By Angel Kane
One year ago this week, our oldest graduated from high school. A few months later we dropped her off at her college dorm and I cried all the way home. I wrote about the experience in one of my articles and soon after, while walking at the park, one of our readers, who I didn’t know, shouted out to me “She will be ok. More than ok. I promise it gets easier.”
She was right. Our oldest, now home for the summer, did just fine. And you know what? We survived too.
Right before I left her dorm that first time, I took a Telling Tales column I had written for her and taped it to her wall. In honor of all our local graduates who are about to venture out into this big world, we are reprinting the article again.
We are so proud of all of you! Remember to work hard & dream big and the rest will take care of itself.
A feeling of both melancholy and excitement has prevailed in the Kane household for the last year. Senior year has been upon us.
Each month, each memory, each minute has been cherished like no other, knowing that our job (at least for now) is done. Hoping we taught her all the right lessons, while wishing we had often set a better example.
There has been so much I’ve wanted to say to her, teach her, show her this last year, all the while understanding that the real lessons in life will come from figuring it out on her own.
And yet, if she were to indulge me, I’d write it all down for her, place a copy in her suitcase and hope that when she came to that fork in the road, she’d pull out my map of lessons learned and they’d help guide her home.
- SAY YES! This is your time, say yes to it. Say yes, to staying up all night, eating fattening foods and laughing with friends until tears stream down your face. Say yes, to unknown places, unknown people, unknown ways of thinking. Say yes to opportunities that make no sense, jobs you may not think you’ll like, invitations to events you’d rather not attend. Say yes to roller coasters, dancing on tables, foods you can’t pronounce, trips that consist of only a backpack and a map. Take in all the Yes moments, as those are the ones that’ll teach who you are and who you’re not.
- SAY NO! Follow your instincts and if you feel the word No deep within your gut, then be sure to shout it out, as loudly as you can! You’ll be amazed how strong that word can make you feel. Never do anything that feels wrong, hurts others or hurts yourself. There is no shame in not joining the crowd but there is no greater shame than knowing you did something you can’t be proud of. The word No can be the loneliest word in the world and yet you will grow to be the person you are meant to be, more so in the No moments, than even in the Yes moments.
- MISTAKES HAPPEN. No one is perfect and those who profess to be are usually the most flawed. I’ve made many mistakes in my life, the kind that still make me cringe. Don’t dwell on them. So you said it, did it, meant it at the time and now know to never do it again. Admit it, accept it and move on. Believe me, there is always someone that will follow, that’ll earn an even bigger headline than you did.
- SAY I’M SORRY. I’ve learned this little gem after almost two decades of practicing law. I see it every day. People can save themselves so many headaches and heartaches by saying two simple words – I’m sorry. Say it and mean it. If the person doesn’t accept it, then show them you mean it. If they still can’t forgive you then know that some things can’t be forgiven but forgive yourself and do better next time.
- MARRY THE NICE GUY. Boys, boys boys! There are lots out there and you will meet many. Some will have country club credentials, others will be cocky and crazed, but look past all of them and find the nice guy sitting back, taking it all in. Your friends will all like him, your Mother will adore him, your Dad will respect him, he’ll love you even on your meanest, fattest, ugliest of days because he only sees the you, you are meant to be. Marrying a nice guy means a life filled with very few worries. He will always treat you as his equal, he will always work just as hard as you will to make your dreams come true, he will always be as kind to you as he is to others.
- NEVER SAY THE WORDS – I WANT TO MARRY A DOCTOR OR LAWYER. Instead be the lawyer, doctor, teacher, social worker or x-ray tech! If I’ve taught you anything, I hope it’s been that girls can do anything. You are smart, composed and brave. Education is more than just learning, it’s the power to create your own destiny.
- THE ANSWER IS ALWAYS NO, UNLESS YOU ASK. I know it’s tough to ask people for a job, a favor, a piece of advice but you’ll be amazed by what you’ll learn if you just ask. And then never forget to pay it forward. People are going to help you along the way which means one day you’ll be tasked with returning those favors, two-fold, to someone less fortunate.
- PICK YOUR TEAM. Nothing gets your old Mom more worked up than people who don’t pick their team. Not everyone will be on your team and not everyone will pick you for their team, but don’t ever sit on the fence. Pick your team and then fight for that team. Stay loyal, be relentless, stay informed. This is your world and if you don’t take a stand for it, then you can’t complain about it.
- BE KIND, WORK HARD, LAUGH OFTEN. If you remember nothing else please remember these three things. Be kind to everyone you meet, even your enemies because it’s never about them, but about you. Be kind to people from all walks of life, because, but for a few wrong choices or a few unlucky breaks, you could be them. Work hard. Nothing in life comes easy. You have to work for it, you have to work sometimes till the words on the paper become blurry and your bones become sore. You will come to find, however, that there is no better feeling than accomplishing a goal you earned on your own. Then Laugh. Enjoy this world, laugh out loud, smile, giggle, be funny and have fun. A good laugh can make even the worst of days, worst of experiences, worst of situations, 1000 times better.
And above all else, this is your time to close your eyes and jump!
You may tumble and fall but eventually you’ll stand on your own two feet and those same feet will one day carry you home.
Angel Kane can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org