When I was in my early 20s, I had a framed print of these song lyrics (I’m a music junkie) on the wall in my apartment –

I love this crazy, tragic,
Sometimes almost magic,
Awful, beautiful life

I find that to be as true now as I did then.

Life is not always beautiful, but it really is a beautiful ride. Sometimes it takes getting past the moment and looking back to really believe that. It’s wild to think of the vast amount of lessons we learn as the years pass. Like, if we could just flash forward to the end, grab a hold of the wisdom and pop back down to 15 years old… nah, being young wouldn’t be nearly as much fun if we knew any better. However, a sprinkle of that wisdom could certainly save us a little-wasted energy and heartache and might even change the way we love ourselves and treat other people.

I’m only 34, but I have experienced a lot of life in my years. There has been an abundance of good (great) and a pretty decent dose of bad. Don’t take that the wrong way – I wouldn’t change a thing. Fortunately, I believe every challenge is an opportunity, so I’m only better for all of the mistakes I have made or crap that has come my way. Hey Darkness, you have absolutely nothing on the Light.

Photograph by Carrin Lewis

Over the last four years, I have made one of the greatest transitions of my life – from Wild Child to (Wild) Mama. Whoa. Those two little girls are the most precious, beautiful and perfect human beings that ever walked the Earth. Don’t get me wrong – most days feel like total madness, but it’s totally worth it. When they run to me with their little arms open and squeeze my neck so tight, there is nothing else like it. I think about how much I love them and it feels like my heart could explode.

I want my girls to have the most incredible life. I am not naive (well-experienced Wild Child, remember?). I know people are going to love them like crazy, but too many will break their hearts. I know they will make the team, but also be cut. I know they will win the game, but also lose. I know they will be confident but also doubt themselves. I know they will feel strong and be brave, but also scared and want to give up. I know they will make some great choices and some not-so-great. I know I can’t save them from struggle, but I can share a few pieces of hard-earned wisdom that I hold close to my heart in hopes that it might encourage and inspire them to be strong, love hard and live their very best life. 

Emily and Callie – this is for you, my profoundly beautiful girls.

  1. God is bigger than you, and He is bigger than your problems.
  2. Be present in every moment. Tomorrow is not promised and life goes by so fast. 
  3. Your self-worth is determined by you, not anyone else. 
  4. You only get one body. Respect it. Listen to it. Make healthy choices. And when you can, train hard. 
  5. Pretty is as pretty does. Look for the best in everyone and be kind to everyone. We are all fighting some kind of battle.
  6. Keep an open mind. Diversity is a good thing. 
  7. When something speaks to your heart, listen. Chase your dreams. Let your soul shine. 
  8. Make your own path. You don’t need to follow anyone else’s. 
  9. Challenge yourself. Don’t take the easy way out. You are capable of far more than you can imagine. 
  10. Don’t spend so much money on stuff that you don’t have any left for experiences, because they’re more important. 
  11. Find the balance.
  12. Travel more. Explore. Adventure. Spend as much time as possible outdoors.
  13. Always be brave. Do not be afraid to stand alone. 
  14. Come to your own defense when and wherever it is needed.
  15. Guard your heart; it is your most valuable possession.
  16. When people show you who they are, believe them.
  17. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.
  18. It is wonderfully liberating, to be honest.
  19. Follow through. If you say you’re going to do something, do it. 
  20. It’s called giving because it is a gift; not only for them but for you as well.
  21. The ship of life sails on many different seas – whether it’s stormy or sunny, maintain an attitude of gratitude.
  22. Happiness is a choice. Most people are as happy as they make up their mind to be. 
  23. Do the right thing, even when it’s the hard thing.
  24. Don’t lose your Wild.
  25. When you make a mistake, you better learn the lesson.
  26. Ask for help when you need it.
  27. If you need to reset, Bob Marley usually does the trick. That, and deep breaths. Oh, and yoga. Definitely yoga. 
  28. Express yourself with some form of art.
  29. Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.
  30. Above all else, life is about love. 

My sweet girls – may you always know that you are enough. Do not be afraid to grow and evolve, but know that you are already perfect. Follow your hearts. Love one another. Shine brightly. The world is a better place with the two of you in it. You are MY light. 


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