Today, our third daughter, the “baby” of the family, turned sweet sixteen. Birthdays are a BIG deal in our home and sixteen is no exception. However, the reality is that every day should be celebrated as it is a unique gift given to us to be performed on the “stage” of life as we choose.
In my musing of late, I have decided that the next few years of my supporting role should be more intentional and loving. My heart aches for today’s youth as they seem to be growing up much faster than those who came before them. Maybe it’s my unique perspective of having a decade between Cayley and her older sisters but I feel today’s teens face choices, stress, and problems that are unique to their generation.
Cayley enjoys singing and acting. She is part of the musical theatre program at her high school allowing me to observe and learn a few lessons that I feel might benefit others. Life is an ongoing drama we all get to participate in. The life stage that we perform on is not a one-person show. We all have parts to play and every role is essential for the overall performance. The more we support each other, the better life will be for everyone.
As your mom, Cayley, I will always be here to support and cheer you on. Below are sixteen things I hope you always remember.
- Savor this moment in time. You are only sixteen once. One day you will wish you were sixteen again as life is so much easier looking backwards. Ask your sisters as adulting is hard stuff.
- Play your given role and have fun. Always be yourself. There are so many wonderful things about your life. You are unique. One of a kind! Discover and lean into your strengths and embrace your differences. Also, appreciate your height. It is a good thing.
- Perform for an audience of One. Spend more time cultivating your relationship with God; the more time you spend in that relationship, the better your relationships will be with others and you will have more peace.
- Support others. Look for ways to make others shine. When you give 110% you make not only yourself look good but the entire cast. Don’t waste your time on people who make you feel worse after you spend time with them. Just don’t!!!
- Eliminate comparisons. Nothing good comes from comparing ourselves to others. We either feel better or worse than the person we are comparing ourselves to, thus leading to pride or low self-esteem. Thereby regretting what you aren’t, rather than allowing you to appreciate who God made you to be.
- Social Media is comparison on steroids. Don’t be fooled by what you see on Facebook, Pinterest, Snapchat, or Instagram as I guarantee you that those people aren’t always happy. It’s human nature to share mostly the good things. Rarely will you find people posting about family drama, being rejected, insecurities, or the hard stuff ? Limit social media and increase your joy while eliminating a lot of stress.
- It’s OK to say NO!!! Every yes is a no to something else. If you try to do everything you will wear yourself out. Choose wisely. Go deep rather than wide.
- Set achievable goals. When your goals are specific and reachable you are more likely to meet them and feel good about yourself. Write out your goals and share them with someone to hold you accountable. Keep them visible to you can remind yourself daily of what truly is important to you.
- Eliminate chaos, establish routines. Eliminate things that stress you out and slow you down (screen time). Try to be one step ahead instead of one step behind. Being prepared will help you feel less stressed and overwhelmed. Create routines for yourself that promote success. Seek the guidance of parents, teachers, counselors, organizers, list, and family members.
- Stop procrastinating. Get your work done ahead of time before any deadlines. Guess what? You will eliminate anxiety and feel good about yourself.
- Give second chances. Forgive people’s mistakes or oversights. Forgive yourself when you mess us because we do 😉 We all blow it…almost every day. Each day is a new beginning. We get to start over and make better choices. Every. Single. Day. Cherish the fresh start, the blank page and the new chapter.
- Be a lifelong learner. Read. Write. Listen to the wisdom of others. Listen to podcasts. Talk to people wherever you go. Ask lots of questions. Just don’t stop learning. Ever.
- Take care of yourself. The number on the scale is not you. What is important is that you tend to your health and wellness and be the best version of you. Take your vitamins, understand your differences, exercise daily, meditate (be still) and get 8+ hours of sleep. Heed the wisdom of those older than yourself.
- Learn patience and persistence. Be ambitious and never give up. Rejection is inevitable but remain resilient. Persistence is the key to success. There are many innovative and successful individuals such as your dad, who faces great obstacles, including unemployment, before they achieved their success. This is why having a clear goal in mind is important. When you fail, it’s not the end of the world. When you succeed, it’s not the pinnacle of life either.
- Nobody is perfect. Society often glamorizes perfection via magazine covers that sell, spotlighted celebrities, and models. However, one really doesn’t know what it’s like to walk in their shoes. They too have insecurities and failures.
- Use your voice, project. What you have to say is important. Don’t hold it in because you are afraid of what other people will think of you. Be the outgoing person you want to be. The only thing your shyness is doing is holding you back.
- Show up. On time. Listen more than you talk. And work hard. Remember: all that separates successful people from those who are not is that successful people do what unsuccessful people won’t do.
What advice would you offer to today’s sixteen year old? Please take time to share words of encouragement or wisdom with Cayley. Many thanks.