Dear grandchildren, You are not even glimmers in your parents’ eyes yet; however, I’m sure you are there somewhere. I’m an optimist, although I think some of our family members would laugh that I think so.
I’m sure it’s very difficult for your parents right now as we are weeks into the COVID-19 pandemic. I hope your generation won’t ever have to live through one. They are scary and overwhelming – even for the grown ups who sometimes don’t always act so grown up in trying times like these. However, history has a way of repeating itself, so sit up and pay attention and read your history and learn from it! Just be careful of your sources , there is so much disinformation out there, at least right now in this moment in time.
There are a few things I would like you all to keep in mind going forward and share with my eventual great grandchildren and so forth.
- Life is hard and can be unfair at times. You do your best.
- Listen to people when they are talking to you. Listening is a valuable skill and do not think about what you’re going to say next while they are talking – that’s not listening! And it’s rude! That includes “multitasking” while listening to someone, like checking your email or playing a game while someone is talking to you. Don’t be rude.
- If you still have cell phones -turn them off at home and pay attention to your family – cook together, play games. Your parents have me playing Hangman during our quarantine and it’s really fun!
- People can be stupid, even intelligent people.
- Learn how to weld, sew, cook and fix things with your own hands.
- Read for enjoyment and read to learn.
- Be a good friend and treat them the same way you want them to treat you. If they don’t treat you the same way you treat them – they aren’t worth your time.Move on.
- Be polite, use your manners.
- Be kind but be vigilant in life. Unfortunately, not all people are good and have kind hearts. Some people are evil and have bad intentions which brings me to my next point.
- Always trust your gut. Your mind and your heart can send you mixed signals and sometimes lead us in the wrong direction. But your gut is usually spot on.
- Keep a well stocked pantry and freezer at all times. You never know when there may be a storm or in our case pandemic that keeps you inside for long periods of time and can’t get to the store the way you used to. Which brings me to my next point…
- Know how to grow your own food. it doesn’t have to be all of it. But the more you grow on your own the less you’re dependant on the food chain. I learned a long time ago when I was a research analyst how vulnerable our food chain is. I have the highest respect for our nation’s farmers. They are No.1 in my book but if more people grew some of their own food, it would be some much better and safer in my opinion. It’s simple and easy to do. You don’t need a lot of space even. I should know that’s what I decided to do after covering all those agribusiness stocks when I worked as a research analyst. I’ve been teaching people how to start growing their own food for 8 years now with your Great Opa. We have enjoyed working together in all the gardens, teaching people of all ages how to start their gardens and maintain them. Your Great Opa likes to call us Garden Coaches. I hope you are not all living in the city, however I’m sure one or two of you have been enticed by the big city life. If you are you should still grow some of your own greens. You can use a Tower Garden with lights – it takes up no room at all and I’m sure by your generation they will have so many more designs.
Family is so important. which brings me to
13. Cherish your family but know that sometimes you may find yourself in situations where you may have to get tough and even possibly walk away forever from a family member. There’s a fine line and again this is where your heart can lead you astray and why I you need to pay attention to #10.
I grew up in the city. I was born and raised there and my heart breaks for the 517 New Yorkers in the 5 boroughs who have lost their lives so far and their families. Some whole families have been lost to this invisible threat and worldwide today so far 652,079 cases with 30,313 deaths with 121,117 cases here in the United States with 2010 deaths thus far. I won’t continue with all the details but suffice it to say I don’t believe the worst is over yet. Time will tell as it does so well. I assume by your generation you will be dealing with another new viral threat which is also why I thought I should pass along these pearls of wisdom.
I used to think it was Charles Darwin that said “it is not the strongest of the species that survives, It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” As it turns out a business professor named Leon C. Megginson who was interpreting Darwin’s work, “On the Origin of Species”. A perfect example of how the internet can repeated repeat inaccuracies and falsities. Check and recheck. Don’t be part of the problem. Regardless, I believe you should remember the lesson the words teach us. The ones who survive are the ones who are able to adapt.
14. Things change – that’s part of life and it can be a good part of life. But sometimes it can be not so good either. You make do with what you have and I’m not just talking about material goods – like the ones I mentioned earlier in your hopefully well stocked pantry. No, I mean you have to accept that life will constantly put hurdles in your way. Personally, professionally, or in our case globally. Whatever the scale. You must be flexible and adapt to the the new landscape before you. You may have to bob and weave a few times as the initial changes are being made and worked out, but remain flexible. Your life will depend on it.
15. Take care of your health -it’s really the key to having a good life. Stay active but be safe. Don’t take it for granted. You don’t know everything – this is especially important if you are between the ages of 16 to 25, maybe 30 for the boys. You’re bodies are also not invincible and anything you do in your younger years, you most likely will feel in your older years. That is unless medicine has advanced so much as to be able to regenerate our deteriorated and torn apart areas of our bodies.So stay in good health. That includes your mental health which is why I also recommended #18 and 19 also. People have a way of taking things like their health for granted. People unfortunately have a way of also taking other people for granted which isn’t good. That would be #16 – don’t take friends and family for granted.
17. Be your own best friend first that way you can be a good friend to others. Learn how to spend time with yourself , be able to entertain yourself.
18. Keep learning new things no matter your age. Whether it be learning how to paint or speak a new language. Just open your mind and keep learning.
19. Spend time in the woods with the trees and the rocks. They have been around much longer than us and will remain long after we are all gone. Feel them, touch them, smell them. Listen to the wind in the leaves. Meditate out there. Hopefully the mountain house will still be in the family for you to enjoy. If I hope you have a place for from a city that’s heavily populated. Which brings me to my next point.
20. Always have options. It’s best to give yourself has many options to choose from in this life. Sometimes our options are limited but plan properly (#21) and don’t procrastinate (#22).
21. Take care of the land and the environment around you. Our generation has struggled with this – my prayers are by your generation we will have done a better job of figuring things out. Particularly given our collective timeout we are all on. Live sustainably and don’t be wasteful. Compost your food scraps and use them in your garden.
Currently it’s like Mother Nature has put the world on a collective time-out. I used to put your parents on a time-out when they were little and misbehaved. Covid-19 was first prominent in China in December but I read one report that said the first report could have been as early as November 17th. As more and more people get sick, entire countries have had to shut down businesses with orders to Stay At Home. Many people are able to work from home but many are not. It’s a scary time for people.
On the flip side the canals in Venice have cleared in the weeks since they have had to stop the commercial boating traffic that used to congest the Grand Canal on a daily basis. China’s air is cleaner too according to satellite imagery. So as the Earth heals, the humans continue to sicken. The invisible threat weaving its way through societies across the world. Unfortunately many thousands have died and we have no idea when we will turn a corner.
Unfortunately, some people don’t listen as well as others and some people have unknowingly spread the virus. That’s why I repeat #2 Listen and also why I mentioned #4 some people are stupid.
22. Open your heart to a dog (or cat – although I’m not a cat person at all) but to each their own. Having a fur friend to take care of helps you live a better life. A dog is always happy to see you when you come home from a hard day and that can make a world of difference to your mental health. Let animals into your world – dog, cat, rabbit, goat, pig, horse, bird. Pets can teach us so many different things about ourselves and life in general.
23. Always be honest. It’s crucially important for you to be honest. First and foremost always be honest with yourself. It may sound like a ridiculously simple concept but there are so many people who swim in the waters of denial.
24. Have friends and meet new people – all the while keeping a vigilant eye.
25. Open your heart to another and love. Find someone whom you can share your life with – the good and the bad. It’s easier when you have someone to help take the weight when it gets too heavy. Find someone who makes you a better version of who you already are. Someone who compliments you and I don’t mean your ego, but there is that too on occasion.
Well that’s all I have for you right now. Remember the lessons in this letter. Live them. They should serve you well.
All my eternal love, Your Yaya Xine
p.s. No. 26 Travel when you can- but do so safely. We have so much we can all learn from one another and from other cultures. But be aware when we travel that we can spread disease. So my final lesson I leave you with No. 27 practice safe hygiene. It can and will save your life and the lives of others.
This is my entry for Saumya Agrawal’s Let’s Write Letters