It's been about a year(!) since I wrote an installment of launching notes and I think it's high time for another few. What are launching notes, you ask? Here's what I wrote in that first post:
One day two [now three] years ago, I suddenly realized that Lauren (who's our oldest) would really, truly be leaving home for university at the end of the summer. What had been purely hypothetical for so long was quickly shifting into the actual. Do you know what you do when you think you have just three months left to impart what little wisdom about the world you’ve acquired? You panic a little. You wonder if you’ve done/said/explained enough. And then you realize: no. No, I haven't told her everything yet.
Anyway, back on that day in 2011 I started writing down some of my observations about being a grown-up that I wanted my kids to know. I called it my liner notes because waaaaay back in the day I pored over the liner notes of CDs, curious to find the story behind the music. What I hoped to do with my liner notes (and still do) was to set down the story behind the music of growing up and setting off on your own, to school my kids in the lyrics of life. (I also interchangeably call them launching notes.)
I should add that now I know that there’s not just one launch day, one departure. Leaving for college is a huge milestone moment for everyone involved but there are still many more moments to teach and debrief and parent, especially during all the comings and goings of the revolving door of the college and young adult years. Now that we've been through that cycle several times with Lauren, my proverbial apron strings are getting all stretched out and frayed from all the tying and retying and adjusting. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.
See other liner notes, 1-29, here.
30. Find a place that brings you back to yourself, a geography of you. [I recognize we haven't made this easy on you, with our several moves around the world. For me it became my grandparents' cabin at Wildwood, a comforting, magical geographical constant in my life. In fact, this whole post is inspired by things I learned at Wildwood. My dream is to have a place like that for our family someday, too.
31. Know what's most important to you. Build your life around those things.
32. Speaking of building, build things that last.
33. Worship in lots of ways. At church. With music. In poetry. In meditation. When holding your babies. In nature. As the fireplace at Wildwood says (via Martin Luther), A mighty fortress is our God.
34. Relatedly, be curious and conversant about other religions and points of view. Don't make assumptions but seek to understand and look for the good in each person.
35. There's something pretty magical about conversations around a hearty fire. Learn how to build a fire and stoke a good conversation.
36. Find excuses to make things with your hands. You choose: quilts? stained glass? wood carving? cabins? gardens? Find a passion and get good at it.
37. As Mary Oliver said, " I believe in kindness. Also in mischief. Also in singing, especially when singing is not necessarily prescribed." Sing often.
38. Get outside every day. Fresh air clears your brain and moving around in nature brings perspective and clears the sludge from your bloodstream.
I'm writing occasional launching notes, bits of advice to my kids about how to be a gracious, grown-up type person--both trivial bits and major advice. Do you have any launching notes to add? Keep 'em coming! You can email me through the link in the sidebar.