Note: This is for my beautiful niece Morgan, in honor of her college graduation from Texas State University tomorrow at 2:00 pm.
When I first thought of writing this blog to my niece, I immediately thought, "Who am I to give this amazing young woman advice?" I thought, "Its not like I've lived my life, since my own college graduation, so famously." I've decided to dedicate this blog to her because I can't think of a more tenacious, more courageous human being in the world to receive it. I'm writing this because I love her and I'm so proud of her. I count myself as one of the lucky "ladies of the land" that had the privilege of helping to raise her after my beautiful sister's and her wonderful mother's death in 1995, when she was only 8 years old. I got to be her cheerleader when her Mom had stress tests every week for several months prior to her birth. Her Mommy and I would coax her to move just a little with our pleas of "'Come on baby girl, you can do this!' or 'I can't wait to meet the little girl you are going to be!" Upon hearing us, she'd move and we could leave and get my sister a gi-normous tea with "rat turd" ice and lots of lemon. On June 11, 1987, Morgan Ashley Avary came into this world and changed my life forever. I spent her formative years imposing myself into every possible event, birthdays, piano recitals, sleep-overs, Christmases, Easters, spring breaks, summer breaks, school projects, and movie nights watching Doris Day in Pillow Talk or Barbara Streisand in Funny Girl, while we inhaled truck loads of popcorn and oceans of cola. Thank you and your Dad for receiving my presence so graciously.
I came across a quote made by Art Linkletter that says, "Things turn out best for the people who make the best out of the way things turn out." My Morgan must have been one of those people that Mr. Linkletter was referring to. And although I am just slightly biased, I think she is one of the best people that I know and I would like to pass a wish list, of sorts, on to her, a point of reference to guide her in this new chapter of her life, an application, if you will, to become her mentor, just as her Mommy was in my life.
So, here goes:
• Like you, while I was in college, I only did laundry six times . . . a year . . . you might want to up that to at least 12.
• When I finished school with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, I was completely lost. I did everything - I waitressed, I worked in retail, I worked for a newspaper, I sold advertising, I had no idea. And I thought I'd just finally settle in some ordinary job, where I would make enough to pay my rent, maybe have basic cable, or maybe not, I didn't really have a big plan. My point is, that, by the time I was your age, I really thought I knew who I was, but again, I had no idea. For example, after my college graduation, I thought antiques and vintage stuff was for old ladies or men with suspiciously good taste. And look at me now.
• When choosing a path, don't measure success by the amount of money it will make for you, or by the number of people it will please. Choose a path that is unique to you. Just always remember, that there is a difference in people who have money and people who are rich.
• More importantly, don't live in fear - free yourself from that and never look back! Challenge the known and EMBRACE the unknown.
• Dream big - expect that life will be all that you want it to be - set high expectations - whether you expect to succeed or fail, you're probably right!
• While you are out there figuring out what things you want in your life, remember that I love you and want those same things for you, too.
• Live your life as an honest and compassionate person. Help people every chance that you get.
• Follow your passion and stay true to yourself. Never follow anyone else's path . . . unless you're in a new city and you're lost and you see a path, and by all means you should follow that or turn on the GPS or something!
• Don't ever give advice, it will come back and bite you in the booty.
• Try not to take yourself too seriously - laugh and learn from your mistakes and failures.
• Don't take anyone's advice . . . So, my advice to you is to be true to yourself and everything will be fine . . . Sorry, I couldn't resist!
Finally, I know that you are concerned about your future, my darlin' girl, but there's no need to worry. The economy is turning around, the job market is wide open, the world is your oyster! It's gonna be great! You've already survived the worst. What else can happen to you? And as you know all too well, that some of the most devastating things that could happen to you will be the things that teach you the most. And remember what your Mommy used to tell you, even before you were born:
"'Come on baby girl, you can do this!' and 'I can't wait to meet the young woman that you are going to be!'"
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