s something that you want to have, do, or achieve, you are fully within your right to earn your way towards it.
No matter how silly it might seem. No matter how many people tell you that it isn’t possible. No matter how long it takes you. If it matters to you, then fight for it.
Depending on what you’re chasing after, it might take you longer than you expect. Again, this is to be embraced. If you earned it overnight you wouldn’t value it as much as if you had earned it over an extended period of time.
As cliche as it sounds, sometimes it really is the journey and not the destination that is the part that matters. So don’t forget to slow down, take in a deep breath, and enjoy the scenery while you barrel towards some imagined future reality.
2. If you feel inexplicably shitty someday, start with simple acts of self-honoring.
There will be times in your life where everything is seemingly great.
You have friends you love and trust. You’re healthy. Work is going well. And yet, you will still have days where you feel kind of shitty.
When these days arise, always check-in and make sure that you’re taking care of yourself on a fundamental level. Be kind to your body, heart, and mind.
Drink some water.
Take a nap.
Take a bath or have a shower.
Eat something tasty and healthy.
Go for a walk, in nature, without any technology on you.
Meet up with a friend, look into their eyes, and remember that you are safe in the world and that there are people who love you deeply.
What registers as self-care to you will be slightly different than what it is for others. Discovering what self-care means to you is an ongoing opportunity for growth.
There will be times in your life when the most self-honoring decision you can make is to go out, do drugs, party your face off, spend too many hours in a hot tub listening to loud music, and go to bed when the sun is already out. And there will be other times (probably the majority of times) when it’s best to drink a glass of water, have a bath, and go to bed at 8 pm… even though it’s a Friday night. You’ll learn with time when it makes sense to pick one over the other.
But always come back to the essentials.
Hydrate, rest, nourish, move your body, connect. Repeat.