Unsolicited Advice for My Three Sons, In No Particular Order
Rufus Griscom

These are all great pieces of advise! I would just make one adjustment and two additions:

  • Adjustment: Have kids if you want to, but do not feel forced to. Have kids if you want to and can give them the love and support that your own parents continue to give you — if not more. This applies to both biological and adopted children, which I believe are equally special. A lot of people feel so forced to have kids, and that can partly be attributed to a common notion that every person must get married and have kids in order to have a “good” life. But that is not the case. That notion is simply (or not so simply) a social construct that many people strictly believe in. (I could go on about how this notion privileges some while simultaneously disenfranchising others, but I will save that for another discussion.) But there is absolutely nothing wrong with being an uncle or family friend. There is also nothing wrong with adopting or fostering children. You can be great with kids without having your own. Your life, and its quality, does not depend on whether or not you become a parent. It can certainly be a part of your life, but it is not the only option to living a meaningful life. But if you want to, do it. Ultimately, the choice will be up to you and, if applicable, your partner.
  • Addition 1: Learn the meaning of no. It may seem harsh, but I truly mean this with the best of intentions. In life, we cannot always have what we want. And that is okay! We all want what we cannot have. And when we finally get something we want, we usually want something better. I guess that is just life. But it is so disheartening to see kids who have been “raised properly” (whatever that means) make stupid decisions that end up affecting them for the rest of their, and others’, lives. I know your parents are wonderful and love you so much, because this post would have never been written if they did not. So please do not do anything that would severely disappoint them. Learn the meaning of no in all of its contexts, from job offers to dating. The word symbolizes rejection, but rejection is not always a bad thing. It makes us stronger, wiser, and even opens up opportunities in our lives. Get comfortable with rejection. It can be painful sometimes, but rejecting a rejection (in some contexts) is even more painful.
  • Addition 2: Be your authentic self. You are worth it. Be your authentic self whether your authentic self wears baseball hats, tiaras, a combination of both, or neither. Unapologetically fall in love with others and yourself. Build a life based on the true you. Your parents will love you because you are an enormous part of their lives and a love like theirs is unconditional. Believe me, living your life authentically will set you free.