A Love Letter… From Me to…_______

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I was reading through some short stories about love and loss, looking for words of comfort I could share with a family member going through a difficult time, when I stumbled upon this:

“I would like to grow old with you, before I lose you.

You may lose me, first, for I am not all so very young, anymore. But I will take care of myself so that I may build thin bonfires on the cold beach with you: I will climb regularly, I will wear through expensive running shoes, I will bicycle daily, I will yoga reluctantly for it stretches me where I am tight and leaning into resistance makes me lazy. I will eat real food and go to bed at a reasonable hour: I won’t drink bad beer, or take my stress too seriously: I am good at sighing. For I would like to live to see you grow old like a thick vine, still flowering.

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I would like to see you wear that same turquoise dress with white flowers when your hair has turned white.”

Waylon Lewis, excerpt from “Things I Would Like to do with You Before I Lose You.”

While reading this, I pictured a man (indeed the writer is a male) thinking of his beloved in this beautiful way, wanting to do the things that were good and right and healthy so that he could stay by her side and grow old alongside her beauty. Hers was a beauty he knew would remain even when her hair was white. And he wanted to be there to see it. It’s a simple but poignant reflection on the power of love between two people and the motivations for living well that love can ignite.

But then I had a thought: what if I had written that love letter to myself? And so I read it again.  To me, from me.

“I would like to grow old with you, before I lose you.

You may lose me, first, for I am not all so very young, anymore. But I will take care of myself so that I may build thin bonfires on the cold beach with you: I will climb regularly, I will wear through expensive running shoes, I will bicycle daily, I will yoga reluctantly for it stretches me where I am tight and leaning into resistance makes me lazy. I will eat real food and go to bed at a reasonable hour: I won’t drink bad beer, or take my stress too seriously: I am good at sighing. For I would like to live to see you grow old like a thick vine, still flowering.

I would like to see you wear that same turquoise dress with white flowers when your hair has turned white.”

7012071637_6305d72a02_bDo I love myself enough to do what is good and right and healthy so I can grow old in beauty? Don’t I want to live long and well and delight to see myself in a turquoise dress with white hair?  To be that thick vine that is still flowering?

I do. And so today I’ll eat lots of colorful vegetables. And I’ll take my dog for a long walk and laugh when he barks at a forgotten Jack-O-Lantern. I’ll do push-ups. And hold a plank exercise pose for longer than my body seems to want. I’ll finally hang those shelves that are sitting in the closet.  And I’ll meet my friends tonight for trivia and laughter and a good beer. Because today, that’s what loving myself means. And that’s what will feed this vine so it can grow old and thick and full of flowers.

Write a love letter to yourself today. From you, to you, for you and your white-haired, flowering, beautiful self.

Rachel Meyer

Images by flickr users 190.arch and Chickens In The Trees, via Creative Commons.

 

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