To my beloved sister,

As you enter your teenage years, I thought the most fulfilling gift I could give you was a few words of my time in your shoes.

To start off, you’re in for one hell of a ride girl. I can’t say whether it’s going to get better or worse or both. Probably both, so you better buckle your seatbelt.

Learn by watching yourself grow, not others

You’re growing up in a world where everyone’s lives are on constant display, where you can’t do anything but keep up with it. I know it’s easy to fall into the trap of equating your growth to someone else’s, but we’re all wired differently so save yourself from that disservice. Remember, never compare your starting point to someone else’s finish line. No matter what there will always be people ahead and behind you, but don’t let that stop you from running.

Disagree with your parents

Yes, these are probably your historical “teenage rebellious” years, but it’s okay to feel that you want something different than what’s set out for you. I know you’ll always respect our folks, and 9/10 times they do know what’s best for you. But 1/10 times take that chance, because you know yourself the best and trust your gut enough to stand up for it.

Don’t go with the flow

Well, sometimes you have to, but don’t let what is predetermined discourage you from going the opposite way. You were not put on this earth to follow the herd and please others. All that is just part of a necessary curvy road that will eventually lead you to your true calling. If your goals and dreams sound crazy right now, they’re probably the best ones. Brush off what other people say because in the real world no one saves you a spot — you’ve got to create your own.

Say yes

Even if people say no and you say yes, you’re already one step ahead of them. If something scares you, all the more reason to do that. This isn’t a foolproof trick, because there are definitely going to be times where you regret saying yes. But you will still get to add that experience to your list and the worst thing that could come out is a good story. Keep a journal and document those memories, because when you look back at them they’ll be gold.

Don’t get comfortable

Scared to click that button or say that sentence? Count to three and just do it because I can’t tell you how many things I’m grateful for came from that. Don’t get comfortable with where you are, because there’s magic in sitting in discomfort. Ask those daring questions and go to those crazy places that seem scary to you. Trust me, the best thing you could do for yourself is challenge your perspective.

I can’t wait to see you grow into a lovely young woman in the future. Happy birthday Arushi, I’ll always be by your side (as long as I get the first slice of cake).

Much love ♥
Your sister

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