1. Don’t quit a job before you even start.
I have had some pretty terrible jobs before I had a job I loved. I once took a job working at a day camp and I seriously dreaded working 8-hour days for 7 straight weeks, so much that I seriously contemplated sending in my resignation before I even put on the staff t-shirt. And you know what? It turns out working at camp became one of the highlights of my summer. So, moral of the story: don’t knock anything before you try, because you might miss out on something amazing.
2. Worry less, live more.
I worry about everything from whether or not there’s going to be traffic and I am going to be late for an appointment. I worry about you and your sister. I want you to be happy and successful. And yes, I’m aware these things are out of my control. I’ve finally realized that letting go and making the best of whatever comes your way can save you a lot of stress, and potential gray-hairs.
3. Be as adventurous as possible.
We have always been an adventurous family. From trips to Europe or South America to crazy stuff at the lake. In all my travels I have wound up in places where I did not know a soul. I walked into the gym and made the most of it. Returning home with nothing but a suitcase, a story, and a passion for adventure. I’ve realized that living spontaneously, taking chances, and most importantly, seizing every opportunity available to you is the best way to live.
4. If your favorite dessert is on the menu, order it.
As I get OLDER I am super conscious of what I eat and when. When I was working out either as a gymnast I was very careful with what I ate. I know when you were running competitively you were very careful. Don’t make a meal of the dessert- but if it’s on the menu- GET IT.
5. It’s okay to keep some things to yourself.
I live pretty much in the public eye. I am careful that I do not share too much information or photos. Especially when it comes to relationships, outside opinions and advice can often complicate what could’ve been simple. Be a MAN OF MYSTERY
6. Good friends are for life.
After almost a year of college I am sure you have watched plenty of friends from home drift away. Sometimes communication just wasn’t there. But those who did stay, the people you rush to see every time you’re home back . Those are the ones who will be there forever. Good friends are for life, and having people you know will be there forever is the best feeling in the world.
7. Be confident that you are the coolest person in the room.
I have always been amazed at your “coolness”. You have confidence and a swagger that I wished I had at your age. It’s not arrogance as much as it is confidence. After all, shouldn’t you be someone that you would want to hang out with? The point is, the more confident you are in yourself and the more you like yourself, the more other people are going to like you. It’s all about positivity and being the person you want to be.
8. Give everyone a chance to be a friend.
You think, and hope, that the drama will end in high school. Reality is it continues into your professional life. If there’s anything I learned from the drama and frenemies of adult life, it’s that it’s way better to be friends with everyone. Why waste time and energy battling someone, shutting them out, or simply tolerating them, when you could get to know them, and potentially make a new friend. Open yourself up, and you’ll be excited to see all the amazing people you had never given a chance before.
9. When it comes to friends, it’s quality over quantity.
It’s not the number of friends that matters, but the quality and bond with the friends You have.
10. Dancing around your room is the best mood-booster.
Remember when you were younger and you would dance for no reason? Those moments of just letting go and jamming out are still the best remedies for a rough week, even in college.
11. It’s never too late to pursue your dreams.
Who really knows where life is going to take you? The truth is, if you don’t try, you’ll never know.
12. Family always comes first.
Face it- we have too much dirt on you and too many embarrassing photos that can be put on line if you forget this rule!
13. Getting involved is the best way to meet new people.
You have always been a leader and someone to get involved. This will not change as an adult! Getting involved and putting yourself out there is the best way to get to know people.
14. Schoolwork is not worth the cost of your sanity.
You pretty much cruised through high school. There will be some professors in college and some courses that will STRESS YOU OUT. I know I pulled many all nighters for classes that I didn’t really like. All to get an A. While it’s important to put your best efforts into everything you do, one assignment or test is not worth all-nighters. Take the B over the A if it means your mental health.
15. Dress for success.
When I was teaching school I always dressed professionally casual. My principal, who saw something in me that I didn’t see in my self said, “Dress for the job you want. Not the one you have.” The next day I came in dressed like batman. It didn’t go well. BUT the lesson is still there.
16. Laughter is seriously the best medicine.
There’s nothing that eases anxieties or stresses more than a good laugh. Whether it’s from watching a comedy show or movie, or a conversation with a friend. Making something serious or intimidating more lighthearted by joking about it can relieve a lot of tension and it’s way more fun than complaining.
17. Take time away from your phone.
I know this has probably been said a thousand times, and probably more by my generation. Those who didn’t grow up with cellphones glued to our hands, but it’s definitely a valuable lesson. Time spent face to face with friends or family will always beat a text message or a Snapchat, so why waste in-person interactions by being distracted by a phone?
18. Don’t ever forget to remind people how much you care about them.
This is something that becomes difficult over time, especially when friends and family are spread out in different states, busy in their own lives. On my birthday, getting texts from people from all different points and parts of my life, from family and friends who I haven’t seen in a while, I am reminded how amazing it feels to be reminded that you’re loved. Do the same thing. Reach out every once and a while and tell them they are great.
19. Be unapologetically yourself.
In 19 years, you’ve learned that it is so much easier to be who you are, and not waste time being who you think others want you to be. We are proud of you and we love you! Happy Birthday