More musings from my Empty Nest
I wrote this letter to my daughters at a time when I was feeling particularly lost. The youngest girl had left for University and I had a sudden panic that I hadn’t finished my job. I hadn’t told them everything I wanted them to know. I was a failure as a mother: they would fall in love with unsuitable men and drop out of college and be destitute and IT WOULD ALL BE MY FAULT! Of course, I eventually worked out that part of letting go was … well … letting go. I had to trust them. So when they variously fell in love with unsuitable men, dropped out of college and lived on the breadline, it wasn’t my fault at all. After all – they had this letter to refer back to – right?
So, my bright, brave, beautiful girls, has the title of this post got you quaking? Worried what your mother’s going to make public? You might be horrified that the whole world is now exposed to the “mum-isms” that embarrass you so much (such as my off the cuff remark on the radio on Friday about being top heavy with men), but actually most people don’t take me that seriously.
No, this is my way of imparting my priceless pearls of wisdom across the miles, sent with love (and only a little devilment!) You’ll have heard some of it before, but it bears saying again. Some of it will apply to you, some won’t, but I’ve lived a little, so this is hard-won intel here. Pay attention.
So, as you go through life as the strong, independent young women that you are, please remember the following:
- Men always feel better about themselves if they think they know more than you. Sometimes, if you love them, let them think it – it’s good for their mental health.
- You are beautiful. Believe it – you’ll know it’s true in thirty years when you look at old photographs and remember how you hated your nose/chin/thighs, whatever, by which time it’s too late to enjoy being young and gorgeous.
- Life is too short to spend it worrying. Apart from a little light long-term planning, take each day as it comes and roll with the punches.
- Never, ever say “that’s just my luck” when something bad happens, or it will be. Trust me.
- Always take responsibility for your own health. If you eat lard, you’ll get fat, smoke too much, you’ll drop dead, drink too much, you’ll wake up with your knickers on your head.
- Never be afraid to wake up with your knickers on your head. It shows character.
- But try not to wake up with someone else’s underwear about your person.
- The best contraception known to woman is the word “NO!” If you can’t remember that, you’ll never remember to take a daily pill.
- Find something to laugh at EVERY SINGLE DAY.
- When life gets tough, stay cheerful. A long face gets slapped more often than a smiley one. Plus frowning means all your wrinkles will point downwards.
- Nothing lasts forever – bad or good. Accept that and you’ll appreciate what is.
- In the Western world, Life is rarely as hard and complicated as most people perceive it to be. Keep it simple.
- Cultivate “an attitude of gratitude”.
- Remember where you came from, but never look back.
- Except to say hello to your parents every now and then.
- Don’t labour under the illusion that I want you to phone me every day. I have a life. But you are still part of it, so try to fit in a weekly call.
- Always listen to your intuition – better to be safe and look an arse than sorry and fall on yours.
- Believe in yourself – you are without a doubt two of the brightest, most precious souls currently gracing this planet. And I am not biased.
- Stay interested in life. It’s very interesting.
- Always look for the good in people – there are more good people in this world than bad. Most are simply doing their best to get by, just like you.
- Never say “I’m not a feminist, but…” The basic definition of a feminist is a woman who values herself. That’s it.
- Always listen to advice respectfully, but never feel obliged to take it. Not even mine.
- Be frugal with money. Strive to want what you have rather than have what you want.
- Never miss an opportunity to help someone else.
- Remember – how you feel is a matter of choice. Choose to be happy.
That’s all the wisdom of my years distilled into a few hundred words. As you know, I don’t always manage to live this way, but I do try. At the end of the day, in the words of the song, the love you take is equal to the love you make, so make sure you make lots of love. Er… maybe I’d better stop there, girls. Wouldn’t want to embarrass you.
Love Mum xx
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