I’d like to give a gift to my daughters.
I want to give them 18 little light bulbs to illuminate their journey…
1. Don’t strive to be popular, settle for being yourself, settle into yourself .
Over the years, I’ve learned that the popular people are the most insecure. The popular girl or boy surround him or herself with others to hide from their own insecurities. When you settle for yourself, you will never settle for anyone who is not themselves.
2. Eat your dessert every day.
Every day, have a treat. Not as a reward, but as a privilege. It is an honor to taste, to enjoy, to salivate and dance with sweetness. Don’t deny yourself this privilege. You have a mouth, you have taste buds—use them.
3. Say No at least once a day.
Don’t be a people pleaser. You can’t do everything and you can’t please everyone, so say, No. By saying no, you are respecting yourself and your energy. Trust me, people will respect you more because when you do say yes, you will mean it. No one will ever question your presence or intention.
4. Never feel guilty for moving away from me, for traveling or going on an adventure.
I want you to leave me, to travel far away and only send a post card once in a while. I didn’t birth you to burden you. I birthed you to release you. My love is here whether you are two feet from me, or 20,000 miles away, go be you.
5. Know that you are absolutely right when you think that the calculus class you are taking is boring…and is information you will never use in real life.
You are right, yet understand that the patience you cultivate when sitting through the class, and the discipline you strengthen to solve the problem, will be the foundation that will allow you to persevere through every challenge and experience in life.
6. Please don’t wait until marriage to have sex.
Just wait until you meet someone who makes you smile, makes you laugh, respects you (as your father does), holds your hand and isn’t afraid to cry in front of you.
7. If you go shopping and you like something, don’t buy it right then.
Put it on hold. Go about your day, go to sleep, and the next day if you are still thinking of it, buy it.
8. Choose something to have faith in.
If you have faith, you have hope, and when you have hope you always see a way. When you see a way, you never give up.
9. Listen to the whisper, the churn in your belly and the goosebumps on your arms.
Those sensations are not sensations at all, they are you speaking. Don’t listen to the second voice, that is just doubt, and definitely don’t listen to the third voice, that is just someone else’s opinion. Always and only trust yourself.
10. Cut your hair short at least once, it will free you.
11. Find Your Yoga.
I don’t care if you ever do a down dog in your entire life, just find something that calms your mind, and devote yourself to it. Find something that keeps your mind and body connected, healthy and working together, because in the times when everything else seems disconnected, it will keep you centered and grounded.
12. Acknowledge your gift.
God put you on this Earth with a legacy, you just have to see it. How do you see it? See this life as a journey. Learn as much as you can, read as much as you can, dance as much as you can, speak as much as you can, listen as much as you can, do as much as you can, travel as much as you can because that’s how you will see it. It’s already inside of you, you just need to spark it, so ignite as many flames as you can, and notice which one keeps burning. That goes for your life partner and your friends too.
Say hello to strangers, smile at the person sitting next to you at the coffee shop, or the person behind you at the grocery store. You never know, not only could they be your everlasting flame, but they could help reveal your gift. Your gift is your legacy, the legacy that will help serve the world.
13. Look around you and see the world, as you do now.
Point and rejoice as you see a bird fly by. Stand with your nose pressed to the glass as the rain pours down. Pick up a leaf or a flower and hold it as you would a piece of gold. Put it on your nightstand and cherish it. If you do this, you will take care of our earth and you may even heal it.
14. Always cheer for the underdog…
…because they have courage to stand up to the top dog.
15. Check in with yourself when you leave someone’s presence.
Ask yourself, Do I feel uplifted and happy? Or, do I feel depleted and lethargic? If you feel uplifted, the person you were just with is a supporter, keep them around. If you feel depleted, the person you were with is an enemy to your heart, don’t associate with them and make no apologies.
Your thoughts are precious and important. The best guidance you will get, is from yourself. Write them down and read them.
17. Clean your room.
How you keep your space, is how you keep your mind. When things are neat, clarity will walk with ease.
18. If you only remember one thing, remember this: You are the most important person in the whole world.
You determine your own direction, and if you trust your own compass, you will always remain on your path.
Emma and Ruby,
Thank you for making me a mother.
I love you,
Bonus: Three things I wish I knew when I was 22:
Editor: Brianna Bemel
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