You’re almost there! I’m sure you are overwhelmed with excitement and eagerness to move on and out into the world of ambiguity and opportunity. There are a few things I wish I would’ve known when I was fumbling around in your shoes just a few years ago, and if you’re willing to listen, I’m honored to share…
I will not provide you with an exhaustive list of demands or absolutes, as you will come to find (if you haven’t yet already), that life doesn’t operate on a black and white basis; on the contrary, the world will open up to you in varied shades of color.
The decisions you make, my sweet friend, are always yours. Don’t let the environment or the people around you push you one way or another. There are too many people already settled in the systematic boxes of our society, don’t be a proponent of the culture around you. You’re bigger and brighter and far too creative to fit any one mold.
This day, and every day, is your very own picture to paint. Pick up your paint brush. Dust off your canvas. And maybe, just maybe, consider a few words of encouragement from a human who loves you; from a human who has traveled through the muck you’re about to traipse through.
- Take big steps. Don’t follow in the footprints of your predecessors. Forge your own path. Follow your own instincts. Obey and pursue your own crazy, big, over-zealous dreams. They won’t lead you astray.
- Be true to you. My sweet, there will be SO many people who will want you to be one thing or another. You will continue refining who you are and who you are not for the rest of your life. Make sure YOU are doing the refining. It’s your heart, your mind, your body, and indefinitely, your life.
- Ask questions. The truth is, no one really knows. It’s a well kept secret. (Too well kept, I think.) Be curious about the environment and the humans who are influencing you. Don’t take everything at face value. You know more than you think and you have more to learn than you can possibly imagine. Remember that.
- Let go. Of the past. Of stigmas. Of expectations. Of insults. Of assumptions. Of preconceived notions. They’re weighing you down. Most of your life will be a balance between letting go of toxicity and bringing forth the moments and people who bring forth joy. You must do both.
- Look up every now and again. Remember how magnificent it is to simply be a living, breathing, human. You are a walking, talking, miracle. You are a masterpiece. You are a story. You are a symbol of grace. Live into that.
- Forgive. Always, my dear, forgive. By God, people are going to hurt you. People will lie. People will turn away. People will manipulate and deceive. You must teach yourself to refrain from absorbing these pains. Lean into them. Learn from them. Forgive them. The grace you give is in direct proportion to the grace you receive.
- Remember where you came from. Don’t forget your core values. Re-evaluate what you believe in and why. You will be tempted to swing every which way, and you will fall into the moves of others if you aren’t standing on your own, firm foundation.
- Give love away. People are going to leave. They are going to change. Many you will never see again. You are in the midst of a transitory phase. Love those around you. All of them. All the time. Trust me when I tell you, everyone is going through something. You have no idea the power you have to brighten a day, or lighten a load. Love abundantly, you won’t run out, I assure you.
- Read voraciously. I’m not saying this because I love to read. I’m saying this because reading has changed my life and my heart in ways nothing else on this planet has. Step into the realm of someone else. Put on new perspectives. Listen to the beating of someone else’s heart. You will learn more about who you are. It’s a paradox, I know.
- Know you are loved. Remember the tribe of people cheering you on, directly and indirectly. You are loved relentlessly and unconditionally. Forever.
My sweet, sweet almost graduate, whether you decide to start college, finish college, move to Alaska or stay in Spokane, what you do is not nearly as significant as why you are doing it.
I support you now and forever, so long as you promise me one thing: never give up. In any and all respects, show up for your life.
All my Love,