Love, your big brother forever.
I've had the good fortune to be the sole brother to four sisters. One older, and three younger. Although my older sister Stephanie and I share the same mother and father, my younger sisters Jessica, Catherine, Divina and I share only my father. I mention this as a means to explain the large gaps in age between us.
Jessica, from my father's second marriage, is a full 10 years younger, while Caty and Divina are younger by 19 and 20 years. This makes them no less my sisters. In fact, it has allowed me this rare opportunity to share with them what I have learned over the years.
If I can't be there to scare off their boyfriends, then in my own brotherly way I'll share these 10 things I'd like for them in life.
1. I hope you take your imagination with you into adulthood.
You all share my wild imagination, and the world will do everything in its power to cheapen the need for it. Don't let it! The ability to dream big will prove inspiring to others who have forgotten how.
2. I hope you don't sweat the small things.
Holding a grudge is akin to drinking poison and hoping the other person will fall ill. It only hurts you to hang on to it. Let me teach you a trick, something that gives me comfort when I get overwhelmed: Close your eyes and try to think of something a year or so ago that felt like the end of the world. Can you remember it? More than likely you can't.
Even if you can, I bet it doesn't seem like such a big deal now. Whether it was a broken heart, a stolen moment of glory or someone who kicked dirt in your face, please do yourself a favor and let it go. Don't let any space in your heart be taken up by worries from the past.
3. I hope you realize our parents are people, and people make mistakes.
Jessica, our broken home isn't uncommon. Half of all marriages fail. It doesn't reflect on us in any way. I'm now a stepparent as your mother was to me. What I learned from her now plays a large and positive role in how I father my stepchildren.
Caty and Divina, I hope our father and your mother stay together if they are happy, but don't allow the connection to your older siblings be degraded because of the age between us or the inability of our parents to help you keep in contact. Take this on yourself and reach out when you're old enough. You will find it both enriching and enlightening.
4. I hope you chase your dreams with a fiery passion, but accept that they may be a road rather than a destination.
Dream big, huge, on a cosmic scale. This saying, albeit overused, holds true: If you shoot for the moon and miss, you'll still land among the stars. I have chased the dream of music all my life, and now in my early thirties I look back and see an exciting landscape of adventures, filled with things that might seem impossible to some. Though I'm not the rich and famous rock star I dreamed of, I'm happy and live without regret.
5. I hope you speak your heart and are unafraid to love hard.
There's only one great and universal truth to this world: the effect that love has on one another. So love hard, as if there was no tomorrow. The heart never asks you stop putting it in harms way, so don't let your mind hold you back from what your heart is willing to chance.
6. I hope you live a life of purpose and say yes to opportunities.
None of us are born with the power to solve all the world's problems. Don't let that be defeating. I was told once that all we need to do is make the corner of the world we live in better. Find a path that lights the fire inside you and follow it relentlessly.
Comprising for something you feel is good enough will smother you. If the door of opportunity swings open, say yes to it and walk through with an unabated confidence.
7. I hope you eat more ice cream.
When the Argentinean poet Jorge Luis Borges was asked on his deathbed what he wished he had done more of, he said he wished he had eaten more ice cream. I always took this to heart. Don't apologize for or deny yourself life's pleasures. No matter how prolific your life may be, it's the little pleasures that feed the soul. You deserve them all.
8. I hope you take the time to drink a bottle of red wine by a fire.
Our minds are often pushed toward worry for the future or regret from the past. This only serves to push us out of the moment where the real magic happens. Take a deep breath and look around you. I promise the wine will become sweeter and the fire warmer. In short, romance the moment.
9. I hope you always ask questions.
A curious heart is never bored. I have my best friend to thank for teaching me this. There's only one secret to social and professional success, and that is to stay curious. More specifically ask questions and allow yourself to truly hear them answered.
10. I hope you get out of your comfort zone.
A life of adventure is the greatest gift you can give yourself. The only way to understand what you're capable of is to step outside the world you know and push yourself toward parts unknown. Our being craves the lessons only an adventure can teach. Never deny yourself the chance to grow.
Your big brother forever