I’ve been gone a while. Things have gotten a little crazy now that we’ve added another baby to the mix and there’s rarely time to brush my hair or sleep-much less blog. But I’ve been wanting to write this post for a long time and tonight I’m finally making it happen. Last week I turned 30 and while I don’t claim to know everything-on the contrary I frequently feel I know nothing- I do have some important lessons that I want to be sure that I pass along to my children. Of course I plan on teaching them all of these things over the coming years but sometimes life can throw curve balls or sometimes your kids just think you’re an idiot and don’t want to listen to what you have to say. The latter is more probable but in either case, now I have these in writing for my own reference and theirs.
My dear children, there are so many things that I want to teach you about life, but these are the most important:
1. Find your happy. Happiness is everything. It’s what everyone wants a few truly find. It’s not your spouse or best friend or your new car or house. It’s something that you must choose. You must wake up every day and choose to be happy. Some days will be easier than others and some days you will fail miserably. But always try. Learn to search for the good in things instead of focusing on the bad and you will attract good things and good people to yourself. I promise.
2. Learn to love your imperfections. Don’t try to fit into any standard of beauty or attractiveness that the world sets for you. You will never attain it and that is a good thing. You don’t need a thigh gap or a six pack to be beautiful. Learn to love everything about yourself- most especially those things that make you different and be proud of them. Look in the mirror and LOVE what you see. Just like Dr. Seuss says, “There is no one alive who is Youer than You” and that is pretty amazing when you think about it.
3. Put family first. Family is the most important. Period. You will hate them all at some point (and that’s normal) but don’t ever forget that they’re number one. Make time for them and spend time with them. Don’t ever let anyone talk badly about them. No one knows you like your family, no one loves you like them and no one ever will.
4. Don’t marry the hottie. You know that gorgeous guy or girl that you can’t get off your mind? The one that you want to ask out (or maybe you did and you can’t believe they said yes)? Date them. Have fun with them. Get all you can from them. But DON’T marry them. These “beautiful people” tend to be crippled by their genetic luck and struggle with a constant need for that affirmation of their beauty from others. We all love some eye candy but that’s not who you want to raise a family with. Now, the exception to this rule is if they happen to be amazingly beautiful and unaware of it with a great personality to boot. If so, jump on that immediately because those are one in a million (just ask your father.)
5. It’s not the size of your house, but the value of your relationships. Try not to spend your life focusing on buying bigger and better things like houses and cars. These things are great but without people to share them with, what do they matter? Some of the loneliest people live in the biggest houses. Learn to love people and not things. Spend time playing with your children and laughing with your spouse. Tell your friends and family how important they are to you. Surround yourself with people that make you feel good about yourself and inspire you. Never forget that things are just things but relationships are what makes life worth living.
6. Be crazy. Challenge yourself to do things that you normally wouldn’t. Leave your comfort zone every so often so that you can grow a little. This could be as simple as striking up a conversation with a stranger or skydiving (please wait until I’m dead for this though). Know who you are well enough to know what makes you uncomfortable and try it. You’ll be happy you did and you’ll learn more about yourself.
7. Everything in moderation. You’re going to experiment. I get it. I don’t expect that you won’t have a drink before you turn 21 or sneak out past your curfew. Trying things is normal. But be conscious of your dependence. If you need something to make you happy, then there’s a problem. Addiction is a disease that creeps up quickly and takes so much work to fight. Live your life in balance and keep all things in moderation. There’s a time for work and a time for play and to much or too little of either of those two can cause problems.
8. Don’t let your babies cry. If and when you have babies of your own (and I pray you do), you will enter the wonderful world of parenting where everyone has an opinion. You will have to choose your own way of parenting and no matter what that way is, you will have people who disagree with it. Whatever you choose to do, don’t let your babies cry. Don’t trust anyone who tells you to let them cry. Anyone who tells you that it’s possible to spoil a baby is wrong. Hold your babies every second that you can. There is never ever enough love and there is never enough time with them.
9. Pray. Whatever your religious beliefs may be, know the importance of prayer. Believe in a power higher than yourself and ask him/her for help when you need it. Prayer is powerful and your spirituality is important. Pray even when you think there’s no one listening because I promise someone is.
10. Never Forget : No one will love you like I do. I hope you live over a hundred years and that every single one of those years is full of happiness and love. I hope that you find a wonderful person to share your life with and build a family or whatever it is that your heart desires. But no matter what kind of love you find on your journey, none will surpass the love that I have for you. I knew you before you were born and I introduced you to this world. I know all there is to know about you and a part of me will always be inside of you. I love you more than all the stars in the sky and you will never escape me so don’t even try.