Do you ever look at your kids and wonder how their life will turn out or how they are going to be when they are your age now? Every time I do it, I deeply wish they could be as happy as they are now for the rest of their lives. I also wish I could condense all my experiences, discoveries and lessons in life in one “happy recipe book” they could inherit. But then I think what if my recipe for happiness might never fit their own? After all, a happy life can mean so many different things to all of us. Don’t you agree? This reflection inspired me to write a letter about happiness and the choices we make in life for my 5-year-old daughter. I am not sure when it will be the best time to share it with her, but I feel this is the best time for me to write it. I hope it inspires you to reflect on your own “happy recipe” and the expectations you have for your children. Perhaps it will bring you an inspiration to write a letter to your kids about this subject?
You are 5 years old now and sometimes I look at you and deeply wish you could be this happy and fulfilled for the rest of your life. I also fantasize about leaving you a perfect “happy life recipe book” with all I have learned in life so far. Fantasies apart, as I write you this letter, I am still exploring what happiness means to me in this season of my life. One thing I can share about this subject is that lately, I have been “collecting” happy moments from my daily life instead of waiting for big happy things to happen. Just like you now, I find happiness every time I dance, hug loved ones, meet kind people, learn something new, listen to a song that moves me, enter the ocean on a sunny day, watch the stars sharing the sky with the full moon…I am aware that someday these moments might not be part of your happy list and it is okay. Mine is very different from my mother’s too! Normally people’s “recipe for happiness” can be very, very distinct and there is nothing wrong with that. Sometimes, I find myself curious to know how your recipe will look like when you are 39, just like mommy is right now.
I wonder if you will already have experienced motherhood like me and think this is the most amazing thing ever. Maybe my first grandchild will be on the way. Maybe you will be trying to become pregnant or to adopt a baby from China. Would you be considering fostering your first child? Who knows? What about if you find out that motherhood is not for you? Whatever you chose, I will be proud of you for being true to yourself and your most deep wishes.
When you are 39, will you be a stay at home mom just like me or will you choose to have a corporate job or not have a job at all? Maybe you might be changing careers, taking a Yoga training, thinking about becoming an elementary teacher? Perhaps you will be already an accomplished athlete, model, dancer or actress? What about an engineer, investor, a hospital owner. Why not? Perhaps retired? Whatever you chose to do, I wish you find fulfillment. I pray for you to have the privilege of finding a career you love instead of a job that pays the bills.
At the age of 39, perhaps you will be married to a man the same age just like me, but maybe you will be with somebody half your age or double? Maybe you will be interested in women. No matter who you chose to be your partner, I wish you deeply love, admire, inspire and respect each other. I hope your connection never stops growing and that you can always make each other laugh. I hope your communication is off the charts and there is nothing you cannot tell each other. I wish you find happiness in the relationship but never give your partner the responsibility to make you happy. That responsibility will always be yours.
When you are 39, you can also choose to be a proud single woman just like some friends of mine. You might feel confident and beautiful, healthy and in the best shape of your life. Perhaps you will be working on your self-esteem and physical appearance. You might even be trying to fit the societies’ beauty standards by covering your gray hair, losing weight, having plastic surgery or getting Botox shots on your forehead. Wherever you are, I wish can take care of your mind as much as you take care of your body. I wish that every time you look yourself in the mirror you can focus on your attributes instead of your flaws. I hope people you chose to be around always remind you of how beautiful you are inside and out. I pray you always treat yourself with compassion and kindness. I wish you experience unconditional love too, ff not for another human being, at least for yourself.
When you are 39, I hope we are living in the same country, but maybe you will choose to move from the US and go to Europe? Asia? Maybe Brazil or Argentina? I wonder if you will be living in a tiny house or a two-story one in a middle-class neighborhood? Perhaps a mansion with a big pool and jacuzzi? Maybe you will be crossing the US in an RV or living in a monastery in India. It is even possible that you will not even have a place because you are traveling and exploring the world. Whatever you chose, never let society impose how your life should go or be. I will miss you if you are far away, but I believe connection transcends physical distance. We will always be connected by love. And after all, you are here in this world to make yourself happy not me.
It would make me very happy though if when you turn 39, I am still on Earth to celebrate your birthday with you and witness you creating your unique “happy recipe” for that special stage of your life. How special it would be for your mother to watch you fulfill your hopes, dreams, and expectations. If I am not here though, I leave you this letter I wrote when you were 5. If by coincidence you are reading it in a moment you are searching for happiness, I recommend you to look deep inside yourself for that happy little girl who must still live in there. She brought me so much happiness in life. I am sure she can bring some to yours too. Go there and find her.