Dear baby girl,
You are done with what society has ‘required’ you to do. What’s left is what YOU require yourself to do. That can seem scary and daunting and utterly oblivious to you right now, and that’s precisely the way it should be, I think. I have a few words of advice that might help. For what it’s worth, I hope you pause and consider some life lessons I’ve learned along the way:
First, pay attention. The Universe sends us clues all the time, but only those who pay attention to life really find them. Think of life as a big treasure hunt, and as you move from place to place, from relationship to relationship, and from opportunity to opportunity, pay attention to what’s happening. Look for clues to help move you towards your happiness.
Second, be curious. Don’t let the world pass you by. Ask questions, wonder why things are the way they are. Don’t be afraid to try something new, to talk to strangers, or to cross the street. You are now enrolling in life school, which is so much bigger and challenging and wondrous than any school you’ve ever attended before. Be curious about life, about learning, about people and places and things that happen around you and around the world. Soak it all up and learn wherever you are.
Third, trust yourself. Remember that life has a way of working itself out. Your great grandpa Paul used to always say this, and I’ve relied on these words in times when I didn’t know what to do in life, both big moments and small. What I really think he mean was to trust – trust your journey. Trust yourself. Trust the Universe, or God, or whatever spirit you find guiding you along the way. Trust love, loss, joy, sadness, friends and most of all, yourself. Sometimes that’s the only place to go when something feels really huge. Get quiet and listen to your heart and to your instincts. You have learned right and wrong, what’s good for you and unhealthy, and you know what happiness and love feel like. Most of the time you can figure it out.
And finally, remember there’s no place like home. Your dad and I will forever love you and help you. You will always have a bed to sleep in, food to eat, and loving arms to wrap around you. Unless your life adventures take you out of phone service, we’re always a call away and a plane ride home. We will welcome you, your friends, and your partners. We will listen to your triumphs and your challenges, we will root for you in all things, and most of all, we will love you with a fierceness nothing can tame. We know you are ready, and that college is only the beginning of a glorious adventure for you.
So my dear college-bound daughter, pay attention. Be curious. Remember life has a way of working itself out. And always, always know there’s no place like home.
We love you.