On the eve of my 43rd birthday, and a few days before your sixth, there are a few things I wanted to share with you. By no means are they words of wisdoms or great splashes from the fountain of knowledge. I don’t think I’ve got my shit together to be dishing out advice, even on my 43rd trip around the sun.
Emma, life isn’t easy, and contrary to popular belief, practice doesn’t make perfect. Closer to 50 than I’d like to be, I make mistakes on a daily basis. I learn from some, and others seem to be on repeat. I guess it’s true what they say, that until you’ve learnt a lesson, the lesson, it’ll keep showing itself. Mistakes are fine to make. But I’d suggest you acknowledge them, learn from them and then move on. Don’t wallow in it. Don’t let it define you. There will be a hundred more to come, and a hundred more after that.
I look at old photos of me with a little bit of sadness, realizing only now that I wasn’t actually THAT fat or THAT ugly. Embrace you as you are now. Every moment. Appreciate the fat days cos you’ll feeling amazing on your ‘skinny’ ones. Love your hair, your smile, your feet, your fingers. Love every inch of yourself cos no one else will. Not like you can. Love yourself. Let it seep from every perfect pore in your body. You will only ever be as beautiful as you believe. So believe it. Build a shrine to it. And live in it.
My angel child, if I’ve learnt anything, it’s there’s no such as thing as normal. ‘Normal’ doesn’t exist and as long as you try to be that, you’ll always be ‘abnormal’. If you ever need to change something about yourself to fit in then rather move on. Take a stand Emma. For what you believe in. For what you want. Be flexible with some things. But never with your values and beliefs.
Sometimes, when it’s quiet and I have a little time to myself, I find myself thinking, about decisions made, or avoided, things I should have said, or not, and sadly I realize I have a lot of regrets. Emma, youth might be wasted be on the young but regret will slowly eat away at you as you get older. My wish for you is that you regret nothing. Nothing at all. Don’t waste your time loving someone who doesn’t love you back. Don’t be unhappy in a job for a day, a week, a year. Don’t stay in a relationship because you think you should. Don’t hurt people intentionally but don’t be a pushover. Travel the world. See South Africa. Take the path least travelled. Have a holiday fling. Hell, have three or four. Fall in love with a Frenchman and a Scot. You have to hear ‘I love you’ in one of these accents at least once in your life.
Emma you can be the cleverest girl in the room, you can be the most successful. You can be the richest and the prettiest, but if you can’t be nice to people, genuinely nice, then none of that matters. Always say please and thank you, always accept compliments with gratitude and grace. Stay humble and true. Be the friend you would want to have. Don’t gossip or spread rumours, don’t get involved with drama and definitely don’t be the drama. Achieve your goals and dreams with integrity and Emma, if you need to tell people you have that, then you probably don’t.
Trust your gut. Always. Help those that need it, and do it with an open heart. Do it not expecting anything in return.
As miserable and as shitty as this life can be, it’s also a gift. Enjoy each and every moment and bask in it. Love madly, speak loudly, dance wildly.
March to the rhythm of your own drum. Sing in the shower, in the car, in the lift. Skip if you feel like it. Play hopscotch and jump in puddles. Do cartwheels and handstands. Wear that bikini. Wear those shorts.
Grab life with both hands and live it, so that when you’re sitting on a couch, on the eve of your 43rd birthday, you’ll have some advice that you can share.
These almost six years with you have gone by in a flash. They are filled with moments that have made my heart overflow and memories that’ll stay with me forever.
From the first time I saw you I knew I would never need anything else. You are my greatest gift xxx