Try not to complain about getting old.
Many will not get the same privilege.
Try not to complain about having to see your family at Christmas.
Many will be extremely lonely with little human connection.
Try not to complain about your job.
Many would love to be gainfully employed.
Try not to complain about having to walk somewhere.
Many would love to have two functional legs.
Try not to complain about your children.
Many would love to be, or still be, parents.
Try not to complain about having to cook.
Many would love to live in a home and have food on the table.
In many ways, you are living someone else’s dream.
As the poet Mary Oliver said,
“Do you need a prod?”
“You could live a hundred years, it’s happened.
So let me be urgent as a knife, as Mary so eloquently said.
Instead, know that you are #livingthedream in many ways.
Instead, love the wrinkles on your face. They tell your story. And you lived to tell your tale, unlike other people who were called early.
Instead, remember just one happy memory from your childhood. Cherish that moment and keep that feeling in your heart during the awkward conversations at Christmas.
Instead, enjoy the opportunity to contribute your talents and get paid for them.
Instead, relish in the way your two hips, thighs, knees, ankles, and feet work in amazing unison to take you places. You are independent. How thrilling!
Instead, notice the way your children’s eyes light up when they laugh, or if they are teenagers, go into their room and look at them when they are asleep. (You’ll have to stay up late for this – or do this early in the morning). Marvel at this human that you raised. Yes, you! You fed and clothed and cared for this human and they grew and grew like a mushroom. Then spend a moment sending love and compassion to those with tiny empty beds, and empty hearts.
Instead, prepare your food mindfully, with thanks. Make every meal a conscious one. This can help you to eat well too.
In many ways, you are already living someone else’s dream. Maybe many dreams.
I have known and cared for people with many shattered lives, who would love to be you. I just hope you know that, before it’s too late.