Thursday, April 25, 2013

On Birthdays, and Sage Advice

May 4th is La Petite's 13th birthday. I have asked friends and family to take a moment in the next few days to write down two things: something they wish they had known when they were 13, and a wish for La's 13th year.

This morning, her Uncle Sock (Scott, my brother), sent an email with this letter to her. I am reposting it here in its entirety, whether he likes it or not, because I think it is excellent, loving advice to not only La but also people of all ages. Not sure when he got to be so smart, but I am glad he is my brother.

Dear Sicily –
It has been quite some time since I was 13 but I still have vivid memories of that age and the excitement I felt about becoming a teenager. It was about this age when I started to realize that as I got older, more was expected of me and but this was offset by more opportunities being available to me. One of the benefits of getting older is perspective. Things that were so crushingly important to me a certain stages of my life now seem unimportant if not trivial. Perspective is something that one gains through experience and time and it is something that we continue to gather as we go through life. Hindsight is said to be 20/20, but the truth is that the answers are always there if you know the right questions and have the right person to ask.
While no specific instances particularly stands out, I do recall being very concerned about appearing to know what I was doing or saying. As for that actually being the case, not so much. If you approach new situations with an open and inquisitive mind, you will broaden your world and gain the knowledge of other peoples perspectives. Gaining other perspectives, including those from people which you disagree, will prepare you for just about every life situation you will face.
Here are a few tips that might help you navigate through the next few years:
 Stay even – don’t let the highs get too high, or the lows too low

Make a friend with someone that you have nothing in common with

When you look at pictures of yourself 20 years from now, your haircut and clothes will make you laugh

Trust your mom and never be afraid to talk to her about anything; she has been there and done that and can help

Express your opinion, but in a way that is respectful and cognizant of differing opinions

Have fun – you might be teenager, but your are still a kid. Enjoy the silly kid stuff as long as you can.

Appreciate yourself and be confident

Accept failures, not as defeat, but as an opportunity and challenge to do better

Define your values and stick with them – be flexible enough to change as you gain perspective

You are not going to marry your first, second, third or even fourth boyfriend

Be compassionate

If you want to be trusted, be trustworthy

Set goals

Understand the sacrifices that your Mom makes for you and let her know you appreciate it

Clean up your room and make your bed; trust me, eventually you will feel good about it

Graciously accept your victories

Be tolerant of others

Occasionally, delay gratification

Earn some money and save it for something special

Stay awesome! (just an older version)
I am very proud to be your uncle. I love you. Happy Birthday!
Have a great day!

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