Around 18 years ago, I gave birth to my first daughter.
She will be leaving home to go away to college in about a month and the adage that the “days go by slowly, but the years go by quickly” couldn’t be more true. As she flies away to a future and destiny that is truly only her own, I hope she remembers the following.
- Delay gratification. Sometimes. There are going to be times that you want to go to a party and not study. Or you may face a choice about doing something that may close doors to you in the future. When faced with these situations, pause. Remember what you want long-term and ask yourself if the immediate reward is really worth sacrificing, potentially, what could be. Make the decision your future self will thank you for. You won’t always do this, and when you don’t, get up the next day, dust yourself off, and remember where you are going. You are more likely to get there when you know where that is.
- It is okay if you don’t have everything figured out. I’m 53 and I don’t know have everything figured out. You don’t know what you don’t know and everyone knows something you don’t. Trust that like driving in the dark, you sometimes only have to see what is right in front of you with the light that you have. Trust that directions will come when you need them.
- Everything is a job interview. Someone told me this and I’ve found it to be true. You never know who and what are connected. Your reputation matters. Have integrity, but don’t burn bridges just to burn them. You never know when someone or something will come back around.
- Everyone has imposter syndrome. Face your fears. Fake it till you make it. Don’t be afraid to try things and learn. Remember that even the best batters in baseball only connect with a ball one in three times.
- Don’t compare yourself to others. You aren’t in a race with everyone else. Every person is born not knowing how to walk, but we all learn. The only person you have to worry about is you and becoming the best version of yourself you want to be. There is enough to go around.
- Don’t be the victim. Everyone has and will have bad things happen to them. But what seems bad in the moment is always an opportunity for growth and learning. We all don’t get the same hand of cards, but how we play them is up to us. We are the author of our story. Write a good one.
- Nothing is forever. You are going to have good days and bad days. Remember that when it seems like the sun won’t shine again.
- You can’t f*ck what is meant to be up. See rejection as redirection. If you lose someone or something that you really didn’t want to, it is because it wasn’t yours. Trust that something better than you could ever have imagined is on its way.
- You don’t find time, you make time. We all have the same number of hours in a day. Know what your priorities are. Know what you need to do to take care of yourself mentally and physically. Schedule time to do those things before anything else.
- Don’t be in too much of a rush. Right now will never be again. Enjoy where you are. Enjoy living in a dorm and don’t rush to be in an apartment. Enjoy freshman year before you start worrying about sophomore year. Every stage of life has its positives and negatives. Make sure you soak everything in at every stage, because that stage of life might not be here again and what is now prepares you for what is next. Don’t rush the flow of life.
- I will always be here for you. The ironic part of parenthood is that one has done the job well when the baby bird flies out of the nest. Stretch your wings, my beautiful child. I’m going to be here like the walls of a swimming pool if you get in the deep end and need to ever swim back to me temporarily. But remember, you’ve got this.