My dearest son—
I was inspired to write you this letter after hearing a year-long, decade-long retrospective of sound bites on the radio of 2010 and the preceding decade. I was struck by the number of events that made up 2010 and marveled at what a full year it was. I was also inspired to write it after noticing your ‘down-in-the-dumps-ness’ last evening.
A new year is a time to reflect on the passing of time. Lots of people feel sad and nostalgic when they look back because of missed opportunities and times, places and people that will never come again. Yes, there are those things, but it’s also a time to look at what a full and wonderful year 2010 was for you. The dawn of 2010 found you in the new and challenging environment of a new school. What a courageous move for you, son--to leave the school system where you’d been for eleven years and start out fresh. It was a GOOD move for you. Suddenly, you had friends to hang out with—you made LOTS of friends and met people you never would have if you hadn’t moved. Suddenly you had activities to be involved with: Theatre and Japanese Club and your HeroClix group!! I only wish we’d moved you sooner. You’ve had a couple girlfriends, you graduated from high school, you got a job. You got a car. You met every major teenage milestone. You started to college.
Now I understand that it may not be the job you want to spend the rest of your life in, but I assure you that you are far better off than most teens. You work in one of the most prestigious places in town and you work for two of the nicest, fairest employers there are. Again, son, it may not be what you had wanted for yourself, but look at the big picture--you didn't give up. You are slowly but surely reaching your goals. Look around you. There are many, many people who started out with very lofty goals, and had have to lower their expectations—or have quit altogether. You, my dear son, have started out low and are moving higher. In May, you’ll have completed your first year of college. Many don’t even make it that far. It’s true. You are on track with your goals and you are moving forward. Keep your eyes on the prize, my son.
And most of all, 2010 was FUN. We did shows: The One-Acts and "May the Farce Be With You". We saw great movies: “Harry Potter” and “Iron Man” and “Toy Story 3” and “How to Train Your Dragon” and “Tangled” and “Scott Pilgrim” and “Tron” and “True Grit”. We went to the Lake and to GenCon and to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. We survived the drama camp and ate out more times that I can count and had great parties, went bowling and played miniature golf, and walked in the woods, and on beaches, threw rocks in a lake, and dug in the sand, went to festivals, and museums, and saw parades, and had fun with LOTS of people. And we probably laughed more in 2010 than in any previous year because of YouTube alone.
My beloved child, I entreat you not to be sad. If you are like me, you will have to fight off bouts of sadness your entire life. Don’t let the darkness win. You are a wonderful person, with lots to offer. You have many people who love you and you love them in return, make no mistake.
The trick to happiness—and I honestly believe this—is to find the joy in the little things. Find reasons to laugh; find comfort in the joy of knowing that you are loved; and pay your blessings forward. These are the secrets to day-to-day happiness.
I love you very much. As your mom, I want so many things for you, but mostly, I want you to be happy. In happiness, you will find success.