Shredding the Past

06/22/2015 09:03 am ET | Updated Jun 22, 2016

A few day ago when it was storming outside and I was forced to stay indoors I started going through old photos, letters and emails that I had kept from someone I had loved deeply many years ago.

I thought it was finally time to let things go, not only in my head and heart, which I had managed to deal with, but in total. It's a hard thing to do, but I wanted to leave as little of this part of my life behind for my children to read sometime in the future.

And so on that stormy day I began to purge my files, first rereading all of them. Some of them were quite beautiful and I put those aside. Some of them showed a part of me that was quite needy. How ironic because I had spent years trying to show strength. I had had to be strong to survive. I had never believed myself to be a needy person. And then I met this younger man who saw this weakness and he allowed me to find the real me.

It's awfully hard to shred away some of the most happy and revealing years of my life. I didn't finish the shredding until today. Before I placed any pages in the shredder I reread each one. I disposed of many of these pages, and yet there are some I still cannot rid myself of. Cannot, and do not want to. The following is part of one that I sent to this man when he had had a big disappointment. I think it is filled with more wisdom than I realized I had, and I know he valued my words. I hope that perhaps they can be of use to some of my readers:

"I wish I could promise you and everyone that's hurting, that when your dreams don't come true, you can find new ones and make them your happiness. I feel blessed that I've been able to keep my dreams and just change them around so that I still get enough to not make me angry at the Gods for not giving me all that I so wanted.

I have found that I have to make myself happy and then accept whatever else others have to give me. I've always looked at life as chapters, and some are better than others. So if this chapter sucks, well maybe the next one won't. I'll give you one little example. During my marriage I never dreamed that I would one day find tremendous happiness. Throughout those years it seemed that each day brought another catastrophe. And then a miracle happened, and I had eight really wonderful years. I treasure those years, and although maybe the years that have followed haven't been as stupendous, they have never been as awful as the years preceding them. So don't give up. You are special, please keep remembering that."

I still believe what I wrote back then. No one has a perfect life. But what is a perfect life? Life is only as good as we try to make it. More than anything, a good life is hope and a lack of greed. It's never looking at someone else and thinking you wish you were them, because you have no idea what being them might be like. Try to love yourself.