• Lara Flanagan

Letter to Archie & Rissie - 14 years old

Updated: Jun 9

Dear Archie and Rissie

I can’t remember when I started writing to you and I make a point of not reading my past letters or posts. My photography, poetry and musings are all a unique time capsule for you to look back at one day. By now, you will probably be muttering to yourself that your Momma sure knows how to repeat herself.

I cannot believe that you are turning 14 and I am so grateful for the life we have lived, and for the life we continue to live. I look forward to many future adventures until I am old, grey, bat shit crazy and driving you both up the wall.

Some life lessons from your Momma on your 14th year:

Life is short.

You are growing up in crazy times and I am sure that the last 4 years has taught you about the unpredictability of life. You have experienced drought, fire, storms and virus. Never forget that life is short. Live in a way that embraces that fact and, depending on how you live, it can also be very sweet.

You can survive.

There will be times when life will challenge you more than you could ever imagine. You will have your heart broken, your dreams crushed and your very life force knocked from you so violently that there will be moments where you forget how to breathe. You have seen your mother fall apart and spectacularly drop her basket. But you have also seen her pick it up and put herself together again even if she never quite covered all the cracks. We are all a little broken, but that is what makes us who we are. Never forget that no matter how dark the night, it always ends with dawn.

Don’t ever link your value to the money that you earn.

We all need money, enough to give us shelter, pay our bills and provide the basics. But after that, there is nothing to prove the money you earn is linked to an increased level of happiness. Quite the opposite. Your value has nothing to do with how much you earn. Do what makes you happy and forget about the dollars. Generally, if you are doing something that makes you happy and allows you to feel like you are adding value to this world, you will be wealthier than you can ever know.

Be brave enough to walk away.

When I say be brave enough to walk away I am not talking about quitting, getting bored or not being able to drudge through the drudgery. It doesn’t matter how much you love something, there will be times when it involves a bit of drudgery, that is a part of life. What I am taking about is being strong enough to walk away from situations that make you miserable. There is nothing noble about hanging in there and making the best of something. If a job is eating at your soul, if someone you supposedly love insists on chipping away at your self-esteem, if a situation scares you, then walk away. Life is too short.

If you are not someone’s cup of tea, don’t try to be their coffee.

If you get in a situation where you realise that you are not someone else’s cup of tea, then don’t try to be their earl grey, their green, their chamomile or their chai. And definitely don’t try to be their coffee. We are all different, which is what makes the world go by and if you are not someone else’s cup of tea, chances are in all honesty, they aren’t yours either.

Be kind.

Kindness is everything and if you can’t be kind, then you really need to wonder what is the point. Don’t forget that the person you need to be kindest too, first of all, is yourself. Before you speak, before you act, ask yourself if it is kind, even if the kindest thing you can do is walk away.

Never stop looking for the beauty in this world.

At the end of the day, in the beginning of the morning, never stop looking for beauty. I am a big believer in the power of attraction. If you look for it, and believe it is out there, you will be surrounded by it. So never stop looking for beauty.

So my darlings on your 14th year, never forget that life is short and that you can survive. Never link your value to what you earn, be brave enough to walk away, don’t try to be someone else’s coffee, be kind and never stop looking for beauty.

I adore you both and am prouder of you than words can say.

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