Ayanna, years ago, I held you in my arms. You had just been born and were in the world for the first time. And now you are an adult. Where has all that time gone? In reality, you are entering the world for the second time. You are leaving high school and going off to college...the second time of leaving home. The first time from your mother, which was a home, and this time, you are leaving your actual home. Bon voyage.
Each week for most of your life from around the time you were 2 or 3-years old to your senior year in high school, we would go to Dairy Queen or a similar place for a weekly treat and time together. We surely had fun together on our outings for much of your life. In a couple of months, you will be off to college. Over 50-years ago, I went off to college. I was delighted to be on my own...finally. Free at last. My parents drove me to college, unpacked the car full of all my stuff...and drove away. I was free...and alone for the first time. That experience was an emotional mixed bag. Yes, I wanted freedom, but the question was what was I going to do with my freedom?
And now a half century has come and gone. You are replicating what I did years ago. You will soon be own your own, which means that you will free but be on your own. It is an emotional mixed bag...trust me. As you approach that milestone in life, remember this: life isn't about finding yourself as if you were already lost. Life is about making yourself into the person that you want to be. Now, in all the years of time that we shared with each other, I have never given you any advice...have I? Okay., once or twice...a week or even more often.
Here is some additional words of wisdom as you soon venture off to college. Therefore, I'm writing these tidbits in this article and then put them on my webpage for you. So if you forget, you can go to Wolverton-Mountain or Wolverton-Mountain on Facebook and retrieve these pearls of wisdom. In this way, you won't have to memorize all these pearls.
- Life has been and will continue to be filled with pain. I have written about this for others, but if you missed it, read No Pain, No Gain. It is an article about famous people from Lynn Swann to Aung San Suu Kyi. Life is full of pain...that is a given. The question is what you do with the pain that is absolutely critical. Your choice will be addressing the pain or complaining about it. The former will make you great and the latter is a dead-end. Trust me.
- Fake it until you make it...no one else is out there having completely made it. You are entering a world filled with people still working at making it. While you are putting the pieces together of your life, put on your game face. It does at least two things: others will be impressed, and you will feel like you are in control. Trust me.
- Figure out what kind of person you wish to become...and begin today creating that person. Imagine the person you want to be 50-years from now. What do you want your life to be like? Now, what you want will change. Goals, directions, images, etc. will undoubtedly change, morph, and be modified. However, imagine what you want to be now...and work at acquiring that person. It will assure success in the long run. Trust me.
- Organize your day; schedule things. Don't allow life to schedule you; it will. If you plan your daily life, you will be amazed at just how much you get done. Try to schedule your daily routine into segments of time. If you don't, life has a way of doing it for you. Trust me.
- As with the scheduling, do things incrementally. Rome wasn't built in a day and neither will be your life. As you schedule your life, divide up the big picture into small pixels. Then tackle the pixels. The picture of your Rome will begin to take form through the process of pixelating your goals...both short and long term goals. Trust me.
- Success breeds success. A rolling stone gathers no moss. Once you succeed, start working on the next goal. Success breeds success. The alternative of sitting on your laurels will get you nowhere. Therefore, carpe diem. Trust me.
- Accept this reality: you are not perfect, and you won't ever be perfect. However, that truism is true for all the nearly 7-billions others out there in the world and all the billions over the past 200,000-years of human history. Be the best that you can be. Trust me.
- Exercise every day. Eat correctly. As with being perfect, our bodies aren't perfect. Some of that is genetic and some of that is by choice. However, we can do a great deal to help your body to function well and live a long life by exercise and what we eat. I am out in the kayak nearly every day since Ann and I came back from Scotland. Trust me.
- Look for the positive in everything. Life is more about how it is perceived than what is out there. Every problem or setback has some unforeseen positive aspect...if you look for it. You can't control everything in life, but you can control how you choose to deal with it. And therein lies a great secret of life. It is up to you to determine how you perceive things. Trust me.
- When you have a problem and don't know what to do, remember that I am here. Anytime and any hour, I'm available to talk to you. You can vent, cry, or debate. If all else fails, we can go to Dairy Queen and have what you called an Elmo treat many years ago. That's a promise. Trust me.
Lastly, I have loved your coming into my life 18-years ago. You have been a treat, you will continue to be...
The above photos were once upon a time and long ago...
The following are pictures at Ayanna's graduation and the party.