Thursday, May 25, 2017

A Letter to My Stepdaughter on Her Graduation Day

Dear G,

Today you will publicly pass over a hallowed threshold, a rite of passage that signifies the closing of a chapter and the beginning of a new one.  Truth be told, your father and I have often wondered, sometimes aloud, sometimes silently, for reasons that need not be mentioned again, if this day would ever come.  Well, here we are.  This is it.  You made it.  Congratulations!  

There is an old saying that goes something like this - Advice, like youth, is wasted on the young.  

Your dad and I were not always the uncool, middle age adults that we are now. Once upon a time, we were young and arrogant, just like you.  When we graduated high school,  we received a lot of advice.  Some advice we heeded, some we did not.  Some of the advice was completely unnecessary and some of the advice, we admit, we wish we would've listened to.

I fully expect the same from you, because that's just a part of becoming an adult - the arrogance, the leaping, the testing of one's wings, the trial and the error.  I just hope that you listen to some of what I have to say today.  Although there is no scientific basis for any of what I'm about say, through my own experiences, I know these things to be true.

  • Steer clear of drama, especially estrogen-driven drama.   No good ever comes from it.
  • Take care of your teeth.  Dental work is expensive and sometimes painful.
  • Find a hobby.  It's important to have at least thing one thing that you enjoy doing. Not only do hobbies keep your mind occupied but they will help you de-stress.
  • Learn to eat a healthier, more balanced diet  while you're young.  Trust me, it's all fun and games until your metabolism slows down.
  • Get regular pap smears and do regular self breast exams.  Cancer doesn't care how young you might be.
  • Exercise.  There are many healthy benefits of exercise that you may not think are important now but you will later.
  • Get in the habit of saving a portion of every paycheck.  Over time this will add up.  Everyone has to utilize their "Rainy Day Fund" at some point.
  • Appreciate all the compliments you receive.  Chances are that if people take the time to compliment you, they truly mean it.
  • Take responsibility for your actions.  If you make a mistake, own it and learn from it.
  • Aging is inevitable.  Enjoy your youthful glow, smooth skin, and gray-free hair while you can.
  • Learn to be still.  Life isn't always exciting and it's unreasonable to believe that you will be doing something entertaining all the time.  
  • Reduce, reuse, and recycle.
  • Learn to cook at least one signature dish.
  • Some days you will love your job and some days you won't.  
  • Your job doesn't have to be your passion.  It helps, however, if you at least like what you do.
  • It's ok to be single.  In fact, there are many advantages to not being in a relationship.  You have the rest of your life to settle down.
  • Surround yourself with people who lift you up, who inspire you to continue to grow and improve yourself. 
  • People will disappoint you.  Don't carry that disappointment around with you.  Learn to let go. 
  • Steer clear of complainers.  Those people will suck the joy right out of you if you are not careful.
  • If it's too good to be true, then it probably is.
  • Don't take your grandparents for granted.  There will come a day in the not-so-distant future when they will no longer be here.
  • Don't be reckless with credit cards.  Rebuilding credit can be a bitch.
  • Be careful with other people's hearts.
  • Be kind, for you never know what struggles people are silently fighting.
  • If someone bestows their trust in you, do everything in your power to maintain that trust.
  • I know your generation does not remember a time before smart phones and social media.  Everything you see on social media is not real and it is very easy to paint a certain image of oneself and of one's life.  Don't compare your behind the scenes footage to someone else's highlight reel.  
  • You have infinite knowledge at your fingertips and almost anything you want to know is just a Google search away.  Look up from the screen of your smart phone from time to time - look at your friends and family, connect, make eye contact, have real life experiences.  Trust me, there is so much to be gained from putting the phone away.  
  • Life doesn't always work out the way you plan, but that's ok. Sometimes the unexpected things that come your way are the biggest blessings.
  • Be courageous, be honest, and do the right thing.  Your actions, especially when no one is watching, are what define you.
  • Don't waste time.  Travel, see the world, do the things you want to do now because tomorrow is not guaranteed.  Live like you are dying.
  • You are the one responsible for making your dreams a reality.
  • Lastly, when life throws you for a loop, as it often will, keep the faith. Give yourself time to process before you react.  Things are rarely as dire as they initially seem.

G, your father and I wish the very best for you.  Above all else, we wish you a happy, fulfilling, and productive life.  Congratulations on your graduation.



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1 comment:

  1. Excellent advice, and congratulations to your step-daughter!

    I was lucky enough to have 3 of my grandparents until I was into my 30s. Now I'm down to just two grandmas. My children - if I ever actually have any - will probably not be that lucky.


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