You’re 18 today. I remember the day you were born and while it doesn’t seem like yesterday, it definitely doesn’t seem like it was eighteen years ago. You’re going off to college in a few months and while I know very little about anything, I thought I’d offer you some advice.
- Experience as much as you can (SAFELY!) while still getting your homework done.
- Be in awe of the opportunities you have and take advantage of them.
- Don’t feel trapped. You’re never really trapped. If you decide what you’re planning on doing with your life isn’t what you want to do, switch courses. Being expected to know what you want to do for the rest of your life at age 18 is insane. Frankly, being expected to know what you want to do for the rest of your life at my age (well over 18) is insane, too.
- What makes one person happy makes another miserable. Find your own road and make sure that road is the road you want to take (not the road anyone else is telling you to take).
- It’s important to be kind to others, but the most important person to be kind to is yourself.
Here are some quotes I’ve collected over the years to inspire myself and I hope a few or all will help you, if not now, then someday.
“Be brave enough to break your own heart.” – Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild and Tiny Beautiful Things. I have a poster with that saying on it and some of the best days I’ve had are days when I take that advice to heart.
“Don’t plant your bad days. They grow into weeks. The weeks grow into months. Before you know it, you got yourself a bad year. Take it from me. Choke those little bad days. Choke ’em down to nothin’.”- Tom Waits
“Everyone must dream. We dream to give ourselves hope. To stop dreaming- well, that’s like saying you can never change your fate.”- Amy Tan
“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.'”- Mary Anne Radmacher
“There’s power in looking silly and not caring that you do.”- Amy Poehler
“Only hang around people that are positive and make you feel good. Anybody who doesn’t make you feel good, kick them to the curb and the earlier you start in your life, the better. The minute anybody makes you feel weird and non-included or not supported, you know, either beat it or tell them to beat it.” That’s another Amy Poehler quote. Just listen to pretty much anything Amy Poehler says. She’s the best person ever. (Besides you.)
Always remember that I love and continually root for you.
15 responses to “To my niece on her 18th birthday”
What great advice for your niece, or anybody. That Tom Waits quote really speaks to me. Thank you.
Got to love Tom Waits. Thank you!
Thanks for all the additions to my (already lengthy) quote list!
I seem to find a new inspirational quote everyday. I didn’t put every quote I wanted to in the post. Maybe that will be her graduation gift.
Wonderful post, Aisha! Now you’ve got me thinking of advice for my 24 year old niece who will be married this August.
LOVE this! I wish there were a time machine so that someone could send this to me on my 18th birthday!
Thanks! Me, too. But better that we know them now than never.
Yeah! The Tom Waits quote is brilliant. Great piece here!!!
Tom Waits is brilliant in lots of ways. Thanks.
Tom Waits and Amy Poehler in one post is amazing! My niece my only be 12 but when she gets older I hope to remind her of this post.
Do you watch the Ask Amy videos on YouTube? Amy Poehler has a Smart Girls channel and she does advice videos. I think they’re aimed at pre-teens and teens, but I find them very helpful, too. She did one on courage last week that was really motivating.
This was lovely, thank you for sharing!
Thanks. Thank you for reading!
I was inspired to share this with my sixteen year old niece, the advice and the quotes are something to take to heart no matter what our ages, my compliments on your posts.