To My Generation


You may have attempted to start a venture of some sort or tried to pursue a dream -- and failed. You may have lost a loved one, an opportunity, or a chance at loving someone you love. You may have lost something valuable to you, or had to give something up because of your family or financial restrictions. You may have been hit by disappointments, negativity, haters, people that don't understand you, or have cheated you. You may have chosen a career path you are not happy with, or have lost your job. These times are not like others, though the cycle does repeat itself. Do not compare yourself to previous generations, because you will only be cheating yourself. I'm here to tell you that it is OK. Join the club. There are legions of others who have suffered, and are still suffering, just like YOU. It's a slow climb because times are changing, so keep climbing and you will eventually get THERE.

You may have control of your life, but you cannot control your environment. You cannot control the economy, trends, family circumstances, accidents, unexpected expenses, and the weather of life. You cannot control other people and their moods, personal situations, and their issues. You cannot control biases or changes in your industry of choice. You cannot even control jealousy and envy in others. However, you can control your own STRENGTH to get back up and START AGAIN. Destiny is manifested only through action. You cannot be the captain of your own destiny, only the sailor, because we cannot control external influences that may alter the stability or direction of our individual ships. Once you understand this basic principle, you won't be so hard on yourself when things don't go your way. If man could write his own fate, he would have designed his journey to be without obstacles. Yet all obstacles come with valuable lessons designed just for you and only you. Suffering is imposed on us time and again so that one day we would become brave wise masters. Empathy and the memories of our experiences lead us to wisdom.

Nobody will ever reach ultimate perfection in this lifetime, but trying to achieve it is a full-time job. Start now and don't stop. Make your book of life a musical. Never abandon obligations, but have fun leaving behind a colorful legacy. Never allow anybody to be the composer of your own destiny. Take control of your life, and never allow limitations implanted by society, tell you how your music is supposed to sound — or how your book is supposed to be written. Keep creating new chapters in your personal book and never stop re-inventing and perfecting yourself. Try new things. Pick up new hobbies and books. Travel and explore other cultures. Never stay in the same city or state for more than five years of your life. There are many heavens on earth waiting for you to discover. Seek out people with beautiful hearts and minds, not those with just beautiful style and bodies. The first kind will forever remain beautiful to you, while the other will grow stale and ugly. Learn a new language at least twice. Change your career at least thrice, and change your location often. Like all creatures in the wild, we were designed to keep moving. When a snake sheds its old skin, it becomes a more refined creature. Never stop refining and re-defining yourself. We are all beautiful instruments of God. He created many notes in music so we would not be stuck playing the same song. Be music always. Keep changing the keys, tones, pitch, and volume of each of the songs you create along your journey and play on. Nobody will ever reach ultimate perfection in this lifetime, but trying to achieve it is a full-time job. Start now and don't stop. Make your book of life a musical. Never abandon obligations, but have fun leaving behind a colorful legacy. Never allow anybody to be the composer of your own destiny. Take control of your life, and never allow limitations implanted by society, tell you how your music is supposed to sound — or how your book is supposed to be written.

Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will. Have faith in yourself and the universe, for one will not get you anywhere without the other. They are the wings that will lift you to your dreams. Our hearts resonate at the same frequency as the earth and the universe. Therefore, we are all valuable instruments in the orchestration of the world and its harmony. We must always be aware of the vibrations we emit individually and collectively. Always be in command of your music. Only you can control and shape its tone. If life throws you a few bad notes or vibrations, don't let them interrupt or alter your song.

I'm now 34. I've succeeded in a lot, but have also failed in tons of projects I've put my whole heart into building. For instance, my latest film project in Egypt collapsed because I got snaked by crooked writers and producers -- including the government. I lost my publisher and agent because I failed to meet their given deadline for publication as I was so engrossed in the development of my film. Then, all of a sudden my world came crashing like dominoes because I put all my eggs into one basket, and neglected everything else -- including my family, friends, and my love life. Yet, like always, I get back up right away to BUILD AGAIN. Do I have any regrets? No. The wisdom I gained was far greater than my personal losses. And also, dominoes can always be positioned back up.

Even though I lose A LOT, I equally gain in measure. I've learned that, those opportunities I pass up on, or pass up on me, including all those doors that have been slammed in my face, are truly blessings in disguise, as they say. It is true. It is only normal that people count losses with their minds, and ignore to count blessings with the graciousness of their hearts. So, stop counting your losses and start counting your blessings. Only then will you discover that losses are always easier to point out and count than blessings. And that your blessings will always outnumber your losses, for they are truly immeasurable.

So what I'm saying is...JUST FLOW WITH IT. Don't take life so seriously. Anything you want to do...JUST DO IT. Don't look right or left to see what others are doing, and constantly compare yourself to their success -- or failures. Every flower blooms at a different pace. And when they say to you to model yourself after those you admire, do it but don't think that the path they took will also work for you. TIMING is an important environmental factor in any venture or pursuit. When I was living in L.A, I killed myself trying to push myself to be like Steven Spielberg. He made JAWS in his early 20s, so when I turned 27 I became so miserable and disappointed in myself that I couldn't follow his lead that I fell into a deep depression for what seemed like forever. Scorcese, Coppola, Lucas -- all made their best pictures in their early 20s. Now it's rare in my generation to find any filmmaker who nailed a successful film in that age range -- unless their last name belonged to any of the above, or knew them. TIMING is as important as the changing TIMES. And the times ARE indeed changing!

If your business failed, try again. You may be sad to find someone JUST NOW starting a business you already tried, and learn that theirs is successful, while you lucked out. TIMING.

You may have been on track towards a dream when you suddenly got hit by family responsibilities or sudden financial constraints that forced you away from your chosen path, but don't worry. Something good is up ahead. Just open your eyes and be alert. Just don't expect immediate rewards to come at you right away. Divine gifts and intervention happen when you are unaware of what is happening. These are actions that happen to you for you to fulfill a purpose, learn a lesson, to reach your destiny. Some don't believe in fate. But I am here to tell you, that even an ant has a fate that was cosmically written. All life on this earth is relevant. We are here to teach and learn from each other. It is part of our evolution. Your losses will teach you how not to lose again, to strike harder, or simplest terms.

Life is about overcoming strains and drains. It's about finding out who you really are and what you can achieve throughout the obstacle course. And in the end, it is about sharing what you have learned with others. So, you can choose to wallow in your many disappointments, or embrace your blessings and live carefree like me. I do what I want to do to be happy - without measuring myself to anything or anyone. I simply don't care anymore. Why should I? If I fall into debt, nobody is going to rescue me like a dream fairy. If I succeed, all the phonies of the earth are going to flock to me like flies to be my friend. LIVE FOR YOU. I'm not telling you to be selfish or "I" oriented. Not at all. I'm saying, JUST BE. Live morally and ethically - but without restrictions, measurements, standards or limitations. FLY any direction you want to fly with no fear of being shot down! If you do go down, wipe the dirt off, grab better wings, and FLY AGAIN.

If your job or relationship suffocates you, don't fear change. If you fear change, you fear life. LIFE IS NOT SUPPOSED TO BE PREDICTABLE. Life is no different than the weather. Not only is it unpredictable, but it shows us a new perspective of the world every day. Transformations cannot always be predicted. All energy transmutes one day or another, in one way or another. Either in its form or composition, or in its position or disposition. Life is about exploring new territories, discovering more about ourselves -- and TRUTH. It's about expanding, moving forward, changing, and smiling as much as crying. Now, take what life is about from the section above and include with it with what is in this section -- and I give you LIFE in its entirety. We are reflections of the universe and the seasons are within us. If you want to paint, start today. There is no set start date or age limit. If you want to be a lawyer or child psychiatrist, I know many successful ones who returned to school at 40 and 50 and did just that. Those that impose limitations on their dreams and desires, are only dying slow deaths. Believe me.

The number of ways you can live in one lifetime is limitless, so never limit yourself. The sky is not the limit. Beyond the universe is! When you are not LIVING because of limitations you put on yourself -- it is YOUR FAULT. When you are not living because of environmental limitations, then simply START again. The pyramids were not built overnight, or correct the first time. It took several attempts. The law of probability states that for every 100 doors you knock on, one or two may open. So keep knocking. Keep trying. Keep on keeping on! The force is with you. Success comes either through luck (timing), or perseverance. Aim for the second, and lightly hope for the first. Either way, neither will work if you choose to do nothing.

Don't live for others and don't live to impress others. Live only for yourself and those that matter most to you. Don't change for ANYBODY. Always stay true to you. You may be forced to care for an elder parent or sick sibling. You may be forced to care for a child or assume the added responsibilities of a neglectful spouse. You may be forced to take on a job just to sustain a living while you pursue your dream! DO IT. Find a way to balance your obligations so you can also roll freely to achieve your own personal success story. Most successful people STRUGGLED until they became successful. Success comes with strides. So if you are forced to start again! START AGAIN. Start again, before you take your last breath. Do whatever you want to do and DO IT. Only then, are you truly LIVING.

You will never be the captain of your own destiny, only a sailor. This is something you have to accept. Use your heart to choose your destiny. Use your mind to develop the plan on how you will pursue the journey there. Not the other way around. NEVER ignore your heart. Again, your soul will never forgive you. Then build! And keep building.

Sometimes we have to soak ourselves in the tears and fears of the past to water our future gardens. Keep planting and spreading the seeds for your gardens of tomorrow.

Even after the stormiest weather, a true warrior will still reflect the brilliant rays of the magnificent sun through both his or her eyes. You may get hit by sudden lighting or take severe beatings from the cruel wind, but you will always get back up and stand strong on your feet again, soak in the sunlight, and be prepared to get hit by even the most merciless hail - time and time again.

By Suzy Kassem