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Advice to a young friend… and thoughts on turning a milestone birthday

Updated: Dec 12, 2023

Recently, a treasured friend asked me to write a letter to her daughter on her 18th birthday, which falls one day before mine. Writing it was a lovely reminder of how wonderful every phase of life can be- if we Decide.

My Dear One,

One of the surprisingly many good things about reaching a certain age is that you gain perspective.

Each decade brings its own unique challenges and gifts.

Just when you think you’ve begun to figure out one season in life, the next one knocks at the door with a, “Surprise! I’ve got all kinds of magical, terrifying, daunting, and magnificent new things in store for you!”

Age gives us experience.

And, if we pay attention, experience gives us wisdom.

Experience and wisdom allow us to see, or at least envision, the landscape of our human experience from an aerial view, rather than from ground level. We may not be able to see all of the rocks and mountains and valleys ahead along the path. But we’ve been through the thick of it enough times to learn that we need to be prepared to navigate the journey.

We learn to bring a buddy and to pack snacks to fortify us.

We learn to use our inner compass, our north star, to guide us.

We learn to arm ourselves with the proper gear to protect us from the elements.

We learn to carry bug spray to ward off those pesky nuisances. And a first aid kit in case things go awry.

We learn where shelter is.

We learn to train our physical and mental muscle to carry us through all kinds of terrain, and to slow down and take one step at a time through the rocky patches.

We learn to notice and savor the beautiful scenery and all the small graces along the way.

And most important, if we pay attention and do the things we know to do - we learn to trust our instincts, to trust ourselves.

Today, my Lovely One, you are 18.

How is it that we can be at such different places on the timelines of our lives, yet both feel so much promise, so much hope and exhilaration for the possibilities of the future?

I am just as excited (and a little scared!) of this next phase of my life as you probably are about yours. And that’s okay.

If we’re over-the-top excited, and a little scared, we’re doing it right.

Each phase brings such breathtaking gifts, as well as challenges. Embrace all of it. There are gifts in our most difficult times. There is beauty in the rocks. Sometimes it’s difficult to see it in the moment, but look closely. Life is always happening for us.

My advice to you?

Be gentle with yourself. Be kind. Nurture and treat yourself like you are your very own best and most treasured friend in life. Because you are.

The common denominator in every experience you will ever have in your entire life,

is YOU.

Cherish every experience, every evolution of yourself. And don’t be so hard on yourself. Embrace the time you’re in right now. Embrace every time. Pay attention to the lessons each phase of life will offer up.

I am so excited for both of us in this next phase of our journeys.

I can’t wait to see what we do next!

I can’t wait to see who we continue to become!

With so much Love,


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