Deep breath. Let yourself slow down. Take stock of each good thing as you breathe in calm. Friends, family, shelter, kindness, food, peace, puppies, music, down to the tiniest thing. Breathe in knowledge of each piece until you are fortified by mindfulness of the many good things in your life.
Hey, you’re doing great. Take a real look. Look at how much you’ve done. Sincerely look. Look with the same pride you have for your friends and family. It is okay to love yourself as much as you love them.
In a few short weeks, with short funding, I will be leaving my Huntington family and moving to Indy. To a beautiful apartment. With a wonderful kitchen. Hardwood floors. I want to marry this apartment. I want to bake in it every day. I want to curl up in the dining room/office and read or paint. I want to lay in my bed in my own place and enjoy some quality me time.
I start a brand new job only a couple of weeks after that. An associate editor. How important do I sound? It’s the change I’ve been looking for.
It’s a scary place though. The whole idea. I’ve had some wonderful people in my life. Headset, Spyband, the theatre department, Brett and Will. God has offered me something though in the last few months I never thought I’d get to have. 5 of the finest friends anyone could ask for and an army of other beautiful friends who I can hardly believe I must leave. It’s the hardest and probably most important thing I’ve ever had to do. But here comes the kick. Get ready.
701) Never walk away from a good-bye.
702) Some of your favorite days will be marked by the most mundane activities and the most extraordinary people.
703) It’s never too late to let people know how much you appreciate them.
704) Everyone deserves a chance.
705) When you know change is coming spend as much time with your friends as you can.
706) Please don’t fight the need to cry.
707) Even if you must go alone, travel to see your friends.
708) Stay until the very last-minute you can.
709) When it’s the last time, there is no bed time.
710) You’re not going to realize all the things you wanted to do until the end, when there isn’t time.
711) Phones are important.
712) Do not fear being by yourself.
713) Being by yourself does not mean that you are alone.
714) Do not discredit people simply because they are new to you.
715) When things are at an end do not focus on the end. Focus on the what you still have. Enjoy every moment
716) Keep stamps on hand
717) Have the hard conversations
718) Don’t lose sight of what you truly value.
719) A resignation is not letting someone down.
720) when you can stand next to large bodies of water and enjoy the expanse.
721) The joy of truly good friends is the opportunity to feel you do not have to perform or pretend.
722) Do your best to never make the people in your life feel like you are controlling them
723) Do not manipulate humans.
724) Your spare key, especially to your car, is best kept as your responsibility.
725) Turn signals are not to be trusted
726) Some times, strangers are the most generous and helpful people.
727) Some times they’re scary and dangerous.
728) Drive safely.
729) Be careful.
730) When you must say good-bye. Only say it once. Don’t make it harder than it has to be.
731) Some times the things people tell you in your dreams, dream though it may be, are important things for you to hear.
732) You won’t always get to be a part of every little thing. This isn’t a bad thing.
733) The things in others that annoy you the most are often the things you dislike the most about yourself. Fix yourself first.
734) If you forgot bug spray, those bites are your own fault.
735) When it is hot your hair will not look the way you want. It probably won’t be pretty. It’s hot. People understand.
736) Soul mates are a silly idea. Doesn’t mean they don’t exist. It also doesn’t mean yours won’t be the finest friend you’ve ever had and not necessarily a boy.
737) When you can, wake up early.
738) Your burdens do not have to be shouldered alone.
740) Road trips are often best soundtracked with the worst and most popular songs from your younger years.
741) Sofas can always seat more than 4.
742) Keep no one on your hook.
743) Lay outside with your friends and enjoy the sun. Or the rain.
744) Some times naps are essential.
745) Some times they are a bad use of time.
746) Keep Popsicles on hand in the summer
747) There is never too much ice cream
748) Newer isn’t always better.
749) The scariest steps are often the most important ones.
750) Some of the most crowded and friend-filled places will feel the loneliest and saddest. Don’t lose heart.
The other day I was reading through Rules For My Unborn Son by Walker Lamond in which he says incredibly heartfelt and also simple, but genuine pieces of advice many sons should have. And things most fathers would wish for their sons.
While reading it I couldn’t help but wonder if something like that exists for women. Mothers and daughters. I found a tumblr account that at best offered countless clichés and worthless ramblings. And maybe I can’t come up with 1,001 and maybe I’ll never have a daughter or a son for that matter, but there are things that I think all women should consider or at least young girls in living life. Some that I’d like to remember for myself from time to time. Women these days feel so overtly run with feminism and the idea that we must be exactly equal to men. It’s that we are not. And so this is where I shall start. Perhaps they aren’t grand across the board, but these are things I wish for the women in my life I know I’ve had influence over, campers, youth group kids, and others.
001) No man is more important than your God
002) Make up is fun and it can help you feel pretty, but you don’t need it.
003) Classic literature is some times a struggle to get through, but in the end it is worth it. If for no other reason than to become more accomplished.
004) It may seem like every other woman in your life is in a relationship. Don’t rush. They aren’t.
005) Never underestimate the joy and privilege of a meal around a table with family or friends.
006) Parents might seem draining on your life, but they’re doing their best and want to know you as much as they can.
007) At least offer to pay for yourself.
008) Cook whenever you can.
009) Your grandmother is one of the strongest women you’ll ever meet.
010) Respect great women.
011) Every person you interact with is impacted by you and likewise you by them.
012) Marriage is not something to take lightly.
013) Breakfast tea is coffee without the bad breath.
014) You can overdress, but don’t be ashamed when it happens.
015) Aprons are not nerdy. They are practical.
016) Play an instrument. Even if you play it poorly.
017) Your eyebrows are one of your most expressive features. Don’t destroy them.
018) If you choose to be a den mother to a group of male friends, do it for all of them and not for one of them.
019) When you can wear skirts rather than shorts.
020) Never wear flip-flops to a formal occasion.
021) No woman is worth less than a man, but know your limits.
022) You won’t always be happy. Joy is not happiness. Don’t mistake the two.
023) Don’t fall asleep while chewing gum.
024) If a friend cuts hair for a living let her do it, even if she is not great at it.
025) Support your friends in their pursuits.
026) If you don’t like sports you don’t like sports.
027) Fiction is a nice escape and full of lessons. The truth about life is not one of them.
028) You are not a television character. You are your own person.
029) Constantly look at things in a new light.
030) Go to the movies alone.
031) Worship your God fearlessly and unashamedly.
032) Know your passions and pursue them.
033) You are beautiful.
034) A kiss is not a contract, but don’t go about throwing them away either.
035) It may seem that a woman with a strong sense of humor is unattractive. Don’t be afraid of your wit, but don’t be cruel with it.
036) Being a bridesmaid is a great honor.
037) Don’t restrict your singing simply to the shower.
038) Take walks. Alone and not.
039) Even if it feels dorky take your camera, but don’t get lost behind it.
040) If you don’t like something or are opposed to something, have a reason.
041) All girls are mean; don’t make it a habit, and try to rise above it.
042) Cake is a good thing to have on hand.
043) Roofs keep you dry, but they are a good place to sit and talk to your friends.
044) Glitter is tacky. It’s also good for lifting your spirits.
045) Be comfortable in the water, and you will be less uncomfortable in a bathing suit.
046) Set goals. Short and long-term. Don’t be disappointed if you do not achieve them all. They’re goals. Not promises.
047) Be a tomboy. It’s ok, but don’t be ashamed of being a girl.
048) If you can’t drink at your own wedding you are too young to get married.
049) Keep friends. People change and grow though. Don’t be disheartened by drifting apart.
050) Sisterhood seems cheesy, but it is priceless.
051) Live with girls.
052) Your value is not wrapped up in your appearance, so don’t let your thoughts get wrapped up in it.
053) Some times life calls for profanities. Don’t make them part of your every day.
054) Logic is not meant to replace imagination. Both are important.
055) Be as untidy as you please. Don’t be dirty.
056) Believe in something.
057) Create. Even if only for yourself.
058) Love is a choice and an action. Don’t be fooled by emotions. Choose to love every day.
059) Even the person who causes you the most pain is not your enemy.
060) If someone has been kind enough to make you a meal don’t refuse it or be picky about what you eat.
061) Hair grows.
062) Embrace your heritage.
063) Belly buttons are cute, but don’t flash yours about.
064) Listening is a beautiful and refined skill.
065) Value the stories and lives of others.
066) Write letters. Keep a pen pal.
067) I may not like the truth, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to hear it.
068) If I say something you don’t agree with talk to me about it. Don’t accept it face value.
069) Even when I seem busy, I always have time for you.
070) The internet is not a way to build relationships.
071) Self-pity is not the way to attract men.
072) If bras and panties were meant to be seen they wouldn’t be called underwear.
073) You are allowed to play with the boys. Always have girl friends too.
074) Mistakes are challenging and some times embarrassing, but they are beautiful learning experiences.
075) Weddings become more fun with age.
076) Accept help.
077) Loyalty to your friends and family will feel underappreciated. That is because it is invaluable.
078) Even when your friends don’t think it’s cool anymore keep playing with your imagination.
079) In the summer shoes are optional.
080) You have your whole life to work. Do not rush to get a job.
081) Play cards with your friends.
082) If it is important to you it is important to me.
083) When you don’t feel knowledgable about something, ask and research. Don’t be uninformed.
084) Learn to fish.
085) Know how to change your own tire.
086) Do not downplay the value of basic articles of clothing.
087) Spend time in the woods.
088) Washing dishes is a relational activity.
089) You don’t have to go to college, but you must never stop learning.
090) You can dance if you want to.
091) Leggings are not pants.
092) The winter is gloomy. It is silent. Use it to listen to others more closely.
093) Clothes are not costumes.
094) Love is a powerful word. Mean it.
095) When the crowd is rising against someone get them out of there.
096) Shoes are what you walk on. They are not worth more than $20.
097) Find a mentor.
098) Wash your feet every night before bed.
099) The fit of your top is not just the front of it. Look at your back too.
100) A cellphone is not a time piece. Buy a watch.
101) Eyeliner in moderation.
I don’t think on this particular occasion I’m sad to be leaving the country or even just exhausted from crazy sleep patterns. I think it’s been the wonderful time to connect with three of the people I’ve always most wanted to.
I’ve had time to spend with them before. When we were little John, Bea, Chris and David met Adam, Nana, Papa and I in Florida. David and Chris ate Hawaiian pizza. I did not approve. We went to Disney World. They also went on vacation with us once to Holland, MI. We used to play with little…well, the boys used to play with little WWF action figures. (No girls allowed of course). The summer after my senior year Chris, John and Bea came over for a couple of weeks around the fourth of July. I got to spend a little bit of time with Chris then. And the last time they were here, just this last summer, I saw them for about 20 minutes before I had to be out the door.
It’s been a great experience being here with them. I could not be more thankful for all they’ve done for us. I so very much look forward to the next time I get to see them and spend time with them
It’s been educational and hilarious and fun and sad and homey and sweet. I’ve appreciated the silent exchanges I’ve had with Chris across the table and the chances to just sit and talk to him about nothing, nothing much more than a mutual admiration for Simon Pegg anyway. Not to mention he’s been great about pretty much sacrificing his weekend with his friends before most of them go back to school. Bea’s been nothing but sweet and hospitable. I remember a while back she was in the States with her mommy and we did a bit of shopping with Nanny and Big Bea. She’s great fun and I will miss her dearly. John has been so great about taking us all over and showing us all sorts of interesting things that only we would all find interesting. He’s filled us with so much knowledge and done such a great job of watching over us.
I will greatly miss them all until they or I visit again.