Background: her mom found an amazing card with a picture of a steak and the phrase "well done" under it, and since I'm like the only person in the world who says "steak" in place of "well done" well obviously she had to get it. This is what I asked her to put inside...
Dear beautiful cousin of mine,
On this momentous end to one chapter and the beginning of another in your life I'd like to take a moment to pass along a few thoughts I wish I could tell myself nearly 5 years ago as I graduated high school.
1) no one knows shit. It's true. We go through college, life, work pretending to know what we're doing but really, if you took the moment to ask the CEO of Facebook or hell even Obama if they knew what they wanted to do for the rest of their lives at 18, 22 when graduating college, or even 30 and later, I would bet the farm that none of them expected to end up where they are today (not to say that they didn't work towards a goal, see my fourth point below) and certainly didn't know what the next chapter in life held. So with this in mind, I went through my senior year of college realizing that while as a freshman I had always thought seniors knew it all-- they actually didn't. And the beautiful thing is, that is perfectly OK. In fact, I highly encourage you to change your mind at least twice before deciding what you want to do after college (note: didn't say what you want to do for the rest of your life, as that is best left as a variable constantly shifting, just think immediately after college). Change is good, and you're about to get a whoooooollleeee lot it. Embrace it. The unknown is a beautiful experience and had I learned to trust that it all works in the end, I would have had a lot more fun and less stress the past 5 years.
2) in regards to boys, please have a "tell-all" buddy. Be wise in choosing this person. Pick someone who won't judge you too much that you won't feel comfortable telling them *everything* (and I mean everything) but be sure to pick someone who will tell you when you messed up and set you straight. I'm always happy to be this person, but be sure to pick someone. I didn't, and wasted a bunch of heartache for two years because I over thought things in my head. Once I found my buddy, I have since been able to be more present in relationships knowing that I had this (fairly) objective third party to let me know when I've gone off the deep end/over looked something/made bigger an issue that maybe didn't need to be.
3) read the Marianne Williamson quote "our deepest fear" and internalize it. Starting my freshman year of college I titled my morning alarm as "it is your light..." So that is the first thing I am reminded of each morning. At various points in my life various lines have stood out to me. At first it was the first line, as MIT was very very hard for me and I CONSTANTLY struggled with feelings of inadequacy. Most recently though, the line " your playing small does not serve the world" has been on my mind and sometimes when I start doubting who I am to think I can achieve my dreams, I remind myself of that line. You are meant to be the best you can, it's up to you to decide how far you will go. Which leads me to my next and final point...
4) set goals, create a written (not mental) bucket list, and dream as if everyone aspired to be president or an astronaut. At some point, and I'm not sure when, it became uncool to talk about your dreams. It became childish to dream of something big, like kids do of being president one day or flying into space. I am gravely saddened by this and hope to break this standard. Every time someone asks me what I want to do, I tell them the truth, I don't know what nor why, but I feel called to greatness (for the past few years I've been thinking of getting into politics eventually, even though I hate politicians and politics, it's more of a calling at this point... Again, I don't know and I'm not too concerned at this point). Set both short and long term goals and know they will change and that is BEAUTIFUL. I wrote in my bucket list that I wanted to get into MIT for grad school (both masters and PhD) so when I got rejected my senior year I was really crushed. I was like, wait but I wrote this down, I thought there was some magic in this and everything I would write would come true....ha! Alas that is not the case. Sometimes minor changes happen (got into a WAY better masters program at MIT but only after getting rejected) sometimes really shitty changes happen (my grandpa died and my world shook, he was supposed to officiate my wedding, see me graduate from grad school as the first grandkid to do so, etc...I still tear up as I write this about him, but he has taught me a great many lessons this past ~9.5 months without him and lessons I wouldn't have been able to learn without his passing). So if there's one thing I firmly believe in above anything else in this world, it's that everything will work for a greater good and it's okay to give into the hope you feel about your future (Jer. 29:11was my school email for that reason). A friend's mom used to say, everything will be ok in the end and if it's not ok, it's not the end yet. Don't let the fear of not achieving your goals/dreams prevent you from setting them. Change is relative, so set a starting point and be open to what comes.
Now go, live life out loud and continue to make us proud. Steak, girl. ;) In case you don't know the quote I'm talking about, I've posted it below:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Overly sentimental and your pseudo cousin whether you like it or not!!,