Love, Dad

Dear Jessica,

I was thinking about you and your brother over lunch today, and I wanted to share with you a couple of things that popped into my mind. I have a 32-year head start on you, and I discovered a few things along the way, mostly from making mistakes and learning from them.

You have heard some of this before, but it never hurts to remind oneself of some basic life lessons. You may think this is really corny, and it is okay if you do not agree with me. As a teenager, you really are not expected to!

1. Happiness is in the journey, not the destination! (You will not really understand this until you get older.)

2. Hard work and 100 percent effort is always recognized by others, always admired, and always rewarded, sometimes indirectly or in the future!

3. There is no substitute for hard work!

4. Ten percent of the people do 90 percent of the work! (It used to be 20 percent do 80 percent of the work, but people have gotten lazier!)

5. Only boring people get bored!

6. Never wait for the phone to ring or for someone else to call you! (Except boys). You need to take control of your life and make the calls!

7. The only people who do not like you are the people who do not know you!

8. Faking happiness actually works, and pulls you out of a bad mood! PFE! (Plenty of False Enthusiasm!)

9. Nothing stays the same, ever! Things always change and someday you will be the older generation, and your kids will look at you like you are stupid.

10. Whether something really, really good happens, or really, really bad happens, remember the saying, “This Too Shall Pass.” (See #9)

11. The hardest thing in life is to learn to love yourself, be okay with making mistakes, and believe in yourself every minute of every day!

12. Everyone wants to tell you their story. Take time to look in people’s eyes and really listen to them. It is okay if you do not agree with them, they just need someone to share their story with.

13. Something good you do today will always come back and reward you, maybe not today but sometime in the future. (See #1)

14. Practice random acts of kindness. (See #11)

15. You are not on this journey called life by yourself! You have a “life team” made up of your family, friends, teachers, pastors, etc. Tell everyone your goals, dreams, and aspirations, and they will miraculously help you obtain what you want in life. Tell the “Universe” what you want, and it will materialize with hard work. (See #3)

16. Break the rules once in a while! Life is too short! Just be safe, smart about it, and try not to get caught! (You also will not understand this until you get older.)

17. Always speak from your heart, not your head. (It really works!) Slow down and appreciate the small, simple things in life. Be grateful for everything!

18. The number one most important thing to have is a good sense of humor! Find friends in life who make you laugh and try not to take life too seriously! Have some fun along the way, you deserve it!—Love, Dad

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