1. You are a sweet, beautiful, perfect human being. You are the greatest person I know. I want everyone on Earth to meet you just so they know what I’m talking about. You amaze me daily with your strength and intelligence and depth of character. I want you to be amazed by yourself. I want you to let everyone see you the way you let me see you. There will never be anything wrong with laying all your cards out on the table from the get- go. Be vulnerable. It’s the most beautiful thing you could ever do.
2. He may not be the guy for you. The right guy is out there— the guy who will love you for everything you are and everything you are not— he exists. You just haven’t met him yet. One day you’ll find him and everything will make sense. He will be as close to perfect for you as they come. He’ll appreciate you for merely existing. He’ll worship the ground you walk on. You won’t have to do anything other than just be to make him crazy about you. I promise you’ll find him. But trust me, you haven’t met him yet.
3. Always take my opinion into account at least a little. You know that I’m cautious with my words and rarely offer up my point- of- view on situations. I had a friend once who wasn’t the greatest friend, but she taught me one important thing: people are going to do what they want to do no matter what. Nothing I say can change what you do. But realize that if I give you my opinion, it’s because I feel strongly about this particular issue. And I love you. And I want to protect you, even if I so often can’t. I have never and will never judge you. Know that I come to you with any words of advice or recommendation solely out of the pure and unselfish love that I have for you.
4. Your parents do not have all the answers. It’s okay to shut your parents down when they’re giving you a hard time about your grades or changing your major or not giving what they think is full time and attention to your classes. They don’t know. They can’t know. I know. They’re paying for you to go to school, but that is a gift they gave you— not something they are allowed to wield against you. Of course they love you, but I know sometimes they’re hard on you. My parents can be, too. You don’t have to fulfill their wildest career aspirations for you. Their greatest, wildest aspiration for your life, I can assure you, is that you become a transcendently happy and well- adjusted adult. You’re getting there.
5. Your self-worth is of utmost importance. I know fairly often you don’t think you’re beautiful or intelligent or even all that nice. Think about the extent of my love for you— I’d do anything. Think about all the other people who would do the same. You are no average human being. You are quite extraordinary. Learn to see yourself this way. You told me once in the midst of something particularly stressful that you know you’re not easy. Sometimes you’re not. I’m not. No one is easy all the time. But you’re worth it. You are so worth it.
6. Just because the world has treated you poorly doesn’t mean it will continue to do so. I know this semester was hard. Really, this year was hard. You never fully recovered from the events of last year and that’s okay. You need time. You need rest. You need solace. You are a human being. You can’t possibly do it all. But you can do more than you think. One day you’re going to have what you deserve. The world will love you back. I promise.
7. You are always a work in progress. I see myself as someone who kind of tumbles through life at this stage. You do, too. We all do. Eventually we will tumble less and less and our lives will become more and more stable and realized. However, stagnancy is something we should never aspire to reach. You will never be a finished product. You are always changing and growing and learning to look at yourself in different ways. Embrace this. There is a naivety and selfishness that accompanies those who always feel comfortable with exactly who and what and where they are. Let yourself be changed.
8. Be thankful. Homer wrote, “You will never be lovelier than you are now. We will never be here again.” I hear these words over and over again at night while I lay in bed next to you watching TV. Be thankful for the simple things. Be thankful for the moments that we will never get back. Never again will a day repeat itself in exactly the same way. I know our schedules are crazy and the day- to- day grind is hard to appreciate, but we’ll miss this one day. Be thankful for people who care for you and for opportunities that present themselves to you and for responsibilities that mean you are achieving and accomplishing and for precious, quiet moments with those you love. We will never be here again.
9. Let yourself be free. You are inherently a free soul. You are allowed to do with your life exactly as you please and you are allowed to change your mind infinitely many times. Stop worrying. You cannot change the past and you cannot change the future. What’s done is done. What is to come will come regardless. You can make no mistake that is not supposed to be made for one reason or another. Cut yourself some slack. Cut yourself lots of slack. Go do things. Go see things. Go find things to love. The world is less rigid than it seems and only as confined as you think. Rumi wrote, “Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are a hundred ways to kneel and kiss the ground.”
10. I love you to the ends of the Earth. End of story.