I am writing this to you from the year 2014. I am 51. You, however, are 18 and struggling. I know you just finished high school and are going to college to follow your heart’s desire to be a teacher. But, your parents and advisors are pushing you to rethink your decision. DON’T!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And here is why as well as some other advice so you may begin forming a life with no regrets…
- It is your dream and your life. You don’t need anyone’s approval to pursue something you have been craving since you were 8 years old!!!! You know, because you have felt it, but you haven’t trusted your feelings, how awesome a career teaching would be. You know because nightly you dream about it. So, here it is…listen to your heart, not just now, but always. For your heart will never lead you astray. Oh, by the way, and maybe this will help you make up your mind, you will be an awesome teacher!
- When you take the creative writing class, you will have a professor that will offer constructive criticism. Here is the warning-do not take what he says personally!!! He is offering you his opinion to help you become a better writer, another passion you have. If you follow his advice, you will be able to hone your craft. If you ignore his advice, you will stop writing for years and miss it terribly.
- Start speaking up for yourself. Too often, you shut down, holding your feelings inside so as not hurt other’s feelings. That is pure bullshit!!! And not good for your self-esteem or your health. You can still be kind when letting others know how you feel and where you stand. But if you don’t learn to do it now, you will end up being taken advantage of and walked on for years.
- Gain the courage to ask questions, at work, at school, at home. No matter how stupid you may feel the question is. Life is all about learning. Don’t be afraid to soak it all in. Especially if something or someone is unclear. You can only get smarter if you ask, instead of assuming.
- Love yourself ALWAYS and in ALL WAYS. Yes, you are not perfect. No one is my dear. However, if you accept yourself, flaws and all, you will be a much better person able to achieve whatever you want.
- Believe in yourself. When the voice of doubt creeps in, telling you something can’t be done. Defy it!!! This also goes for people, family and otherwise, who voice doubt. It is your life. It is your journey. It is up to you to live it the way you want, without excuses or apologies.
- Learn to not sweat the small or the big stuff. Learn from the past, do not fret over the future and take one day at a time.
- Keep the faith in God and Jesus. Know, this is what will keep you grounded in good times and bad. This is what will help you move through dark times into the light. This is what will surround you with peace and love when you need it the most. This is what will keep you strong.
- Maintain a sense of humor and keep laughing out loud.
- Spread joy wherever you go. Your gift of connecting with others will get stronger as the years go by. And you will eventually realize just how important person to person connection is.
- Have the courage to face your fear head on. There will be times when you need to make decisions that will definitely take you out of your comfort zone. Once again, follow your heart. If it nags you to move, do it. Believe me, the first time will be hard. But after the second and third times, you will develop a ‘bring it on’ attitude which will help you accomplish anything you set your mind to.
- Be grateful for everything, good and bad, that occurs in your life. And, thank God constantly, for there will be a few hiccups along the way, as well as some deep potholes you will encounter. With Him, you will come through in ways you never imagined.
- Stifle your judgment of others. As your mama once said, ‘If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.’
- Love nature, in all forms. Notice the difference in the sunrise and sunset as the seasons change. Breathe in the newly mown lawn or fresh buds springing on trees. Stop to observe rainbows. Take pleasure in each day’s masterpiece, no matter the weather or season.
- When you have kids, and you will but I am not going to spoil the surprise by revealing whether you have girls or boys, fully love them but let them go before they are ready to fly. You cannot live your life through your child’s. And if they don’t struggle or fail they will never hone strength or figure out ways to keep trying instead of giving up.
- Cherish every minute with your grandma and your parents. They will all, eventually, depend on you to help take care of them as they age. Remember not to see your role or them as burdensome but as a gift of preserving memories so when they are gone, from this life, you will hold them forever in your heart.
- Let go and let God. It is impossible to control every aspect of life. So, in order, to keep your sanity, learn how to let go. Believe me, your life will be less worrisome and less stressful. Besides, whether you let go or not, God is going to work His magic, it just may take a bit longer if you insist on being the driver.
- Be true to yourself. Even if that means, at times, you put yourself first. You will feel guilty but after a while, you will realize how much more productive, tolerant and able to handle difficult situations if you take time to recharge.
- Take responsibility for your actions. Apologize when you wrong someone. If you make a mistake, admit it, and move on.
- Embrace being imperfect. Don’t live your life attempting to make everything perfect. You don’t need to impress anyone. And if someone does not like you for who you are, then that is there problem not yours.
- Have fun! Whether you are singing out loud while driving, laughing with your kids, watching funny movies or reading humorous books, live a life full of not only love, but laughter.
- Play. Yes, adults need play, even more so than kids. So, get out and run or swing on some swings or go bowling or putt putt golf or play some strategy games. No matter what it is, your mind, your spirit and your body will appreciate the break.
- Don’t compare yourself or try to imitate someone else. You are who you are…AWESOME!!!
- Learn to love cats. Yes, you will find yourself, one day, adopting a few. Although not all at once!
- Live everyday as if it is your last. Cherish every minute of your glorious life. I know, because I have lived some of it already, it will be a blast!!!
So Annie, here’s to you and your journey.
I love you,
Annie of your future