Friday, July 02, 2010

An Open Letter to My Sister

Dear Lilly,

You just turned thirteen yesterday and I know how exciting it can be. You're going to be an eighth grader in the fall, then at high school...then wherever life leads you. You're really on your way. But right now, you're really at the beginning. Society paints the picture that your childhood is over. Time to strap down and get your head in the game. Focus on what is important to you so you can be successful later in life. Time to buckle down now that you're a teenager, right?

For the most part, I agree. I only have six more months to be a teenager, and you're just starting out on this rocky, winding road. I understand the need to try your hardest to be something great. But during the next seven years, the best piece of advice I can give you is to never lose sight of yourself. I can wait for you to laugh. But nothing can ring more true. In the next years, you're going to experience more than you could ever imagine. Things like the stereotypical peer pressure, heartbreak, and some of the best times of your life. But when you're living your life, don't be afraid of making mistakes. Plenty of them. I know I have, and so has everyone else that has ever been in your thirteen-year-old shoes. (Though your shoes may be bigger and wider than most.) The next seven years are for learning from your mistakes and successes and having fun.

But while you're doing so, I'd say never forget what is important to you. That may change; when I was your age, I had loved art for years. You know that I don't draw or paint anymore and was over that phase when I was fifteen. But I kept it up and harbored that passion while it was there. Over time, I realized my different passions for writing and journalism, and I ran with them while I could. I think that once you realize what is important to you in life, whether it be your basketball, soccer, or whatever else you may pick up on the way, you need to devote your passion to it so that you can be all that you want to be. While it's there, however long that may be, always give it everything you've got. You only have one life to live out everything you want to be. I know it sounds cheesy, but I also know it's true. So, if you have the chance, just go for it. I went out on a limb when I decided to sign up for the high school newspaper at seventeen. I had no idea what I was doing. Now I'm a journalism major. Sometimes, if you don't take unpredictable steps, you may not find what you were cut out to do. Don't be afraid to try something that you may think you'll never be good at it or that you won't fit in. Try everything on for size.

You're also going to meet a lot of dumb boys and a lot more dumb girls over the next few years. In the moment they may break your heart, stab you in the back, or just not make any sense. Some experiences will definitely be better than others. I'm not trying to scare you off, but these are the experiences that you will learn the most from. You will learn a lot about how other people work as well as a lot about yourself. And although I didn't really fall and have my first relationship til I was nineteen, I'm always here to give you the advice only an older sister could provide. You see, I kind of had the benefit of the doubt my teen years; I may have not experienced most things myself at this time, but all of my friends were going through every boy-related experience imaginable and went to their single, open-minded friend (ME) for advice. I've heard it all. That being said, I can help you with the girl problems too. They aren't as sweet as they can come off to be, but that right there is half the fun.

Fun. You're going to have a lot of it. Think about all you have to look forward to! You still have your eighth grade dance, freshman orientation, driver's ed, prom, and graduation. And that's just naming the big ones! In between all that, I know you're going to have a blast with your sports and whatever else you may find that interests you along the way. You're going to do great. I can honestly say that I already know that this is true.

So, welcome to the teen years. You're not a kid anymore, and you're not an adult. You're at the inbetween where it's expected and encouraged to screw up, fall down, and always get back up. You may walk out with a few scars (I know everyone has) but they are going to make you, YOU. However you lead your life through your teen years says a lot about your character and the woman you are going to be. Do what you feel is right, have fun, and never lose sight of yourself.


P.S. Hope you don't mind that I borrowed some pictures I found on your you ;)


Autumn said...

So awesome. I wish I'd had somebody to give me advice like this when I was that age.

Melissa Blake said...

this is pure beauty, jessi :) Your sister is lucky to have you.

Sunny Insomniac said...


Beautifully written, as always! I loved this line:

"Sometimes, if you don't take unpredictable steps, you may not find what you were cut out to do."

That is so true, and so difficult as a teen. This post gave me hope about my own daughter, who will be there in ten short years! Thanks for the insightful post.

Write on.

~Sunny Insomniac

Erica said...

so sweet

Insomniac said...

that is so sweet,

its awesome how you love your sister so much, and I think this is the best advice you can give to a person her age, great write!

ThaliaGrace said...

Jessi, I have to ask you for some advice. Hope you don't mind. One of my best friends has two older brothers and a younger sister. Her brothers are both in highschool, but one is homeschooled. Well anyway, the oldest was giving me advice on what to do when I get to public highschool. He said that whatever I do, I'll want to fit in as much as possible and try not to draw attention to myself. But I just want to be me, even if it means being a target for bullies. (they do have them is highschool, right?) Do you know what will happen if I act like me and be crazy at school (not in classes)? What do you think I should do?

Deidra said...

"Take unexpected steps"...that's some great advice. I might have to take it myself, even though I'm not as young as your sister anymore. :)

Katlyn said...

Aw... This is so sweet. She must be very proud having you as her sister.

Chusnul Khairuddin said...

I am ten years older than your little sister, Lilly. But I still can find your advices relevant to me.

I never knew what it was like having a big sister. I only know I have a younger one and she's wiser than me. So I never wrote any letter to her. Should I?

Sweet post, jessi. Do your sister write a blog? :)

Ms. Chyme said...

Hi! I just found your blog and i like it.


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