Dear James and Jonathan,
I know it feels like we have lots of time. In truth, none us know how long we’ve got – in our present circumstances, with our friends, family members or even in this life. Having been reminded of this recently, an assault on the notion of endless tomorrows, I am writing to let you know what I wish I had known at your age. I am sure there is more, but for now this is my top 10 list.
- Be yourself. There is no one else on the planet who is exactly like you. No one who has your blend of strengths and struggles. Own who you are and find a way to celebrate it. We all miss out if you don’t find a way to be yourself.
- Comparing yourself with others (or even with earlier versions of you) will steal your joy. It will probably make you try to be someone you are not.
- Your life will expand if you find a way to be thankful today.
- Lean into courage – let go of fear.
- Forgiveness sounds like one of those things you do for others, but it is a gift you give yourself. Practise forgiving.
- Make time for those who matter to you. Connection with others that goes beyond the superficial is essential.
- Take time to figure out what is important to you. Be intentional.
- Your life will be better if you use what you have been given to make a difference to someone else. Contribute.
- Be open to the possibility that there are things you do not understand. Always be willing to learn and grow.
- Believe in God. The teaching of Jesus has been the foundation and transformation in my own life.
The choices you make have potent consequences. May you live your lives with clarity, courage, compassion and confidence.