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.