M.C. Escher – Relativity (1953)

It was back in 2000 (Y2K) that I composed a collection of thoughts for my daughter (on the occasion of her 10th birthday) that I called “Ten Thoughts (A dimes worth of advice in life)” and sent it to her on her 10th birthday. I knew she was too young to understand it then, but I hoped she would find wisdom in it later in life. Maybe the parchment I printed those words on, and framed for her, sits in a corner closet somewhere – forgotten as a childhood memory of distant days when the world was a very different place. Maybe she will discover it again someday and it will have some meaning in her life. It was not always possible for me to be close to my daughter in personal presence, but I was always there in spirit – letters, postcards, gifts and supporting her activities and endeavors. I visited too, as often as I could and I am grateful for those times together we shared. Here is that advice I offered:


Advice to my daughter at age 10

I think the advice stands up in time for what I offered her at age 10 to serve her well beyond her 20’s and into later life. I wish my Dad (or Mom) had written such wisdom of life from an earlier time in their life to share with me. I think I may not have appreciated it then, but it would be something I value today. Who can say, really, what is meaningful and what is not unless you have the experience for yourself. It is sometimes said that Everything is Relative. This brings up the concept of something called a Strange Loop:

The statement “everything is relative” is an absolute statement. If “everything is relative” is true then some things (at least that statement) aren’t relative. If some things aren’t relative, “everything is relative” is false.

That is a logical philosophy and perceptual ways may stray from this, essentially because you can not always trust impressions or emotions (how you feel) and the final answer is usually logic and reason (how you think). None of this, of course, accounts for the random element inside us all that makes the spark of something unique. But I have digressed a bit here…


Vision of myself (circa – mid 1980’s)

Reflecting on my advice, I look back on myself too and present this drawing I did from when I was about the age my daughter is now. It is a representation of me and my life then. What would I have done with wisdom then? I probably had not lived long enough then to appreciate it then. Yet when I look back now I can see myself in the past and what it took for me to make it to Y2K and to today. Hindsight is 20/20 and the best advice I can give about reflecting on advice is maybe through this song by Elton John (Grey Seal):

I’ve no idea what the song is really about and it’s one of the more enigmatic by Elton John, but I think this song is great! Some interesting lines of relevance here are:

I read books and draw life from the eye.
All my life is drawings from the eye.

Well, I think one can draw life from the eye not just from reading books, but reading people, situations and experience in general too. Anyway, that’s only part of the perspective as a whole, Reflecting on Advice. Today is my daughters 23rd birthday, so I wish her a very Happy Birthday and many happy days ahead in life. Maybe that advice I sent to her, when she was young, she is beginning to learn herself, and perhaps has some meaning in her life today. If I had my choice of gifts to offer her in life, I would always wish for her the gift of wisdom. That is something that can serve one well for a lifetime.  Ultimately I think it is a truism as Aristotle advised:

Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.