Out of all the strange experiences in my lifetime, there has been none other like seeing my younger siblings grow older. Anybody who has helped raised another person or watched them grow up can surely relate to this. As their older sister, I can’t help but worry. Worry that they will put themselves through the same pain I did at their age. Worry that they will look in the mirror and fail to see how beautiful they are. I worry that they won’t cherish this time in their lives when it is completely acceptable to be so carefree.
However, through all these worries I have, I have even more hopes. To my little sisters, I hope…
1.You are never afraid to speak up in class. Only you can think the thoughts in your head and if you don’t share them, the world will never know how smart you are.
2. You realize that “popularity” is stupid. You want to be able to look back on all the fun times you had with your friends, not how cool you all looked during them.
3. You look people in the eyes and are not addicted to your cell phone. It’s amazing what you can learn from an actual human being when they put down that little screen.
4. I hope you are always the one to listen to the kid who all the other kids are ignoring. You never know how much little things like that could mean to a person.
5. If you ever feel depressed, I hope you reach out to someone about it. Don’t sit at home alone and mope about your problems. There are so many people who care about you, including me, so talk to one of them.
6. I hope you aren’t afraid to show every one your sick moves at the school dances. When I was your age, I thought I was way too cool for that. Looking back on it, I wish I would have joined in on the fun rather than pretending I didn’t even want to.
7. If you ever feel left out or like an outsider, I hope you know that most people feel excluded sometimes. Some are just better at hiding it. Believe it or not, there have been times when I felt like I was never going to find my “group of friends”, and I always did. I hope you know that you will, too.
8. I hope you talk to Mom and Dad at family dinners. No matter how annoying their questions about your day may seem, you will regret not opening up later in life when you no longer see them every day.
9. I hope that you find someone as crazy as you who you can call your best friend. You will fight on the daily with this person, but hold on to them when you find them, because you two are in for quite the ride. Oh, and you should never let a stupid boy come between you.
10. I hope you never let bad thoughts keep you up at night. This is something I did all the time at your age. At some point, these thoughts will come, and they will scare you more than the monster under your bed used to. Remember that no matter how late you stay up thinking tonight, the same problems will be there tomorrow. The only difference is, you’ll be more tired when you have to deal with them. It’s all about tackling things as they come with a positive attitude, not overthinking them until you drive yourself insane.
One of my teachers once told the class a quote by someone who actually grew to be one of my favorite poets. It is something I have carried with me and try my best to live by every day. My last hope for you is that you always remember this:
“People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou