I wrote this a year ago but wanted to share it again.
I cannot imagine how you must be feeling today. Maybe you are old enough and wise enough to see the momentous significance of this day and maybe not. I am here to tell you this. Today is a huge day. It is a day to live in each moment and take it all in. Pause before you walk through the front door of the next 4 years of your life. Take note of what you’re feeling. You will want to remember. What do you see? How do you feel? What are you thinking? Write it all down so you will never forget. Will your heart beat faster because you are scared or excited or will you be questioning whether you picked the right outfit and whether you should have curled or straightened your hair? Take a deep breath and bask in the moment of the beginning of a new and exciting chapter of your life. This chapter is important. It will shape you and define you and serve as a pathway to the next chapter in life.
Look around at all the faces. You will see them every day and some days I am sure you will wish you didn’t have to see them at all. The truth is, one day you will step out of those doors on the last day of your senior year and those people will no longer be part of your everyday life. I promise you will miss them. Your heart will ache for them and the safety and familiarity of school will always leave a little hole in your heart. There is something very special and bonding about having your high school experience in common. Don’t compare yourself to anyone. Remember there is only one person in the world that is you. You are unique and special just the way you are. Don’t ever try to be like anyone else. Always believe in yourself, and listen to the little compass inside of you. It will always let you know when something is wrong or something is right.
You will learn so many things these next few years and most of it will not be taught from any book. You will learn about life, and love, and success, and how to handle disappointments. You will probably find your first love and have your heart broken beyond repair. Learn that each morning brings a new day. Take comfort in that. Every day you have the chance to be a better version of you. You will make mistakes and you will move on and grow. Be the person you want to be. Bring kindness and forgiveness and a smile to everyone you see. Years from now, when someone hears your name, do you want them to remember you with a scowl on your face or with a great big smile? You will be remembered by the people whose lives you will touch. Someday, someone will look back and remember a kind deed or a kind word that you offered them. Be confident and kind and remember, even though you think you know it all, you really don’t. Use this time to pay attention, to learn and grow. Bottle it up and take it all in. Study hard, be a good friend, and just have fun. You will look back someday despite the drama and the lessons and the tests, broken friendships, broken hearts, mistakes, accomplishments and realize that these next four years will be some of the most memorable in your life. Don’t get caught up in the small stuff. Nothing is the end of the world except one very important detail. Do not do anything that will take away your self respect. What other people think about you is not that important, BUT what YOU think about YOURSELF means everything! Respect yourself and others will respect you too. Do not think you are above anyone but know you are certainly not beneath them. Don’t judge. Find the common in everyone. Remember, at the end of the day, we all have the same feelings and similar experiences. Treat yourself and others with respect. It will help you sleep a whole lot better at night.
Work hard at everything you do. Don’t do anything half way. Push yourself and challenge yourself and don’t ever settle for less than what you are capable of. Every choice you make will affect how others will see you and more importantly how you see yourself. Make wise ones and don’t be in a hurry. These years will go fast and life gets harder and harder with each new responsibility. Take time to find something to be grateful for everyday. Gratitude brings more of what you want and love. Don’t waste time being jealous. There will always be someone prettier, smarter, more popular, more liked. Don’t compete. Practice forgiveness and compassion towards everyone. Carrying anger is like a poison that slowly kills you over time. Teach people how to treat you and be the best version of yourself everyday.
I am so excited to watch you grow these next few years. I can’t help but remember that time in my own life and feel a little envious of how lucky you are to be knocking on the door of this wonderful short time of yours. I am proud of you and I love you and I know these next few years will be special ones! It seems like just yesterday that I held you in my arms for the very first time. It is time to let you fly and fly you will.