I wrote this some time ago when my daughter was too young to speak. Just as a baby with her whole life ahead of her, I thought on what I wanted for her, a Good Life, and what that meant. I recognize there is power in this advice for all of us. For we, too, have the rest of our lives- in a way our WHOLE lives- ahead of us. That is what is impactful- what we choose to do now and for the remainder of our days.
I wish for you a good life. Not THE good life. I used to think that to provide meant giving you a life without wanting. But life without wanting is dull and empty. It is fraught with complacency. It is fraught with stagnation. With decay- of mind and spirit.
THE good life is the easy path. Where all is provided. All is given, not earned. Hunger does not feed drive, because here hunger doesn’t exist. And where hunger does not exist, gluttony shall follow.
THE good life is a path lined with trees. These trees bear fruit- ripe, juicy, bright delicacies. These fruits hang low to the ground and a casual brush will knock them down. Be wary, for these fruits will not provide you strength.
No, that is not what I wish for you. I wish for you to want. To strive for that which you yearn for. I want you to be denied. To be told, “No” and “You can’t.” So you can fight and prove otherwise. Through this adversity you will build resolve and build yourself..
A good life. A good life is one where you don’t have what you want. At least not right off. You need to seek it out and obtain it; that won’t come easily. This path has few trees. Some trees are far off in the distance. You will need to stray from the path to pursue their fruit. Others are right along the path, but their trunks thick and limbs high. Mere attempting at shaking from the ground won’t yield success.
You must climb. You must grind. You must navigate thorns and predators amongst the leaves. Some boughs are brittle, if you hasten you may fall. You will harden, toughen. Sharpen, grow. You will be humbled.
The fruit, when you reach it, is not beautiful. There is nothing attractive about it. It is not large, it does not shine. It is misshapen and not quite ripe. But it is the most welcome sight you could imagine. You have come so far, but the journey is not done. There is time to rest, but it is not now. You must collect your prize and make your descent with regard.
When you reach the ground, the fruit which lacked luster before will be the sweetest sustenance you have ever encountered. It will satisfy you more than you imagined. It will uplift you. It will fuel your soul. And you will reflect and be grateful. You will smile, then continue down the path, looking for your next piece atop your next tree.
A good life has barriers. Barriers to go around, move, or break. A good life has mountains. It has peaks to climb and chasms to recover from. It has boundless opportunity for good and evil alike. For it has Choice. And with Choice, this life fosters dreaming, doing.
A good life. That is my wish for you, my child.