You are a few days shy of 7 months, and in full swing of trying new foods and mouthing everything you can get your hands on. You would think these two milestones are quite simple, but let me assure you they are not.
Deciding what foods to give you, how often, how much, what texture – the questions that come up are surprisingly many.
And regarding toys, or giving you other things to play with? Wooden, plastic, silicone, paper, cloth… what if it fell on the ground? In the house or outside? Do we clean it each time – isn’t it better to be exposed to germs? Ha! You would think that someone knew the answers for all this but it is really just a matter of opinion.
Which brings me to the point I want to write to you about today. In life, there will be many times you have to make decisions. And it will not always be clear which one is the “right” decision to make.
What clothes to wear. What instrument to play. What university to go to. What friends to invest your energy into.
The thing is, my darling, is that there are usually pros and cons to everything. By saying yes to something, we are saying no to something else. And by saying no to something, we are saying yes to something else.
I spent a lot of my childhood and adulthood fretting over decisions. Your father, after we first got married, was seriously perplexed about why I would take so long to decide which ice-cream flavour to get. To him, it was easy. He got what he wanted! The instant my eyes fell upon several flavours I was already weighing up which ice-cream I thought was healthier, if it had any artificial colouring, what I imagined I would feel like after I ate it… it was almost as if I just couldn’t let myself simply decide and be happy. I saw the good and the bad in everything… even down to what dessert I ate.
Lately I have been training myself to not fret over the small stuff. When I feel my mind racing, I ask myself how important this decision is, so that I know whether it’s a good idea to spend a lot of mental energy on it or just decide and stop thinking about it. I feel a lot more free and light, and am able to enjoy myself more.
Now, admittedly, this tendency to over-analyse things is part of my personality (when you get a bit older, we will learn more about Myers Briggs, which is a wonderful tool to help you understand your own unique thought process). But everyone, regardless of who they are and what character traits they have, will have to make choices each and every day.
I wish I learned a lot earlier that – more often than not – there is no right answer. There is no “best school.” There is no perfect diet. There is no way to know what would have happened if you made the other choice. So why worry about it?
I hope you can go through your life making the best choices you can at any given time, without worrying or stressing over making the right ones.
We all try and fail. We all learn something new and change what we do next time. The important thing is that we are doing our best. That means making your decision with the facts you have at the moment, or trusting your instincts instead of second-guessing that little voice inside which is usually guiding you to be the best you can be.
I will always love you. I will always be proud of you. I will always believe in you.
You are the only person who can live your life. Trust yourself, and enjoy each day as if it were your last.
To read more in this series of letters, visit the Dear Daughter Archives.