My last advice blogpost. I could do this forever, or at least another year: write some advice each month. And as much as I love giving advice, I have to realize that the 18 year old you who might be reading this for the first time may not be ready to hear all the advice I have to give.
So, I'll stop here. And as you grow, I promise to give advice when you ask (unless you're doing something really crazy... then I'll happily provide lots of unsolicited advice).
But because I have a few things in my head, I decided to make a short list of advice that I feel is incredibly important for you to read one day.
1) Love is HARD. Love can hurt. Love can be the most phenomenal feeling in the world. Highest high, lowest low. Real love (friendships, partnerships, family relationships) takes a LOT of work, on both sides. Love is worth it. But love should never be one sided, or rushed. Take your time. Cautiously move forward. Give it all, when your heart tells you that person deserves it. And don't quit on love if it feels too tough.
2) Listen to your inner voice. Your gut instinct, whether it tells you that piece of meat you want to cook looks a little off color and to throw it out, or that the person following you down the street at night feels suspicious, is generally spot on. I have never regretted following my gut instinct (except when I use it to give Papa directions when driving. Then I regret it, b/c it is always wrong).
3) Positivity is the key. I am a terribly pessimistic person. I grew up in a glass half empty sort of home, and I am working on improving that, but it takes time. The people in the world that I am drawn to: friends, your Papa, family... they are positive. They can see the silver lining in almost any situation. If you can be anything, be kind. But also, be positive. Look for the small wonders, and surround yourself with honest, positive, kind people and you'll never be negative.
4) Take care of yourself. Eat healthy. Don't drink too much. Stay away from drugs. Find happiness in nature, in books, in relationships, in activity, but not in things or possessions.
5) Art is a gift. Find an outlet, and embrace it. Nurture it, and allow it to relax you. Art comes in many shapes and sizes, so don't limit yourself.
6) Do not compare yourself to others. It will destroy you. Focus on yourself, your goals, and your relationships.
7) It is never too late to try something new, or make a change. Believe in yourself!
8) Ground yourself. When it all feels impossible, the mountain too big to climb, take your shoes and socks off, go outside, and put your feet in the grass (or dirt). Ground yourself and reconnect with the Earth. Take a few deep breaths. Let the Earth's energy flow through you, and refocus you.
9) We will ALWAYS be here for you. Not advice, just reassurance. You have our support, you have our listening ear, you have our love.
2019 was a wild year kiddo. 2020 proves to be just as promising: here is to all you are, all you'll be. Happy New Year!