My niece recently turned 18. If you know me or have followed me for a while, you know how much this little, now grown, human means to me. She is like the daughter I never had, but as someone who is childfree by choice, it feels beyond that. Nicole and I had an instant connection which has grown stronger with each passing year. I feel beyond blessed to be her aunt and to have had the joy of watching her grow and turn into a spectacular, beautiful, brilliant, young woman. As she embarks on the next phase in her journey, I know our relationship will change and grow, and I know she will spread her wings in many directions touching the lives of people who will be blessed to know her. Wherever her journey takes her, there is some important aunt-advice I want to share with her, which is sort of like mom’s advice but different. As she gets ready to graduate high school and leave for college, now seems like the perfect time to share this. Maybe those of you who are aunts and childfree by choice will relate to what I’m about to share:
Nicole, my most favorite girl, here are some things for you to remember:
It’s so easy to get caught up in everything happening around you. And, there will be a lot happening as you embark on college and young adulthood. There will be many amazing opportunities, experiences, and choices to make. Through it all, remember to breathe.
99% of your choices are not the be-all end-all of your life, and you can choose again. Yes, there are life-altering decisions and even life-threatening ones; however, those are not the norm. Those are the 1%. The rest of the choices are ones you can make again. So, just keep connecting back to your breath. When you don’t know what to do, when you feel anxious and overwhelmed, or when life seems to be out of control, remember to BREATHE. It will calm your nervous system and connect you back to the spirit of who you are. Just breathe, love…
- Say Yes (and No).
As you make many new choices, don’t be afraid to say YES to the things everyone else is saying no to! If it speaks to your heart and you feel pulled to it, even if it’s scary and new, SAY YES!! And don’t be afraid to say NO – ever. Say no when you KNOW it’s not the right thing for you, even if everyone else is saying yes. Remember what I wrote about choices – most can be made again, so say yes, my love. And say no when you know it’s not right for you. Also please remember that no is a complete sentence.
- Trust Yourself (and God).
When you don’t know whether to say yes or no, trust yourself and your gut. We’ve spoken about this before. You will know what you need to do when you need to do something. You’ll feel it in your gut. You’ll know the right yes or no. Trust that feeling. You know what’s best for you. You have great instincts, and the more you rely on them and listen to them, the sharper they become. And when you feel you can’t trust yourself, trust God. He’s always there with you – always. He will show you the way, if you let Him (usually through your gut – :))
- Make Mistakes.
Back to making choices (seems like a theme) – it’s okay to make mistakes and make some bad choices. It’s how we learn. I know you are a smart, wise, and introspective woman who always wants to do the right things and make the right decisions. But sometimes you have to date the bad boy so you can recognize and appreciate the good one. Sometimes you need to take the job that’s all wrong for you so you can figure out what the right one is. We often figure out what we want by first experiencing what we don’t want. So, don’t be afraid to make a mistake or a bad choice. Remember, 99% of the time you can choose again
- Call your Parents (especially your Mom).
I have no doubt you’ll be in a regular text exchange with your parents when you leave for college. And, I also know they’ll be missing your voice and your face, so remember to call or Facetime them (especially your mom).
- You are Stronger Than You Think.
You are a strong young woman, even when you don’t feel it. There will be many situations where your mind will make you believe you aren’t good enough or can’t accomplish something. Those are just stories. You can do anything you put your mind and heart to; and if you aren’t sure, remember to trust in yourself. And remember to breathe. Gather your strength from within. You have everything you need inside you. EVERYTHING. Tap into it. Breathe. You are stronger than you think.
- I am here for you always, day or night, 24/7. Whatever you need, whenever you need it, for as long as I am alive.
I love you more than anything. Forever. xo