For My Niece on the Day of Her Birth

Welcome. Your parents, your grandparents, your sibling and cousins, and me are so happy to have you.

I know it’ll be a long time before you are able to read, but I want you to have this when you’re older, so you know someone was thinking of you. I love you very much already.

I have a few things to tell you about the world and how to navigate it. At this very moment, I’m a very newly fledged adult, so others might scoff at my ideas. Nevertheless, I’ve learned their merit through experience. But enough chatter.

As a baby is born, it leaves the warm wet fortress of its mother’s body and enters a loud, cold, frenetic place and detaches from the person who has been their anchor since their existence began. You won’t remember your birth; none of us do. But there will be such moments when you must transition in your future. You did it once, you can do it again.

Take care of yourself. You can care for no one if you aren’t nourished at all levels. Misery doesn’t equal virtue.

A wise man once said that humans were part animal, part angel; this is true. Many get caught up in an inner fight, but this is not the way to be ‘good’. You must love and control your animal self and love and respect your angel self.

Don’t be a sheeple. Take information into your own hands; don’t blindly trust anyone, no matter what ‘authority’ they have.

Intelligence isn’t fixed; neither is grace, virtue, grit, etc. You can think of most of your traits as muscles that can be flexed. Don’t give up because you aren’t good at something the first time, because it’s always going to be awful the first time. That is how you learn.

Perfectionism is a cruel trap. In a world with entropy, perfection cannot be. Aim for good, aim for excellent; don’t aim for perfect.

Don’t shut yourself off from others; you will feel like you are dying inside. We need each other.

You are stronger than you know. Believe that. Push yourself.

Know your inner enemies.

Read, research, play, wander down hidden paths! Curiosity and daring are great gifts.

Know that while the world is often a dark and unforgiving place, it also has beauty and love and music and knowledge and grace. There is always a polarity.

Meditate. Contemplate. Write. Read. Wisdom comes in silence.

If you don’t value yourself, no admiration, no lover, no award, no promotion, no amount of money — nothing but self love and respect will fill that gap.

Never be afraid to be compassionate and giving.

Vulnerability isn’t weakness; it’s power.

Trust your intuition. Trust your gut.

You are here to learn a lesson from every person and every situation and every little moment; be awake.

Someone cares for you and will miss you even in your worst moment.

As another wise man said, ‘Be the change you want to see in the world’.

And finally, you have more power than you know. You have been an inspiration to me from afar to fight for good in my own way and not give up. As we all await you, we have been affected by you in more ways than you will probably ever know.

So, welcome. Welcome to the big, bad, exquisite world.