This week, my little sister is turning 16-years-old.
It is so hard to believe. I still remember her as being at least a foot shorter than me with a gap between her two front teeth and wanting to shop at Justice whenever we went to the mall.
Turning 16 years old is a milestone, one of the most major ones of the teenage years.
So, my little sissy, this is for you.
1. Get involved.
Now is the time of your life to join random clubs or groups. It is the time to explore all of the possibilities of things that interest you.
Do not hold back. Just go for it.
2. You are way cooler than any boy.
Yes, it is a novelty to have a boyfriend at this time in your life. You might see your life revolving around him. Please remember that you are so much cooler than any boy. One day, you will find a great guy who lacks drama and other negative things.
3. Do not give in to peer pressure.
During this time, maybe your friends are trying new things and want you to try them, too. However, if you are uncomfortable doing something and do not want to do it, then do not do it.
4. Tell Mom and Dad that you appreciate them.
I am sure they might be a bit tougher on you now that I am away at college and not home all of the time. However, they have your best interests at heart. They care about you more than anything in the world. Tell them how much you appreciate and love them; that will make them so happy.
5. Our dogs know everything.
Honestly, if our dogs do not like somebody, chances are they probably are not worth liking for some reason. Listen to the puppers.
6. Eat a cookie (or two or three or four).
Food is something meant to be enjoyed. No food is inherently “good” or “bad.” If you want something, do not deprive yourself of it. Learn from my mistakes here.
7. Learn from my mistakes.
You saw me through my worst relationship and my hardest classes. You saw how I handled myself or, sometimes, how I lacked on taking proper care of myself. Please learn from my mistakes. No need to repeat the past.
8. Talk about yourself.
We are often taught to be modest and to not brag about ourselves. However, if you are proud of yourself, share it. You deserve to feel that pride. You deserve to feel happy.
9. It is OK not to be OK.
For some reason, I thought that I always needed to portray a facade of happiness and optimism even when I was at my lowest points. It is perfectly OK to not feel OK and it is perfectly OK to show that.
10. Please know your worth.
You are so intelligent, beautiful, hilarious, and have so many other positive attributes going for you. Do not settle or let anyone trample over you; you are worth so much more than that.
11. Call people on the phone.
Stop Snapchatting and texting everything. Give someone a phone call or even a call via Skype. It is so much more personal. You will create so many more memories from hour-long phone calls than you will from Snapchatting pictures of your latest meal.
12. Embrace fear.
Yes, life is scary. The future is ominous. However, if you do not take chances, you will not get where you want to. Take a chance and face the fear.
13. Drink water.
Yes, it sounds stupid, but it is something that I am so bad at. Keep a water bottle in your backpack and drink it. Then fill it up and drink it again. And again. And again.
14. Thank God.
It is easy to get caught up in life, but always remember to pray to and talk to God.
15. Do what you want to do.
Do not base your decisions in life on other people's’ happiness. The main person who you need to make happy is you.
16. You can always turn to me.
You know how we always say "sissys by chance, besties by choice"? Well, I mean it. I will always be here for you, no matter what. You will never be alone.