On Saturday June 28th 2014 the most wonderful thing happened, you were born. With your arrival, life just got infinitely better. Your possibilities are endless as is my love for you. And although you are only a few days old, as your aunt, I already have so much to tell you. Therefore, I’d like to share with you some thoughts and a few things I’ve learned in my 34 years on this earth. I hope this will help you navigate through life’s many journeys.
- Speaking of journeys, learn how to read a map. I never did and it’s one thing I wish I had. I can’t tell you which way is North, South, East or West, but I can teach you where your head, shoulders, knees and toes are. There’s a song about this that your grandma used to sing to your dad and me when we were kids. Knowing the location of these body parts will be life changing.
- My hope is that you don’t grow up and feel forced to pick a side. Whether it’s Democrat, Republican, Christian, Buddhist, vegan or alien, my hope is that you keep an open mind and ask questions. Question everything around you. Let your curiosity lead you to knowledge and understanding. The smartest people I know ask the most questions. Don’t let anyone silence your inquiries with, “that’s just the way it is.” Because it doesn’t have to be. Except for when I tell you that Tupac was the greatest rapper that ever lived. Why, you ask. Well…that’s just the way it is.
- There will come a time when you’ll feel an intense pressure to “fit in.” Just know that no one ever truly fits in. Instead we give in to something we’re not because we’re afraid to stand out. Don’t be afraid to stand out, Lucy. You are the only you there will ever be. Don’t deny the world the opportunity to see all that you are whether it’s accepted by popular opinion or not.
- If anyone ever calls you weird, say thank you. Being called weird is one of the best compliments you can receive. The weird kids grow up to be the most interesting adults.
- Make friends with the kid who the other kids only make fun of. So what if he’s “the smelly kid.” Let’s face it, we all smell. And we all need friends who accept us for who we are. Share your soap and a smile and you’ll be friends forever.
- Don’t worry about the future. Have fun just being a kid. It only happens once in your lifetime. Enjoy the free rent!
- You will encounter many people less fortunate than you are. Whether it be financially, socially or emotionally, be kind to these people. You can’t change everyone’s fortune, but you can treat people with kindness and dignity. It’s the simplest gift that so many forget to give. Myself included.
- Never lose your imagination. It’s the best! Imagination can bring you anywhere and allow you to be anything. I often imagine that I live in Fraggle Rock. (You’ll probably have to Google what that is)
- Talk to yourself often. You are your own best listener.
- Do what you love. Never settle. Don’t let others or your own uncertainty talk you out of your dreams. Even if your dream is to be a tree. You’ll never know what you are capable of until you try.
- Go outside. Get dirty. Go on adventures. You will look out into your new world and see it full of people who are obsessed with living online and inside their little devices. Try to fight the urge to do so. Find a healthy balance between both, but spend more time outside. Do cartwheels in the grass, put your feet in the lake, jump in a snowbank, slide into home plate or pick a dandelion and pop it’s head off. All of these activities will be more rewarding than anything you can do online. Unless you’re creating the new Google, then do that instead. Auntie JoJo has a lot of student loan debt and could really use some help paying it off. Just kidding, but seriously.
- Don’t throw bags of pennies out of the window of a moving school bus. Not that I know from experience, but I imagine that those driving beside the school bus will not appreciate it.
- Never walk past a swing set without taking a swing. Even if it’s not your swing set. Don’t tell your parents I said that.
- Never doubt your beauty. But if you do, tell me and I’ll play a song called “Beautiful” for you by this old lady named Christina Aguilera.
- Don’t worry about being a “good girl.” Be a good human.
- Keep a journal. The words you write today, will entertain you for a lifetime.
- Learn calculus. Then teach it to me.
- Eat all your vegetables. Then when you’re at my house, we don’t have to eat any.
- Start a savings account. “If you earn a dollar, save ninety cents and spend the remaining ten.” That’s what your Great Grandpa Wally used to tell me. I never listened because I couldn’t think of anything that only costs ten cents. Looking back, I missed his point. He was trying to teach me about the importance of a long-term savings plan. You have the power to stop the cycle of credit card debt.
- Take lots of pictures. As the great Melissa Joan Hart said in the classic movie, Can’t Hardly Wait, “These are memories frozen in time, people!”
- Be patient. And then teach me how.
- Don’t be afraid to cry. Sometimes a good cry is the best part of my day. Holding in your tears may cause constipation so stay regular.
- Adopt a pet…when you have a place of your own. Pets are awesome and will bring you so much joy. I’m partial to cats, but I trust that you’ll make the right decision.
I could go on and on (you’ll learn that about me), but overall I want you to remember that I’m always here for you. You can confide in me. There is nothing you can’t tell me. Nothing you say will shock me, insult me or make me think less of you. I’m a comedian. I’ve heard and seen it all. And most importantly, my love for you is unconditional.
Welcome to the world, Lucy!
Your Auntie JoJo