Hey little buddy:
That’s quite the Halloween costume you’ve got there! It’s from the Power Rangers, right? Wow! You even have the helmet and everything. Yeah, you really are the Red Ranger! Look at you go. Fist bumps all around!
It feels like yesterday that I was in that very same costume, standing exactly where you are right now. But it’s been 25 years. And so many things have happened in the time and space that separates the two of us.
Mighty Morphin’ indeed.
Just like you morphed into the Red Ranger, you will eventually transform into me, too. And I will grow into the future version of us that we’re meant to become.
I have so many hopes for your journey on the way there, though, little guy. There’s so much I want you to know but your budding brain just might not be able to fully comprehend quite yet. But I know you understand Halloween and candy, so I’ll try as best as I can to break it all down for you.
Before we go Trick-or-Treating, I want to talk to you about costumes and masks and capes and treats. Truth is, this holiday has a lot to teach you about life, kiddo. And, while you might not get it all now, I hope that, just like I found this photograph of us, you’ll find this letter—and that it will resonate with the deepest part of you. With the part of you that connects the two of us. Not just with your tummy or your head—but with your very soul.
So, here goes, sweet one. Here are seven things I hope that you—my seven-year-old self—can learn about life from Halloween.
1. Costumes are fun, but they’re not meant to stay on.
Isn’t it fun to dress up and be someone or something else? While we only do it for a night or two at Halloween, some people spend a lifetime in costume. Don’t be one of those people, buddy. Be consistent. Maintain your integrity above all else. Don’t dress yourself up in the hopes that more people will notice or respect or appreciate you.
Don’t let the world tell you who you are. Try to resist the urge to hide behind clothes and money and objects and status. You are worthy and lovable just as you are, without needing to do or achieve or be or look like anything other than your goofy, caring, endearing self. Never forget that.
2. You don’t need to wear a cape to be a superhero.
There are so many brave, kind and powerful people in this world. Please know deep down that you are one of them, even if you may struggle to see it from time to time.
Always trust yourself. You know what you need to do if you just listen to your intuition and focus on the path of the highest possible good.
Don’t look to anyone else to save you. You must realize that you are your own savior. You are the only one who can step up and change your path and your future. You are the only one who can nurture your light.
Once this fully sinks in, please do everything you can to help others save themselves as well—to help them nurture their light within. That’s what a real superhero does. And that’s what you are capable of, too.
3. Be careful with masks. They make it difficult to breathe and easy to overheat.
Allow me to be blunt here: Just like hiding behind a mask, burying and avoiding your emotions will exhaust you to your core. The pressure will build within until you bubble over or simply struggle to exist.
So, ditch the disguise. It’s much easier to breathe when you’re living authentically and with vulnerability. Get calm and then… Let. It. All. Out.
That’s the only way to remove the energetic blocks within and release what’s holding you back.
4. Treats go a lot further than tricks.
Pranks and tricks and tomfoolery are appropriate for Halloween, but I have a secret to share: Treats go a lot further every other day of the year.
People like it when you are kind. People appreciate honesty. People will never turn down a genuine compliment.
So, be nice! Don’t force it or fake it. Just realize that others will always respond well to selflessness and thoughtfulness. And that will get you a lot further in life than foolin’ around.
5. Sugar highs only feel good in the moment.
There are a lot of things to enjoy in life, little one. There’s travel and food and love and intimacy.
But beware: The things that feel good in the moment—the candies of life—are meant to be consumed in moderation. If you only focus on the saccharine and sweet in life, your spirit will become neglected and malnourished. And if all you do is eat salads or focus on what’s healthy for you, your life will be bland and boring. Create a balanced approach to both that works for you.
Your spiritual diet is yours and yours alone to determine. Focus on longevity and add in things that make it more fun and are aligned with your values. That’s how you get the best of both worlds. That’s how you get the most out of your life.
6. Props help with your costume but not much else.
One of the best parts of Halloween? The props! Swords and clubs and staffs. Wigs and eyelashes and makeup. Capes and hats and badges. Truly, this is how you take your costume to the next level.
Similarly, in life, you will want to surround yourself with objects of all kinds that you feel complete you and show the world that you matter. But this is a fruitless pursuit because, while the things you possess can make life easier for you, they do not make you any more whole—they do not make you worthy of love and belonging.
In fact, the opposite is true. You can only truly value yourself once you stop projecting that value onto things outside of you—to the props of your life. That’s how you find fulfillment: By realizing it was within you all along.
7. Only hide from those who wish to harm you.
No matter how kind and generous and supportive and real you are, there will be some people who just don’t like you. I know, I know… it doesn’t make much sense.
If you must hide in life, hide away from those who do not have your best interests at heart. You do not owe them the real you. It is not your job to diminish your light so you do not blind them. Stay true to yourself and stay away from those who want you to be anyone other than who you really are.
May you always go through life with your mask off and your guard down. May you enjoy life’s candy in moderation. May you never indulge your desire to camouflage the real you. May you always find your way back to you in life’s game of hide-and-seek. May you always be seen and known and loved.
With all my heart,
The older you
For even more life advice, check out 16 Life Lessons I Wish I’d Learned Sooner.
What would you tell your younger self in the context of costumes, candy and Halloween? Share your insights in the comments below—or Tweet me at @crackliffe.