Beginning Notes: For My Niece on Her Graduation

 

madgrad        Graduation is a ceremony celebrating your academic accomplishment, but it also marks the beginning of adulthood and entrance into a world where second chances and do-overs are rare.  I humbly offer a few notes to you upon this beginning – born of my own observations, mistakes, and experiences – in order that you might have some tools to help along the way.

 

  • Nurture yourself, starting now.  We girls are really great at supporting everyone around us; our friends, family, significant others, the stranger who needed a hand with her groceries.  What we don’t realize is that we must also take care and nurture ourselves – mind, body, and soul.  Neglecting to do so will result in depression, burn out, and unhappiness.   So right now, I hereby give you permission to be selfish to the extent that you claim time to do this.  Maybe it’s a solitary walk, or a night in with just you and your favorite movie, or an afternoon alone in the park, make time for your self.   This note is first and foremost for a reason.  It is imperative.

 

  • In our digital age the pressure to be ‘like’ someone is immense, and burdensome. Be ‘like’ yourself.  This is your life after all.  Concentrate on figuring yourself out, and own your strengths and weaknesses.  Put your experiences and truths into action instead of someone else’s.   It is the only way to live a full life.

 

  • Do these things every day:

Wash your face before you go to bed.

Shave your legs and use lotion.

Do a set of squats before you get in the shower and another when you get out.

Meditate.

 

  • Know that there is a difference between sex and sexuality.   One is about the act, the other about how you express yourself.    Be free.  Embrace your likings and disliking’s, communicate with your partner, enjoy the intimacy, use birth control.

 

  • Choosing someone with whom to share your life is much like choosing the right pair of shoes.   They have to fit just right, and look good with the rest of the outfit as well.   They have to last a while; a girl must be economical above all things

Build a solid foundation of friendship…

Chemistry is everything…

 

  • Take time to be with nature.   Admire a sunset.  Smell a flower.  Watch children play.  Listen to a bird’s song.   These moments will keep you grounded.

 

  • Therapy/counseling is useful sometimes.   Life is messy and rarely turns out the way we imagined – an objective opinion, a neutral voice, and a sympathetic ear help immensely to sort out the chaos.

 

  • You are accountable only to yourself, with the exception of a few loved ones around you.  You owe no one an explanation.   However, this is a heavy burden.  It means acting with reason as much as possible and taking the hits when you haven’t.  Learn from your mistakes and don’t make the same mistake twice.  Know that others make their own mistakes; therefore we should dish out grace as generously as we dish out homemade ice cream on the Fourth of July.

 

  • We live in a competitive world and in a most competitive time, but we must support each other as women.   Be kind to each of your sisters.  Be a good leader by finding ways to cooperate and opportunities to congratulate.

 

  • Setting up a house means more than just buying furniture.  You will also need curtains, towels, silverware, cleaning supplies, mops, and a thousand little other things for which you never knew your mom went shopping.

 

  • Recycle and Repurpose.  Use a credit union instead of a bank.  Hire someone to do your taxes.  Check the oil, water, and tire pressure of your car regularly.  Pay your bills on time.

 

  • Love.   Love yourself first or you’ll have nothing to give.  Love your family next because they are blood and support you no matter what.  Love your friends with reckless abandon, they enrich your life.  Love your work or find a different job, time is short.  Love romantically – give your heart over entirely at least once to someone else – the pain is worth it and you’ll learn things about yourself you’d never learn otherwise.  Love every sunrise, it means you have another day of life.

 

  • Reflect the beauty you see around you, and you will be beautiful.

 

I am excited for you to begin your life.  There’s a fresh paved road ahead of you, you are the very first to make footprints upon it.  But there is no end in sight, there are no helpful markers along the way, and there are people who are watching you to follow your example.  As much as I’d like to be there for every stumble, fall, or broken bone, I cannot. So take these notes with you, they might help from time to time, and remember that you are loved dear girl, there are people that have confidence in you.    Auntie.

 

 

 

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About Frankie Wallace

Frankie earned her BA in History from CSU Chico. She lives in northern California with one husband, two dogs, and three boys. Frankie is an avid cooker, reader, hiker, and napper. View all posts by Frankie Wallace

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