Sixteen Candles

This evening we celebrated the birth of my little sister. An event which took place sixteen years past.

It was an amazing experience to sit back and observe the transition. My sisters were all dolled up – stumbling around in their high heels. They looked like young – women.

Immediately when we walked in the door they all bolted upstairs, returning to the comfort of soffee shorts and oversized tees. That’s how I like them best. Fresh faced, relaxed, innocent – young and unjaded. I’m more jealous of them then they could ever imagine.

Not that I’d like to re-visit high school. Hell no. You couldn’t pay me enough.

But to go back to a time when the future was far from my thoughts. When I was secure in the fact that life would just guide me along its safe and certain passages. Those are the days I miss.

When my biggest concern was whether the girl at the tanning salon would notice I was sneaking in on my friend’s membership. Or, that my dad might make me come home a half hour earlier on a Friday night than the rest of my friends.

I look at my sisters and I see stories yet unwritten. Dreams still vague in shape and direction. I see myself before I knew just how big the world really was, and just how tiny I was in it.

So here is my advice to my sister as she blows out those candles —

1. Love without abandon. Keep your heart open and free from judgment.

2. Don’t give a damn what anyone else thinks. Dance, and don’t care if you look like a fool.

3. Do things you’re not good at. Do things that scare you. Do things you’re embarrassed to be seen doing.

4. Be a thoughtful and generous friend.

5. Don’t do anything that makes your gut uneasy, no matter how many others are doing it. Trust that little voice.

6. Try everything. At least once.

7. Take pictures. Be in pictures. Save them. Scrapbook.

8. Don’t take school too seriously, but take it seriously enough to secure your future.

9. Travel. Every opportunity you get. See the world. Explore your state. Take a random road trip. Step outside and make so many memories that you run out of room inside your head.

10. Cherish yourself. Love every single part about you. Love your laugh that’s a little too loud, your middle that’s a little too soft, your jokes that no one gets, your temper that’s a little too hot. Love all your flaws, and all your perfections. Don’t for a single minute regret any part that makes you – you.


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