A thoughtful reader send me a link to a wonderful site, Letters of Note—"correspondence deserving of a wider audience." In particular, she pointed out a letter that writer Ray Bradbury wrote to a fan.
The line that caught my eye was: "Love what YOU love!" It's constantly a surprise to me just how challenging this is. Why is it so hard to know ourselves, and to act in accordance with our own interests, temperament, and values? Several of my resolutions, Personal Commandments, and Secrets of Adulthood are meant to help me remember just this: "Just because something is fun for someone else doesn't mean that it's fun for me--and vice versa," and "I can choose what I do, but I can't choose what I like to do," and of course, most important of all, "Be Gretchen."
In my case, for instance, when I allowed myself to admit my passion for children's literature, a gigantic new part of my life opened up -- with new friends, new projects, and more fun. Not to mention when I made the even bigger change, and switched from being a lawyer to being a writer.
I remind myself of this as a parent, too. Did Ray Bradbury's parents think his time was well spent collecting Buck Rogers comic strips? Maybe not -- but in fact, this was excellent preparation for him. When I see my older daughter spending hours taking photos and short videos of herself, I do find myself thinking, "Shouldn't she being doing [fill in the blank]? "Wouldn't this precious free time of childhood be better spent [fill in the blank]?" But I really resist the temptation to tell her to do something else. After all, Elizabeth Craft, my own brilliant sister, once said to me, "I just wish I'd spent more time watching TV as a child." Because she now writes for TV! And even if my daughter's activities aren't preparation for her work as an adult, well, if that's what she enjoys, then that's what she enjoys.
This is my mantra, for myself and for my children: Love what YOU love. (And I do love Ray Bradbury.)
How about you? Have you ever struggled to acknowledge what you love? Lost sight of it for a time?
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