I'm writing this for my children to read someday. God willing, I'll be lucky enough to have the next forty years on this Earth with them, but for now, I've been thinking about quite a bit - and I'm ready for the new decade to arrive.
What have I learned in forty years? If I believed that I had it all figured out...I would either be naive or delusional...maybe a little of both.
What I DO know though, is that life is what you make of it. There are always going to be good days and bad. Sometimes just when you think you can't take anymore, you'll get hit with something else. That's when your attitude makes the difference...whether it's positive or negative...that will be what counts.
You know that I work as a therapist. I've seen patients with very little wrong, complain endlessly about every single thing. I've also seen people on their death beds - smile with a peace and contentment, knowing that they've lived a good life.
What is a good life? Knowing who you are and what you're made of. Having Faith, doing what you know is right. Being good to others and making sure that you don't put yourself above all else.
Love your brothers and sister. Cherish them as well as your friends. Surround yourself with good people and really know the difference. Sometimes you will come across a "Mean Girl" or a "Bully" but don't let them get you down. Your siblings and your true friends will always want the best for you...as you should want for them. Be good to them and know that they are more valuable than all the world.
If or when you get married, love with all that you have. You may have the best and worst of times together...but stay strong and hold onto each other. Marry someone that you couldn't live a day without and who you miss, even before they're gone.
If you are blessed with children as we have been with you, be present in their lives. Teach them to love through more than just words. Show them by example. They will give you many sleepless nights for several different reasons...but always let them know how much they mean to you. There is nothing else in this world that will compare to the love you have for your child.
Forty years will go by in a flash. You won't believe it, but it's true. Be thankful for each and everyday - and truly appreciate what you have.
Always know that you have made our lives happier than you could ever imagine. For your Dad and for me, you will always be the greatest gifts of all.