As my daughter turns twenty on this day, I write this letter, in honor of her, as she dives into the twenty-something decade. I write this to remind her of some important aspects of life which I learned along the way. I thought when she reached the age of 18, which they say is ‘official adulthood’, that the upcoming years would be easier to wrap my head around. Very far from the truth for me. I wrote about her the year she graduated high school (click here to read) and in the blink of an eye, she is a junior in college.
Today I celebrate my daughter. The beautiful young woman I birthed twenty years ago today. Today I celebrate her for who she is right now. With no expectations of who she will be in another 20 years. Today I celebrate her and how much she has learned about life since she turned 18 just two years ago. And I am proud to be called her mom.
Remember these twenty things as you enter a whole new decade of twenty-somethings:
- Life is a series of choices, each and every moment. The choices you make today will affect you tomorrow and the day after.
- Let go of expectations. The you of yesterday will not always be the you of today. Change is inevitable. Change is good. Go with that flow of change.
- Let go of the “status quo”. It will tell you what you should be doing instead of listening to your own heart. Social media drives this. Approach with caution.
- Guard your heart. You have experienced your own broken heart moments but have learned and lived through it and grown wiser and stronger through loving and losing.
- Give yourself room to grow. Don’t hold onto too tightly the idea of who you should be. There will be some days you will be confused on who you are, that is okay. Be gentle on yourself. You are still learning. But keep your core values close to your heart and soul and growing up won’t be so scary. Refer to them when you get confused.
- Choose friends wisely. It is better to have one friend than 6 friends who are not authentic or suck the life out of you. You have learned this throughout your first two years of college. Walk away from those who bring you down, talk behind your back, who only care about themselves or are toxic to your authentic self. Friends are ever changing and the friends you have in college most likely will not be the friends you have 5 years from now. People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. When someone walks away or changes remember they probably were only supposed to stay in your life for a reason or a season. One day you will know who your lifetime friends will be.
- Life is a journey. Meet new people, try a new club, immerse yourself in a variety of new groups and situations that look interesting to you, but remember you are the navigator. You can define the route and choose how you’ll get to the next stop by doing the next right thing and staying on course with your core values.
- Love others, but do so while respecting your boundaries. This is probably one of the hardest lessons to learn and something that I think continues until we die.
- Love yourself. We must love ourselves first before we love others. If we don’t love ourselves, then we don’t respect ourselves, and then love doesn’t get beyond the surface.
- Share your gifts and talents. We all have something we are good at. God gave each and everyone of us a unique gift, or talent. It is your duty to find it and use it.
- Have compassion for others. You don’t know what the other person is going through or what struggles they are dealing with in any given moment. Learn to work with others. You will spend a lifetime communicating and working with other people of various personalities. Learn how to channel the different personalities. Don’t let someone else’s crappy mood ruin yours.
- Take care of yourself. Self-care is so important to your well being in this life. You have learned this over the past two years by adjusting your sleep and diet habits. Continue to do so and you will feel so much better going through the rough patches.
- Unplug from social media for a good part of each day. It will suck the life out of you. You have learned this already.
- Choose family. When you have to make some of life’s biggest choices and decisions, they will always steer you down the best path. They love you unconditionally.
- Choose happiness. Do what you need to do to keep small moments of joy in your life each day. Spend time in nature. Go for walks.
- Know that fear is a liar. It will hold you hostage and prevent you from taking the next step in life.
- Be kind. Kindness and compassion will get you further in life than being rude or hateful.
- Stay humble. There is too much narcissism in this world today. Humility is a stronger characteristic than a person who is narcissistic. The world doesn’t revolve around you.
– And remember to love God with all your heart mind and soul. That is one thing I know for sure will get you further in life than anything else.
All my love,