I wrote this laundry list of advice for my daughter upon her high school graduation four years ago. Here it is for the graduate in your life.
1. You will always be the correct weight.
2. Don’t fill out questionnaires anonymously.
3. Someone once told me that boys are like buses—you miss one and another one eventually comes along. Don’t think about anyone that way.
4. To be discerning is not the same as being judgmental.
5. Study with empathy. Otherwise you learn nothing.
6. Love your children more than anyone, including your parents.
7. Some fool down the line will tell you that you are not the prettiest in the room. Trust me—you will always be the most beautiful in the world.
8. When you’re scared, remember that you are most afraid of being afraid.
9. Don’t be afraid of passion. It’s the electricity of the soul.
10. Don’t listen to someone who tells you to get over it. You will get over it in your own way and your own time.
11. Think three-dimensionally—no one is completely heroic or totally villainous.
12. Picasso said, “I never paint red; I paint the suggestion of red.” Remember that when you’re solving a particularly thorny problem.
13. If a sign says that a parking lot is full, move the cone anyway and go in. I promise you there will always be a space.
14. When you’re very upset, talk to God. Out loud. You’ll get over the initial awkwardness.
15. Remember that a coincidence is a miracle in which God chooses to remain anonymous.
16. Don’t be frivolous with money. But don’t be afraid to spend it either.
17. Work hard.
18. Work steadily.
19. Have fun.
20. Don’t worry if you’re not having fun. It’ll pass.
21. When you feel stuck or frightened, dance.
22. Don’t regret falling in love. There’s a piece of Jewish wisdom that says there’s nothing more whole than a broken heart.
23. I’ll end with one of my father’s favorite sayings: “God made the world, but the Dutch made Holland.” I have to admit it baffled me as a child, but I think I get it now—give God something to work with by shaping your destiny, because in the end it’s all about free will, kiddo.