I first came across this poem when I was 16. The words ring as true today as they did then.
After a while you learn the subtle difference
Between holding a hand and chaining a soul.
And you learn that love doesn't mean leaning
And company doesn't mean security.
And you begin to learn that kisses aren't contracts
And presents aren't promises.
And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head up and your eyes open
With the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child.
And you learn to build all your roads on today
Because tomorrow's ground is too uncertain for plans
And futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.
After a while you learn....
That even sunshine burns if you get too much
So you plant your garden and decorate your own soul,
Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure....
That you really are strong
And you really do have worth....
And you learn and learn...
With every good-bye you learn
Jorges Luis Borges