We were raised in different households by different parents. We have only been in each other’s lives for three years, and every day for the past two. You are not biologically my sister, but I claim you as my own because I love you. We bicker like siblings and share shoes, hair things, and advice like sisters.
Today is your graduation day. I wasn’t there through all your struggles for the past almost eighteen years. For the last two, however, I have watched and shared in your struggles and triumphs. I couldn’t be prouder of who you are, even when you drive me crazy. In a few months we will both be leaving the house we call home headed in very different directions on new journeys.
You like to call me old. For you, the seven years separating us are huge, but someday you too will be old like me! As you graduate, I want to give you a little advice. You’re going to roll your eyes, and I know you will not listen to me. I will give it to you anyways.
Remember you have time. You’re young. So young. The world is yours. I mean it. You have time. So much time in front of you. So take it. Use your time to have fun. Take every vacation. Stay up late. Call your friends late at night and wake them up just to talk. Go swinging or swimming. Skip class to have an adventure (gasp!!!) Don’t do it all the time. Do it very little, actually. But there will be occasions or activities that come up you don’t want to miss, so don’t miss them. Sometimes class should be second, but always get notes. Spend your time on things you think matter because you can always make more money or buy new clothes or replace something, but time can never be bought or retrieved. You’re young, so young, so be young and enjoy all your time.
Don’t let other people influence you. You will have friends and family and complete strangers try to tell you what to do. There are moments when every fiber of your being is telling you to do the exact opposite, so listen to your heart. It will guide you. The worst thing in the world is regret, and sometimes listening to other people won’t be in your best interest. So think, weigh, and decide. Make sure it’s smart, safe, and not hurting anyone, but do what is best for you.
Get rid of shitty people. The world is full of false friends; never feel bad for erasing toxic people from your life. Sometimes it will hurt and sometimes it will be a relief, but I guarantee you will be happier without them.
Have two great friends. Have a bunch of friends. Friends from cheer, friends from high school, friends from elementary school, friends from work, friends from college, but have two great friends. Friends who will never hurt you. Friends who will never leave you. Friends who will put you first. Friends who aren’t afraid to tell you you’re being a bitch. Friends who are kind, loyal, giving, happy, and supportive. Make sure you can call them anytime anywhere. These are the friends you will need forever.
Do not ever be ashamed of who you are or what you’ve been through. Be genuinely, unabashedly, absolutely you. Never pretend to be someone you’re not, or hide who you are. Because you are perfect. It’s cliche, but if people don’t like you, they don’t deserve to be in your life. End of discussion.
Keep your heart open. To people, experiences, everything! Fall in love with life. It is full of so many unexpected things you would never know about if your heart is closed. Keep it open even when you don’t want to!
People like to say graduating high school is like closing a door. That is a lie. Life is never a series of closing doors, instead it is a continuation. You can never truly have a fresh start, and that’s ok. It’s good actually. Life is a series of events building one on top of another to create the amazing woman you were, are, and will become. Never let one moment define you because there are so many moments behind you and infinite possibilities ahead. You are young, revel in it!
My biggest and most important piece of advice to you is this: Continue being yourself. You are one of the kindest people I know. You have the biggest heart, and an eternal optimist. You have absolutely no idea how often you have turned my day around. The past two years have been some of the happiest because of you have been a part of my life. Thank you for being my little sister, my confidant, my criticism, my fashion police, my sharer of hair things, my optimist, my cuddle buddy, my ridiculous amount of peppy. I had never wanted a sister. Now that I have one, I can’t ever imagine my life without you.
So my very last piece of advice is less advice and more of a demand. When you go to college. Stay in touch. Text me whenever wherever. Call me even though I hate talking on the phone. I will love hearing from you, and I will actually answer. I spent 22 years without a sister, and I plan on keeping you forever.
Love Always and Forever and Ever Your Big Sister,