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One of the great benefits of being older is that I feel unselfconscious about telling younger people some of the things I have learned already. Like, that opportunity is present.

My nephew, Jackie’s middle son, came to visit us this holiday weekend and spent three days laughing and playing and working next to us at the beach. I got to know him a little better since before this I’d barely had a chance.

I remember clearly what it was like for me to be twenty-seven, as he is now. And it wasn’t that great. I told him about how I decided to see a psychotherapist and talk about some of the things that bothered me constantly. About how that turned into me understanding that I had the opportunity to be in control of my life even though it felt I had no control.

I told him about how I used a professional to help me sort myself out and come to understand my strengths and desires, and the power I have to direct my own life.

I told him that even though he feels rudderless right now, I am able to see his strengths and his nature, and his interests, just after a few days together, and that I feel confident he can locate them too, and act on them, and direct himself where he wants to go, and not continue to feel as if he is incapable of going somewhere good.

I told him I believe in him.