Happy Mother’s Day today. To all the different kinds of mothers, to all the caretakers that keep this world humming, those that save us, soothe us, and give us life. Something special today, as a little treat for all you wonderful readers, as we have a very special guest that was so graciously willing to share her art with us all. Jessy Easton, a writer for the brilliant Substack called AFTER/WORDS, photographer, mother, who I have long admired and been lucky to call friend, is going to sub in for me today and has written the most stunning piece, that whilst not specifically aimed at Mothers, just feels like the world’s best advice from one of the world’s best mothers. Passed down to her from her grandmother, a single quote set Jessy’s mind spinning, and the words of wisdom that came feel gentle, graceful, and brilliant.
Motherhood can take on so many different shapes, and the ways they can change us can adopt so many different forms. This piece from Jessy feels like a bit of magic, and who doesn’t need more of that, in their lives? It reminded me of something Lady Gregson, who is and always will be alongside my own Mother and hers, as my shining beacon of how beautiful motherhood can be, talked to me about the other day. She said that she believes Moms need to be encouraged to not just be Moms, but to be human beings able to realize their own dreams, that sometimes, showing your children your strength in chasing your happiness, is the vital key to raising amazing people. This wisdom from her paired so well with Jessy’s guest post, it really got me excited to share it, and to weave that sentiment, to hers. Like Jessy’s grandmother said to her, “Life happens so fast,” it’s up to us to decide which stories we want our own children to tell about us, when we’re gone. After you’re done reading her beautiful post, head over and give her a subscribe, it’s worth it, I swear to you. Without further ado:
Stop Waiting for What’s Next
Hello dear light chaser,
First off, I want to say thank you for allowing me to take up space here on Signal Fire amongst Tyler’s life-changing poetry. Let me introduce myself. My name is Jessy Easton. I grew up in the Mojave Desert in a meth lab on the edge of nowhere and writing saved my life. I write as if I’m writing into a black hole—as if no one will ever read it. Then I post it to my Substack. It’s not always pretty, but it’s always true.
I want to share something with you—a story, but also some things that have helped me not miss a moment of this beautiful, wild life I’ve been given.
“Life happens so fast.”
Those were the words my 88-year old grandma said in her broken French accent. She rested on a faded blue couch in her living room. A stream of gold morning light was coming in through the cracks of the long vertical blinds over the back window. She wore yesterday’s makeup, a pale lavender nightgown that hung loose on her shoulders, and wedged platform sandals instead of slippers. She told me she was a couple of inches taller to take on the day.
“I wish I would have lived my life differently. There is so much I would go back and change,” she said, her voice still full of the morning’s rasp.
It got me thinking if I were in my eighties, what would I tell myself now?
Be present—revel in every moment.
Stop waiting for what’s next. Spend less time thinking and planning, and more time doing and feeling. Stop doubting yourself. Stop second-guessing. Just act. Don’t overthink everything. Take risks.
Commit to imperfect action. Always.
Don’t compare yourself to others. Their life is not your life, and you don’t want it to be. Be true to yourself and your own experience. Be aware of who and what influences you. Don’t conform to ideals that aren’t important to you.
Accept that you cannot do everything. Sacrifice what you can let go of so you can achieve what you truly want.
Don’t be afraid to change, to start over—it’s never too late. You have the power to get rid of what doesn’t fit you anymore, to tear it down, and to build it back up again. You are in charge. You can change your story at any time, it’s your story after all. You decide.
You don’t want to wake up when you’re eighty and have regrets. Hell, you don’t want to wake up tomorrow and have regrets.
Fear is unavoidable but work through it. Embrace the unknown—don’t let fear smother your flame.
Most people don’t know what they’re doing, and that’s okay. Just don’t stop growing. Let the true you, the flawed, the messy, the excitable, the uncomfortable, the inner and outer you spread like wildfire.
Don’t get caught up in the superficial. It’s not worth one second of your time.
Don’t sweat the small stuff, and most of it is small stuff.
Don’t dwell. It will weigh you down and stand in the way of you experiencing the life you deserve. It will stand in your way of making memories that will warm and fill you up from the inside.
Don’t take anything or anyone for granted. Make sure the ones you hold dear know how much they mean to you.
Be kind. Give where and when you can.
Smile, or don’t. All that matters is that it’s true.
Speak your mind. You’re allowed to say no.
Don’t spend time on things that aren’t adding value to your life. Don’t settle. You are not mediocre, so don’t live like you are.
Take time to play. Be thankful. Listen. Make out more. Laugh. Make love more.
Be kind to yourself. Take self-interest—do something for you every day. It’s not selfish, it’s vital—it’s your life.
What is one thing you would tell yourself?
Start there—go and do that one thing.
Thank you Jessy, for this, for you, and for reminding me how lucky I am to know you.
Shaped by the mothers,
and the way they live their lives,
transformed by their grace.