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You are not as privileged as I. I was born on third base – you must hit a triple to join me.

Nevertheless, you are blessed.

You have two parents who care about you. This alone puts you ahead of the game in our troubled world. And thanks to said parents’ foresight and your hard-work you have the opportunity to go to college where you will enjoy time among ideas and learned people who care what you think. Claim that Education.  Use it to figure out who you are and who you want to become. I hope one of the doors that opens to you during your higher education is to a passion which can evolve into a profession.

Life is hard. To live it fully you must work. Hard. Endure the particular brand of hell that each of life’s curveballs throws your way. Learn what you can, then get back to the grindstone, enlightened. Nothing is perfect but you are good; work hard to get better.

And because you are smart and blessed you won’t have to pursue the Sisyphean grind of, for example, raking up leaves only to see them scatter to the wind moments later.  You have the opportunity to dream of a meaningful future.  Dream big. Plan wisely.

We plan. God laughs. We fall. We rise. We rise faster and higher to discover more open doors if we work hard. Hard work simply pays off regardless of circumstance or ability.

You may not evolve into the person you expect or live the life you plan. I didn’t. I am not the perfect mother I hoped to be. Nor do I parent the superhuman children I expected to be mine. That’s life and its randomness may turn to your benefit — if you use your blessings well.

You get what you get. Then you get on with it. Upset can only last for so long – there is a life to nurture even if it comes in a different shade of awesome than ordered.

Improve yourself and help others along the way as you do. Screw up enough to expand your horizons. Forgive yourself when you do – you’ll be less bitter at 40… and 50… take action. Don’t leave yourself  to wonder what might’ve been .

Smile at strangers. You can flip them off later if they turn out to be jerks.

Give at least one thing your best, preferably more than one – gone are the days where one stays with the same company – or even specialty – for the entirety of a professional life. Remain dubious of bosses who promise you forever. Be loyal to those who give you opportunities – as long as such devotion doesn’t conflict with your core values.

Make God laugh. Laugh at and with yourself while you do.

Don’t kill time. There is never enough.  Live it.

Don’t play it safe. Don’t fear failure. All of us stumble, many fall; the most successful amongst us merely get up more often. Perseverance is the secret sauce to life.

Take pride in the singles and doubles you hit regardless of what others say. Such plays may not grab headlines in today’s all-or-nothing world, but base hits move the game forward.

There is joy and beauty everywhere. Be wise enough to look for it. Look left when others are craning their heads to the right. You’ll find beauty, possibly even wisdom, in the crevices ignored by most popular wisdom/fads.

Common sense is painfully uncommon. Value yours. Treasure others who have it.

Our troubled world needs new perspectives – be different, embrace the world from another angle– change how the world views itself…start a revolution that has a shot at saving us from ourselves.

Challenge authority. Be polite when you do. Don’t challenge authority just because – rules, structure and the authority that enforces said scaffolding are among the only things that prevent chaos.

Listen to your Spidy senses, your gut and your mother’s perspective on friends and choices. Talk to your father separately and promise not to share what one parent thinks with the other.

Above all–remember love. Even when undone tasks, miscommunication… frustrations of all sorts — push ‘like’ far, far away, there is love. Among you and yours.  Draw strength from that love. You’ll need it; ‘like’ goes AWOL in every relationship – every one of them; with people, jobs, even wardrobe options — too often. Love freely, love fiercely, accept love – love is the juice that will power you through this game we call life.

 

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