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Dear Son: These Are the 5 Best Decisions You’ll Ever Make

Image source: Shutterstock
Image source: Shutterstock

My Dear Son,

Lately you’ve been hearing a lot about how the decisions you make today affect all your tomorrows. I see you taking it all in. Worrying. Wondering.

You mentioned there didn’t seem to be room for mistakes anymore. I tried to assure you mistakes were yours for the making — a rite of passage, if you will, of growing up. You didn’t seem so sure and I think I know why.

We’re a lot alike, you and I. We’re careful and discerning. But more than that, we hate being wrong  especially about the big stuff. And your future, yeah, that’s pretty big, but maybe it doesn’t have to feel quite so scary. You’ll make a lot of heavy choices in your life from here on out, but rest assured, these five decisions can never be wrong:

1. The decision to ask for help.

If I’ve learned one thing in life, it’s that we can’t go through it alone. We can try. We can pretend. But we won’t succeed. The decision to ask for help is one of the bravest and smartest things you can ever do for yourself, and I would know. I suffered with anxiety and depression much longer than I should have. I tried to exercise, sleep, eat, shop, and meditate my way out of it for years, but when it became clear I’d never be the mother, wife, or friend I wanted to be without help, I finally worked up the courage to ask. So please ask. Good help is always worth the ask.

2. The decision to travel.

Travel has the power to change you in ways I’ve only read about. In my 40 years, I’ve only managed to visit two countries and nine states (including layovers). Please take (or make!) the opportunity to travel, even if the idea scares you little. Study abroad if you can. Backpack through Europe. Visit your extended family in the Philippines. Become the global citizen you’ve always wanted to be. Maybe one day I’ll work up the courage to join you.

3. The decision to fall in love.

Falling in lust is easy. Falling in love, well, that’s a little lot scarier. What if s/he doesn’t feel the same way? What s/he breaks your heart? What if you’re too young? What if you come from two different worlds? Honey, your parents know a lot about love in unfavorable circumstances, and I’m here to tell you love is worth it.

4. The decision to take a chance on yourself.

You can do hard things; just look at you! Nine weeks ago you went from couch potatoing to running 36 miles a week on your high school cross-country team. You are a constant evolution capable of creating a future on your terms. Up until about six years ago, I wouldn’t have thought the same for myself. Stuck in a terrible job with little hope for the future, I took one baby step out in faith and everything changed.

5. The decision to come back home.

They say you can never come home. I say it depends on your parents. Try life. Live it to the best of your abilities, but if you ever need to come back home for a hard reset, home is always here. While we take the job of raising you to be independent very seriously, I’d like to think your courage and determination are that much stronger for knowing our home is your home.

Now, go out there and get dirty. Mess up proper and do better next time. Follow your heart and listen to your gut. You know more that you think … and what you don’t know you’ll learn — make no mistake about it.

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