10. You only get out of life what you put into it! The world is full of could’ves, should’ves, and would’ves who tell their sad stories of why they aren’t happy. Somewhere along the way they bought into the idea that life is magically supposed to work in their favor without ever putting in an honest effort. The world is also full of people who are wildly successful because they never gave up on themselves. Never forget you are your greatest asset!
9. You’re the expert on you! You don’t need an authority or institution telling you how you should live. Not even your mother or me are the experts on you. We would be happy to give advice and suggestions, but ultimately, this is YOUR life. Speak your truth—even if your voice shakes.
8. Always be curiously skeptical! Never accept anything at face value without your own litmus test. A word of caution here; don’t discount too quickly those with more experience and knowledge—just ask for proof via battle scars, degrees, or financial statements. Everyone has an opinion, but cherish those whose advice is battle-tested. Research all sides of an argument yourself. Well-meaning people can be very convincing and yet still be very wrong. Check it out yourself.
7. Drastically limit your consumption of sugar! This one has been my nemesis for years. Our brains react the same way towards sugar as cocaine—the food companies know this and the government turns a blind eye since they are paid handsomely to do so. Ever wonder why you’re still craving more after you already ate? That’s sugar! Enjoy the dessert, just don’t let sugar control your life.
6. You don’t need to desperately search for a partner to complete you—you’re already complete! While your friends are all love-struck and can’t live without their current fling, enjoy this time of your life when you don’t have to answer to anyone. Sure, if love knocks on your door, let them in for a cup of tea, but let them know early and often your standards are high, your patience for drama is thin, and your confidence doesn’t depend on whether they stay or go.
5. Carve out time for the things that make your heart come alive! This took me some time to learn. I’m not me when I’m not learning, growing, and writing. If I allow even a week or two to transpire without learning, growing, or writing; I tend to throw colossal hissy fits. You may have witnessed this a time or two. Only YOU know what makes YOUR heart come alive; if you have doubts, try several different things until you do.
4. Work your ass off at what you’re passionate about! This ties in with number 10. If you do something you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. Of course, that’s if you have any stinking idea what you’re passionate about. If you’re like most teenagers, twenty-somethings, thirty-somethings; heck, EVERYBODY, you may have to figure out what you’re passionate about by trying a bunch of different things until one thing gets most of your attention. I can tell you this; when you’re doing something and you lose all track of time and truly enjoy it, that’s something you’re passionate about.
3. Never lose your sense of wonder! Lay out under the stars. Contemplate how and why you find yourself floating through the galaxy on a big rock. Where did you come from? Where are you going? What is the meaning behind all of it? You could literally astonish yourself every day if you ask yourself the right questions. There is a mysterious flow to life that cannot be put into words.
2. When in doubt—CREATE!! No matter what it is, create. Write a song, make pottery, paint a landscape, write a novel, shoot a movie, learn an instrument, build a barn, construct a sculpture, piece together a mosaic. Nothing speaks on a soul-level more than creating. You never know how your creation will affect someone else. The random idea you decide to create could be exactly what someone needs to see.
And the Number One thing I want to remind you is……
1. Being your dad has been the greatest joy and biggest honor of my life!! Simply put, I’m not me without you! Because of you two, I questioned everything I was ever taught, I dug deep into my psyche to discover my true self, I learned what it means to be selfless, I had the courage to take a journey of the heart, and I discovered what true love looks like. Sure, one could argue I may have eventually got there, but I certainly cannot imagine my life without either of you in it! I could not ask for two better humans to co-create with during this lifetime!
I love you!!