Letter to My Daughters

This is something I wrote a while back, but was reminded of it today. It still remains true, but has since taken on a much broader meaning for me. These sentiments are true not just for those that I may leave behind, but for everyone I encounter in the time that I’m here. In this there is some irony, because one of the goals of my life used to be a need to be understood. That need no longer resonates with me. I have since shifted towards the need to understand instead.

I’ve found myself intrigued and disarmed far too often in trying to understand the bizarre behaviour I witness in many I come into contact with. Those that recede when the sincerity of our relationship becomes too raw, or those that overwhelm when the intensity of their confidence crowds their common sense. The antics of human nature will never fully be comprehended, but similar to the pursuit of perfection, just because the ultimate goal is unattainable does not mean the pursuit should be abandoned.

As with every endeavour, the beauty lies not in the destination, but in the journey to get there. Indeed, too many have deemed themselves to be failures when they fell short of their destination, and in the process discarded all the value and beauty they accumulated to that point. I’m quite certain that the sum total of the journey will most often outweigh the reward of the goal. But I digress, so here are the words I was reminded of today.

I pray that you never will understand some of what I’m going through, some of what I feel, or some of what I think…because to understand you would need to experience what I’ve experienced. And I wouldn’t want you to feel the pain and the anguish that I’ve felt that made me feel, see and think the way I do. Although it’s the same pain and anguish that has given me this appreciation for life, for a smile on a stranger’s face, or for the chirping of the birds. My wish is for you to learn from my experiences and the experiences of others because there’s so much more to life than the opportunity to make your own mistakes.

The only way you can cheat time is to learn from the accumulated wisdom of generations past. But if you insist on learning it all yourself, know that you’ll never learn more than anyone who has lived only a single lifetime without any wisdom to draw on. Know that your pain and your anguish will be unnecessary, and know that your life would only ever be half-lived, if even that. So instead I pray that you are able to cheat time, acquire a wisdom beyond what you may inherit, and give your children more than what you had to cheat time with. And if you do this, know that you have achieved more than any human being can be expected to achieve in a single lifetime. This is the only path to immortality that I know.

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