There are certain things that I want to tell my nieces and my grand nieces before I get too old. Maybe they already know. They are all a lot smarter than I will ever be. But along with the title of “crazy old auntie” has come some wisdom. Okay dear nieces one and all, here is my list. Take note:
1.Life is too short to hate your thighs. No one ever got smarter or kinder because of the size of their thighs. Please try to remember that you are a human being and not a chicken part.
2. Life is not airbrushed. For only twenty seconds when you are 19 years old will you have perfectly flawless skin and great hair. This is just before you start to age by advertising standards. Screw advertising standards! The lines in your face and on and on your hands will tell you more about character and substance than un-lined skin or silky hair. And trust me, only women in shampoo commercials have hair that silky. The rest of us either have mouse fur or horse manes that no amount of the right shampoo can change. But I digress, so I’ll repeat: Life is not airbrushed. It’s not supposed to be. It’s full of flaws, imperfections and messiness. If your life doesn’t contain these three elements, then you are not really living.
3. Life is not nearly as fun, polite or smiling as what’s posted on Facebook. Facebook is not reality. Well it’s as real as Life With the Kardashian’s, I guess. But no one smiles that way with their husband, their partner, their boss or their friends all the time. In reality people sneer, stare, space out and chew with their mouths open. Be real. Be vulnerable. Be authentic and be yourself . . .and don’t waste too much time with Facebook.
4. Your weight is not a gage of your worth and neither is your bank account. You are lovable, precious, beautiful women and it’s the content of your heart that matters. Assess yourself and others by that single factor–the content of heart–and you can never go wrong.
5. Don’t be afraid to speak up and put yourself first sometimes. You don’t always have to take the smallest portion or sit in the aisle seat instead of next to the window. Claim the drumstick at Thanksgiving. Don’t always tell people “it’s okay,” when they hurt your feelings. Take the time for self-care. Believe me, your family will not starve or whither away because you took the time to nurture your own self. You don’t always have to come last.
6. Promise me that you will never stop reading. Fill your head and your heart with adventures and history, with fantasy and tales. Learn something new every day. It will keep you young.
7. Don’t freak out about getting old. It doesn’t have to be life’s buzz-kill. Instead make sure you eat well–yes, that means vegetables–and get outside and exercise every day. This is what really makes a difference when you push past the half-century mark.
8. Say “thank you.” You are a woman in a country at a time where women’s rights continue to expand. Never take that for granted. Make sure that you always advocate for women’s empowerment and commit to helping other women, and not judging them.
9. Practice gratitude every day. Life’s shorter than you think it is. Love your life. Love your world. Show that you know this by dancing, singing and laughing.
May your life be rich with love and goodwill and may you never forget your crazy old auntie. I keep you close in my heart.