Dear Ryann and Maya,
I love you both more than you will ever know. I pray
Here are some things that are important life-lessons I learned and I want to share with you. This is mommy’s list, so take or leave what works for you. I want you to live a life juicy enough for you to create your own list.
I love you both with all of me.
Mommy’s list of life to-do’s:
1. Read the Harry Potter books.
2. Pee outside at least once.
3. Always travel internationally anytime you get an opportunity (you can always get another job, you might not be able to travel again).
4. Live by yourself for at least 3 years before you get married and/or have children.
5. Eat something that you caught, hunted, or grew.
6. You can never watch Pride and Prejudice too many times.
7. Ditto with the Bourne Trilogy (the ones with Matt Damon).
8. Be distrustful of people who say they don’t watch television.
9. You don’t have to like Jazz .
10. You should like the Blues (it’s the music of life)
11. There is no such thing as “an idealized past generation.” Humans have always been good and bad. In every generation. Old people just forget how ratchet they were in their youth.
12. Always follow your gut when it comes to being around people. If people make you feel uncomfortable, you don’t need a reason or for them to do something to you, to stop hanging out with them. Your feeling uncomfortable is reason enough to stop hanging around them.
13. Your body will change. Don’t waste your youth worrying about other people’s idea of modesty. There will come a day when you can no longer wear a belly shirt. Wear what you want to wear while you can.
14. Your youth (ages 15-25) is a time to make mistakes. There isn’t much that you can do that will be the end of the world. (*Try not to have a baby, get married, get a felony, or have a drug problem. Those are the big ones.)
15. Always choose things that make you happy over things that are practical.
16. Don’t form opinions about others religion or beliefs. All religions and beliefs are a little ridiculous so try not to be sanctimonious.
17. Listen to your heart more than your head.
18. Surround yourself with people that make you feel good about yourself.
19. Healthy relationships are NOT hard work. Bad relationships are hard work. Good/healthy relationships are pretty easy.
20. It is life that isn’t easy. It is dealing with life that is hard work.
21. When you grow up, it really doesn’t matter what grade you got on a paper or if you were a cheerleader. There are a lot of really unhappy grown-ups who always got good grades. Choose joy instead of obsessing about school. (Your dad might not agree with this one. Ask daddy to make you his list and then choose which ones make sense to you)
22. Try your best. That’s the only goal. Not A’s or B’s, or any other accolades. Just try your best.
23. People who are very certain about “what they would or would never do,” have usually never been in situation to test their theories. Ignore them and trust yourself.
24. Try not to hang out with know-it-alls.
25. Being academically successful and intellectually smart are two different things. There are a lot of educated dummies and high school drop-out geniuses.
26. Just because mommy and daddy are Christians, doesn’t mean you have to be one too. Find what works for you and go with that.
27. There is nothing, nothing, nothing that you could ever do that would change how much I love you. Seriously, nothing. Even that thing that you are thinking of now, I’ll still love you the exact same.
28. Mean girls aren’t cool. Mean girls are just mean. Don’t be a mean girl. Please.
29. Even if you think it is true, it is obnoxious to say that someone is jealous of you. Trust your mommy and don’t ever say that out loud.
30. Be ok with looking goofy and silly. It is a lot more fun that being a pretty girl.
31. Someone complimenting you on your external beauty isn’t a compliment. You didn’t have anything to do with that. Say thanks but don’t internalize it.
32. You should take pride in things that you DO. You didn’t do anything to look the way you do, but there are lots of things that you can be proud of that are personal accomplishments.
33. Things that are meant to be usually come really easily.
34. If you want something and you keep encountering problems, it might be a sign that it isn’t meant to be.
35. Learn how to say no to things and people early in your life.
36. Success is cyclical. Nothing is permanent including success or failure. You usually get both, multiple times in your life
37. Always be happy for your friends and family when something good happens to them.
38. Always apologize when you do something wrong.
39. It is ok to tell people when you are jealous or envious of them. They probably will know by your behavior.
40. It is always better to tell people exactly how you feel and what you are thinking. People aren’t mind readers.
41. Your value is not your hair.
42. Your value is not your body weight.
43. Your internal and external value is not your job.
44. Before you get serious with someone, make sure you see how he or she behaves in different settings.
45. Don’t ever lie to yourself.
46. You can’t change anyone.
47. Go to Paris.
48. You will never be too old to cuddle with your mommy.
49. When you first meet someone, never let your first question be, “What do you do professionally?”
50. Make decisions based in love and not fear.
51. Music is magic and can convey feelings and thoughts that we can’t articulate. Find songs that resonate with you and listen to them often.
52. Try not to judge others by their choice of music.
53. Listen to Garth Brooks, “Unanswered Prayers.” It will help you understand your mom’s life philosophy.
54. Believe in miracles.
55. You don’t have to like Shakespeare but it will make life easier for you if you do.
56. Read Malcolm X’s Autobiography.
57. Never forget that both of your grandmothers picked cotton and that your great-great grandparents were enslaved. That is an important part of who you are.
58. Most politicians are full of shit. Know that and vote in every election, anyways.
59. Be a critical thinker.
60. Science and religion are not the same thing.
61. Preachers and Organized Religion is not God. Form a personal relationship with God (if choose to be a Christian) and trust that relationship.
62. Be weary of anyone who says they are certain they know what God wants you to do or say.
63. Learn as much as you can about different cultures and religions.
64. Love is not controlling. People who want to control your thoughts and actions are not acting out love. Run away fast.
65. If you really like meat, don’t ever watch the video or read anything that a vegetarian tries to show you. Trust me, there are some images you can’t get out of your head.
66. Everyone is entitled to be sad or in pain. Try not to use the phrase, “at least” to anyone who is sharing something difficult. Thinking about starving kids in Africa won’t make someone who is having money problems feel better. It just makes them guilty.
67. Always be nice to librarians, waitstaff and nurses.
68. In any situation when you don’t understand something, keep asking questions until you understand.
69. Forgiveness is hard. Do it anyways.
70. Don’t be scared of people. No matter what the media tells you. Don’t be scared of people. Remember love over fear.