Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Advice for My Niece on Her Sweet 16

Today marks the birthday of my beautiful, smart, talented niece.  It's a big one, too, as she turns sixteen.

I remember that age well.  It was tough, and given changes in our society, it's even more tough for today's kids.  Social media has put them on display and up for criticism 24/7.  Frankly, I have no idea how they get through it.

Based on years of learning the hard way, I'd like to impart some advice to her on her entry to adulthood:

  • We've been blessed in this family with a good gut.  Trust it.  It is going to be right most of the time, and most of the time you'll be very happy you did.
  • Know that you matter to so many people, and not just a little bit.  You matter a ton.  You may not feel that way, but you really, really do.  We care about you, we want to you to be a part of our lives, and we want to be a part of yours.  Please make time for it and we promise to do the same.
  • A sincere "I love you" simply cannot be said enough.  Ditto a sincere "I'm sorry."
  • The biggest choice you'll make in life is who you choose to love.  It matters on SO many levels, and is SO important.  Be choosy.  
  • Bacon rocks.  Leave plenty of room in your life for it.
  • The world is hard.  Damned hard.  There are way too many things that can pop up in which making the wrong choice can end in catastrophe.  This is real life, and there aren't any do-overs.  Be smart, even when all other signs are telling you not to be.
  • Your family loves you more that you can even begin to know.  If you think they don't, know you're wrong.  That goes doubly true for your parents.  Triply true for God.
  • Don't tolerate.  Life is way shorter than it feels like right now, and it is way too short to put up with dysfunction.  Moving on from crappy circumstances (at work, in relationships, etc.) always, always, always leads to better things.
  • If you're not really laughing, you're not really living.
  • Find reasons to go outside.  Walk, run, play sports, fish, ride bikes or horses, anything.  God's creation will fill your soul if you let it.
  • Be a passionate fan of something.  Anything.  It's fun, and you'll always have something fun to share.
  • A good nap is better than money.
  • While the world might be telling you you're an idiot for thinking so, know that God is real.  He truly is.  He also listens.  Talk to Him - a lot.
Happy birthday, Kitty Cat.  I love you more than I can say.

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