One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
their bad advice–
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do–
determined to save
the only life you could save.
– Mary Oliver
Dear Younger Self,
I am writing from the future.
I want to thank you for all that you have done, all the places you have been, all the things that you decided to explore while it made no sense to anyone else, all the people you loved the best you could, including yourself.
Even if it meant that you needed to destroy yourself completely during the process, and rebuild the new you, piece by piece. I can assure you that you can do this.
I would be nowhere near where I am now, if you didn’t.
I love you.
Trust your heart, as it is wild and untamed.
Live a life according to your own values, you won’t regret it.
Have faith in the good in humanity.
There is magic everywhere in the world.
There is so much more ahead of you for you to discover.
Keep exploring. Keep dreaming. Keep loving.
I’ll be here waiting for you.
Remember, I love you.
From the future, with Love.
– Ruoxiang Chau, Letter to a younger self.
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
– Mary Oliver