Every so often I go through phases where I think about you guys a lot.
That came out wrong ... I think about you all the time.
But there are moments - as fleeting as a few seconds staring at you on stage during the umpteenth holiday assembly; as long as a week I don't see you; or during times of my own transition - when I think about your lives on a more profound level. What you'll be. What you'll believe. What you'll do. What you'll know.
I inevitably find myself at a loss for predicting your future lives, because as someone I know likes to say, it's all unknowable.
I also find myself at a loss for giving you advice. I can't pretend to know what you'll need, when you'll need it, or that I'd even have the answer. I know nothing, really (that's actually the greatest thing I know). I find most people who dole out advice are actually trying to work through their own issues.
Instead what I do is collect thoughts here and there, and every so often put them on paper. I've got them in previous blog posts, in an email folder marked "boys" and in my brain. They are nothing more than things I know. Pretty simple.
My only hope is that one day, when you're feeling something that seems out-of-whack with convention or like you're alone in a situation, you might find in these simple words the tiniest amount of peace that what you're experiencing is perfectly normal.
It's perfectly normal to get your heart broken, no matter how lovable you think you are. Just try to remember how it feels when you do it to someone else, and be really kind.
It's perfectly normal to want to punch the drunk idiot behind you in line, to yell at a waiter because your food is cold, to flip someone off in a busy intersection or to not say 'bless you' when someone sneezes. That's fine. Just try to remember that more than 100 billion humans have walked this earth since 50,000 B.C, and that your tiny paths are crossing someone else's at a given moment and place is a massive thing. Be kind and generous. Unless someone f*cks with your money or your family, then you have permission to destroy them by any means necessary.
It's perfectly normal to be good at things you're not supposed to be. As you know, I have the flattest feet you'll ever find, and not particularly long legs. Yet somehow I can run 10 miles pretty quickly without really feeling it. Just try to remember to ignore people who box you in (or out) of something based on their own prejudices.
It's perfectly normal to do things when you're damn well ready. I waited until I was 30 to eat my first olive. I love olives. Do I regret missing out on 30 years of olives? Nope, just wasn't ready until I was ready. Just try to remember that the only timetable you live on is your own.
It's perfectly normal to do crazy sh*t sometimes. To act like a crazy person. Just try to remember there's all sorts of crazy in this world. Don't think for a second each one of us doesn't bring a little bit to the table, and try not to judge others for their version.
It's perfectly normal to want people to feel good about dealing with you in matters of business. And you should always go about things with respect and thoughtfulness. Just try to remember that in negotiations the notion of win-win is a fallacy. Two people can't win the same game. Someone always loses, even if the loss is barely perceptible. Beware of the person who enthusiastically proclaims win-win! And another thing, sometimes it's OK to lose for the sake of being able to sleep well at night.
It's perfectly normal to feel like you've been treated unfairly. You'll feel it a million times, and you'll hear it even more. I generally don't subscribe to the notion of fairness. It promotes score-keeping. It's based on how things are "supposed" to be versus how they really are. I try to look at things more as doing right vs wrong. And in the course of doing the right thing you might make someone feel slighted (or in their words, treated unfairly). Just try to remember not to take the "unfair" bait. Judge yourself on whether you did the right thing (and if you did it kindly).
It's perfectly normal to have quirks no one else understands. They don't make you weird, they only make you who you are. Maddox - you are obsessed with Chapstick and like to change your sweatpants in the middle of the night. Henry - you go about eating in the most peculiar way. These and a million other things make me smile all the time. Just try to remember that it's far more interesting to judge people on their character than their idiosyncrasies.
More when they come to me. Watch this space ...