Dear Weston,

I love you already.

In case you are worried you have a stalker, let me introduce myself ….I’m one of your aunts.

I can’t wait to meet you in another week or so!

You haven’t yet been alive more than a few days, but I’m impatient to see who you become, what kind of things you will like to do, games you will like to play, who you look like, etc.

I am guessing that If you are anything like your dad, you will have a great sense of humor and a daredevil streak that will often get you into trouble.

You are just a week old today (Happy Birthday), but I am already sitting here thinking about some of the advice I have for you as you grow up.

And don’t worry, it’s not smothering advice. (I don’t think.) It’s more like stuff I wish I had known and embraced earlier in my life.

So, as one first born to another, here are a few pieces of advice I have for you.

My Advice To You, My Dear Nephew:

1. Always Be Yourself.

There is only one person created with your unique personality, gifts and talents.

That’s it.

No one else is exactly like you. So if you don’t show up as you, there will be a void in the world like a piece missing from the middle of a jigsaw puzzle.

As you are growing up, particularly as a teenager and young adult, you may be tempted to act like someone else rather than staying true to who you are.

You might try to be “cool” or put on an act to impress people or look like you have your sh*t together.

It is the craziest thing….we all want people to like us for who we are, and yet deep down most of us worry that if we show up as who we are, the people we love won’t love us in return.

The truth is, people like you better and your connection with them is stronger when you are real than when you are all put together and polished. (We’ll talk about what “real” means when we read The Velveteen Rabbit.)

When the people you are close to love you for who you truly are, it is the BEST feeling in the whole world.

2. Take Your Time And Don’t Worry.

Maybe it’s a first born achiever-thing, but I was really worried about getting “there” fast, “there” being grown-up land because I wanted to be all settled and have everything figured out. (I am laughing as I write that.)

I worried at 16 about learning how to do my taxes. (Easy to do at first. And they have accountants when it gets hard.)

I worried about finishing college on time so I didn’t study abroad. (I regret this.)

I worried about getting into physical therapy school, then I worried about making good grades, then I worried about getting a job…..and on and on and on.

Time is our most precious resource. And worry steals time from us.

I love this quote: “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift and that’s why it’s called the present.”

Live every day as if it were a gift and I promise you will get “there” on time.

3. Find Work That You Really Enjoy.

When you are a kid, you will spend most of your time playing and inventing and doing all sorts of fun and awesome stuff.

But as you get older and start looking for a job, conventional wisdom will tell you that jobs are boring or hard or not fun.

Now I’m not saying that every job will be as fun as playing video games (although you could get a job designing them) or riding your bike in the neighborhood.

But please, please, please don’t take any job you don’t enjoy.

You can ask both your dad and your mom about this…they both have jobs they love.

What happens at work influences what happens at home. When you aren’t happy at work, it trickles (or gushes) into your personal life.

Choose a job that makes you happy at work and you will very likely be happy in your personal life, too.

4. Keep Trying, Even If You Fall Down.

One of the most exciting times in the whole world will be when you learn to walk. You will take a few steps, smile, and then fall down.

Then you will stand up and repeat the process all over again.

You will keep trying over and over again and it will be easy for you because you won’t know it’s “supposed” to be hard.

Your aunt will be jealous.

Because for me, as an adult, “falling” got harder as I got older. I got comfortable doing the things I knew how to do and I forget how fun it is to take a risk and do something new.

Some day I will tell you about the year you were born, which was the year I really started taking risks again.

I was scared….BIG time.

Still am.

But I have learned that being scared isn’t so bad. It means you are trying for something that really matters.

And I have also learned that failure isn’t the death of my dreams. It just means I need to get up and try again.

5. You Are Enough, Just As You Are.

This is probably the most important advice I can give you. It is simple but hard to wrap your mind around.

As you grow up and “do stuff”, like play sports, get good grades, win awards, etc., you will be tempted to think that those accomplishments ARE you and create your value in the world.

But the truth is that you are loved beyond measure by your family now (and your friends later) just for your mere presence in the world, not because you scored a goal or got straight A’s or anything else.

(Although, there is one tiny thing you could accomplish right now that would make your mom and dad REALLY happy, and that is to sleep through the night. No pressure….just a suggestion.)

YOU are the blessing. Just as you are. Right now. The rest is gravy.
Love you and see you soon,

Aunt Christine


PS- If you have any advice to add for my nephew, please add it in the comments below….

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