James Rigdon found a letter he’d sent to his niece, and realized what was in it might make sense for other people, too.
This is from a letter I sent to my younger niece this last summer- I found a copy of it as I read through my documents and history, and decided it was worth passing on.
To My Very Dear Niece-
Crap, you’re 17?? I remember the day you were born!
[brief moment of realization that I’m now almost exactly twice the age I was back then]
[another moment for weeping and early-mid-life crisis]
Anyway, I thought, since you’re something of an adult now, and I’ve missed far too much time with you as it is, I’d impart a few tidbits of wisdom. Some are intended for humor, some I stole, some are entirely original- it’s up to you to figure out which is which.
– There is a very specific number of people (including those to whom you are related) who should be allowed to drive your car. That number is two. It is nearly impossible to find more than two people in the world who will drive your car, take care of it, and actually put gas in it before returning it.
– Anyone who starts a conversation with, “Now don’t tell them I told you this…” is not to be trusted.
– Everyone lies, everyone will disappoint you, everyone will fall short of your expectations. Love the ones who tolerate the same shortcomings in you.
– A male will say nearly anything to get what he wants.
– At least once a month, read something new; it sounds so simple, but then life starts getting in the way and before you know it, you’ve not even looked at a book in over a year.
– Never strive to be like someone; strive to be better than them. Even our greatest heroes had their faults.
– Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large numbers; the majority might rule, but they are very rarely completely correct.
– Spend as little time as possible around people who try to tell you how to act, how to think, or what to like; those are not friends, they just want to build a world in honor of themselves. Find the people who want to learn more about you.
– Never miss a chance to see more of the world. Even the lousy parts of it have some redeeming factors.
As you go into adult life, remember a few simple things – life is to be experienced, and many things will attempt to limit your ability to have those experiences. Keep away from those! One of my favorite quotes is from a guy named Sidney J. Harris: “Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable.” You have curiosity for a reason, use it! It can lead you to many new and worthwhile adventures. Do not let other people think for you; you are the best one at being what you need to be, and those who attempt to run the lives of others often do so because they are so bad at running their own.
Finally, every morning, and every time you have doubts about yourself, remember that you are an intelligent, beautiful, magnificent creation with an uncle who loves you more than pizza or even Jones Soda (and that’s saying a lot!).
Photo: Josef Stuefer/Flickr