Just over eleven years ago, I gave birth to an amazing baby girl. Her birthday is a gut-check for me as a parent and I’m never sure that I’ve said or done enough. I’ve penned this column, to her and her brother, as though it were my last, to really cut to the chase.
Be yourself: originally you. You are amazing just as you are. You don’t need to be like your friends. You are perfect in your imperfections and it would be a shame if you became a bad imitation of anyone else.
Find your own voice. This is no small task. Sometimes, you have your voice, but are afraid to use it. Sometimes, you aren’t sure what your voice would say. Take the time to think before you do use your voice, words can echo out into the community and have a ripple effect.
Find your own balance. Others may need more or less time to study or work, exercise, dance, laugh, cry, love, sleep, eat, meditate, or think. You need to figure out what works for you. There is no path that you have to follow.
Don’t be afraid to dream big. Set Goals. Pursue them. Achieve them. People who dream big and then set a series of goals to reach those big dreams are the people who make things happen in this world.
Learn basic cooking and sewing skills. Learning to press the buttons on a microwave is not cooking. Learn what food is made of and where it comes from. Learn to cook your and your family’s favourite dishes. Also, make sure you can sew a button onto a shirt and hem a pair of pants.
Make sure your word is worth something. Our word is all we have. It is the currency that we trade upon daily. Be truthful. If you say you will do something, do it. If you can’t meet a commitment, let people know as soon as possible.
Know how to apologize. An apology should show the person that you understand the problem that you’ve caused, and should offer a remedy as well. Never expect an apology (or a gift) in return.
Work Hard. Don’t be one of those people riding others’ coattails.
Be adventurous. Be passionate. Be expressive. If you are not living life, you are simply preparing for death.
Spend your money on things that canâ€™t be taken from you. Spending your money on travel, education, and life experiences may reduce your financial net worth, but will make you one of the richest people alive.
Live a life worth remembering. Stand up for what is right and make yourself heard.
Live a life without regrets. Try new things. Be bold. Take the shot. Ask. You’ll often be surprised that the answer is yes.
Be curious. Don’t be afraid to challenge common practice with common sense.
Create joy for yourself and others where ever and whenever you can. Random acts of kindness do as much for the giver as the receiver.
Love deeply. Start by loving yourself: Others will follow. Love should be bi-directional and unconditional.
Things will go wrong in your life, but take a lesson from the sunflower: it turns to face the sun. You too can focus on the positive and find a silver lining in even the worst moments.
Change is a guarantee. You may as well get used to impermanence and learn to embrace change as a new adventure.
Respect diversity. Different does not equal bad.
Shine. Don’t be afraid to be amazing you — smart, attractive, and talented. (Just don’t boast).
Help others shine. If one candle lights another, it doesn’t get snuffed out in the process. It also doesn’t burn any less bright. You have the ability to light other peoples’ candles every day. Compliment and praise people where it is genuine and deserved.
Give thanks. The happiest people are those who are happy with less. Be thankful for the small things, the big things, everything. Life is empty without gratitude.
Whew. I could go on but my word count is up. Hopefully at least one of these 21 thoughts will resonate with you as well. Perhaps it sparks a thought? What would you add to the list?