There are some things we figure out the hard way, and maybe that’s what makes them meaningful. But if there is ever a chance for me to spare my niece some tears on her way to a full and happy life, then I will offer these bits of advice:
1) Push through the difficulties of learning, because there is a great joy of accomplishment and internal reward on the other side.
2) Whenever you feel the wind, believe in the power you can’t see.
3) Understand that a stranger’s meanness has more to do with herself than with you, even though it seems personal.
4) Look for the goodness and intelligence and strength in everyone you know, but forgive them when they fail. Especially your friends. And yourself.
5) Realize that friends sometimes fill the parts of us we wish we could be but aren’t. That’s a recipe for jealousy; don’t let it spoil what matters.
6) Get close to other people but don’t rely on them for your happiness. When you figure that out, teach me.
7) Never doubt that your parents love you even when they don’t answer your pleas of the moment. The same is true of God.
8) Know your own soul that follows you all the way through your life. At the same time be willing to change and experience new things and grow.
9) You feel how you feel. Acknowledge it, but don’t dwell in it. And don’t let anyone stifle your sensitivity; it is a beautiful part of who you are.
10) Learn a ballroom dance.