TWENTY ONE YEARS OLD! How did that even happen? WHEN did it happen? Seems like just yesterday we were celebrating your high school graduation and I was coming to terms with the fact that you were LEAVING. Now THIS! If it wasn’t for the fact that you were so responsible and mature, I don’t think my heart could handle it. Lucky for me, you are.
I clearly remember sitting at my desk writing my words for your brothers when they turned 21. Of course, it was all about laying low on the drinking (last week’s headaches proved they didn’t listen), cautioning them on the dangers of strip clubs (gross), telling them to trust their gut and run when things seemed “shady”, and reminding them that the great freedom they had just stumbled upon came with enormous amounts of responsibility (not sure any of that sank in). None of that seems appropriate for you, though. On the contrary, my words for you are the complete opposite.
For you, I have the following:
• Let loose every now and then. It is not only acceptable, but encouraged, to have a RESPONSIBLE night out on the town. In this day and age there are no excuses for drinking and driving. CALL AN UBER. I will even pay for it. But promise me you will have a night filled with “vodka and regret” sometime soon. (And take pics, post on snapchat, and facetime me throughout the night as often as you can. I can even join you if you want, just sayin’).
*And for those of you shocked that I am encouraging my daughter to have a night out, mind your business! You clearly do not know me or my kid.*
• Make time for Family – Stay connected to your brothers as much as possible. Yes, they’re annoying but they will become less so as the years go on. Promise.
• Don’t let one person become who you live for- if you do, make sure that one person is YOU. Learn to love yourself as unconditionally as you will love the children you will one day have. There is no feeling quite like it. This I can assure you of.
• Don’t over analyze your thoughts or anyone else’s. No one’s opinion of you matters that much, not even mine. Trust your gut as often as possible but feel free to ignore it every now and then, too. There is no ONE decision that will ruin your life forever. I am living proof of this.
• Find your passion and stick to it. Doesn’t matter what it is. If you love it, it’s ALWAYS the right thing to do. Having lots of money may make paying the bills a lot easier to do but it won’t help getting out of bed each and every day any better. Do what you love, everything else will work itself out.
• You are not defined by your job title, relationship status, or bank account. You are your experiences.
• Gain those experiences by Travel. Go to as many magical places as you can but learn to appreciate coming home just as much.
• Write your feelings down. Any time I feel overwhelmed or confused, I write. Somehow it all makes sense on paper. (A little surpise on this topic is on its way to you now.)
• Be grateful for at least one thing every morning- you’ll be surprised how much this can set you up to have a beautiful day. And then write about that, too.. (see how this is all tying together..)
• Never assume, always ask questions- even the ones that make you feel uncomfortable; those are the ones that will teach you the most.
• Hold on to people that bring you love & joy, and once these people no longer do, know that it’s okay to let them go.
• Never be afraid to come to me with any of your problems and I promise to always listen and never judge- all I ask is that you do the same for others, me included.
• Listen to your mother. I speak from experience. Not because I have followed all of the advice I have given but because I WISH I had.
• And most importantly, even when you can’t understand how or why, believe me when I tell you that life will always go on… and I will always be right there if you need me.
Oh, my love, you have reached those wonderfully selfish years; the ones filled with so much adventure and curiosity. Embrace each and every moment of it. Even the ones that turn out to be mistakes of colossal proportions. I promise you, with every fiber of my being, that I will ALWAYS be right there beside you; cheering you on, picking you up, and reminding you how truly loved you are.
Have an AMAZING day, my baby! Mommy loves you to the moon and back. Always have. Always will.