Image Courtesy of KenRockwell.com
Yesterday, my second niece was born.
This is the first child for my youngest brother and sister-in-law, the Bay Area’s newest 20-inch long, 7-pound and 14-ounce resident. I received text messages throughout the day about how things were going, then was happy to finally see my iPhone ring with his picture and phone number on the screen.
A couple hours later, as I headed out to run, I wondered if I could come up with a list to guide her through life.
If you’ve read this blog more than once, you know I’m expressing what I see as truth through the lens of a grown man evaluating 30 years of decisions before moving into the next three decades.
What would I tell her?
1. You are a miracle.
You are the culmination of billions of perfect reactions in a precise sequence. Each one occurred in an exact manner, without fail, step by step. Every single event was extraordinary, not the least of which was your dad turning off Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and putting down the Wiimote.
2. It’s OK to fail.
Even with all your talents and capabilities, there will be times your results fall short of your expectations. You’ll skin your knee. You’ll get a bad grade on a test. Some unfortunate boy–assuming he passes Grandpa Clark’s thorough background check–will have the audacity to break your heart.
You will falter hundreds or even thousands of times before you succeed.
Learn something each time. Ignoring the lesson makes it easier to be hurt again.
3. Trust yourself.
When faced with challenges, you are the person you must rely on. You alone will reap the rewards or suffer the pain of your decisions. In those moments where your confidence wanes and fear grows, take a deep breath and remind yourself how amazing you are.
When your instincts tell you to go one way, pay attention. Unbridled and lasting joy is a good indicator of the quality of your choices. Live in the “irrational” area where buoyant mind and exultant love reign.
A full life comes from your head and heart working together instead of being at war.
4. Anything is possible.
Your great-grandparents wrote letters that reached a destination across town in days.
Your grandparents connected with people on the other side of the country by phone in minutes.
Your parents communicated by sending emails across the planet in seconds.
All his happened simply because someone thought it could, then expended the energy to make it so.
5. Faith means believing before seeing.
Over and over again, you’ll encounter situations contradicting what you hold as truth. Whether it’s something as trivial as the integrity of your favorite pop star or as overwhelming as the existence of a loving God, steadfast alignment of your actions and ideals–until proven false beyond doubt–will leave you satisfied regardless of the outcome.
Finally, my dear, remember this when you wake up: you are alive and loved.
It will be true every day of your life.
“Passionately Believe in the Perfectibility of Man.”
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