So I have a new niece, yep, that’s her, she’s beautiful and great, and I’m saying that as a loving uncle, you know, completely unbiased. But she is also my brother’s child, obviously, who is agnostic, and his fiancé, who is a Christian, so I have to find a way to encourage my niece to be a free thinker without stepping on toes, I hope I can succeed. This is my first foray, it’s written to be performed at her high school graduation, but I don’t know if I can wait that long, and I’ll be fifty-*mumblemumblemumble* at the time. Enjoy, share, suggest more advice to add in the comments.
To my new niece Bryce
on the occasion of your graduation from high school,
some words of advice
before you leave us to make your way in the world:
This society will attempt to compartmentalize you,
place you in boxes so they no longer
have to consider you,
be it the female box,
the male box,
the office worker box,
or the artist box.
Refuse to be boxed,
because normalcy is the pursuit of the unimaginative,
the person the little kid in you
always imagined you would be,
learn to love life like you used to,
refuse to reminisce
about the joys of childhood,
and instead work to haul them
into your everyday.
Get lost in day dreams made reality,
play days played out as your daily routine,
make friends with someone
because they sat next to you,
be the kid you miss,
craft the childhood
you never had a chance to experience.
set precedents, do something new
have never included in your list of attributes,
like I never heard of a brother making cheesecakes,
Djing, racing cars, and writing poetry,
never met a man that managed to raise two kids,
one bi-coastal, on a poets salary,
never met a radio personality who persistently
exceeded expectations in pursuit of his dreams.
shun those who would attempt
to claim pride in your work
without doing work of their own.
be intentional in words and deeds
and you will never have to utter another
phrase of remorse for the ill conceived
perceptions of others.
If they don’t understand you,
there are those who will.
Never let “show some respect”
be synonymous with “shut up,”
have enough respect
for the strength and courage of others
to tell them the uncomfortable truth,
especially when they ask for it.
Life is too short to live with regret,
tomorrow may always be a day away,
but death is always lurking,
and society will attempt to convince you
that your bucket list can be put on hold,
when in reality your bucket is always with you,
waiting to be kicked,
it is the uncomfortable truth
of our fragile existence,
but something that we must all come to grips with
old and young alike.
This is the only life
you are guaranteed,
live like it.
You are the consequence of chances
of unimaginable proportions,
Every person you meet,
is living an equally improbable life,
and should be treasured in each encounter,
act like it.
Awake with the realization
that today has the potential to be
the best day of your life,
and love like it.
End each day,
saying there is nothing I would do differently,
even when you can’t recall
exactly what you’ve done,
and sleep like it.
Remember that she who has the most toys,
Live life without clutter,
live life without fear,
live life without surplus,
so that when you do
finally meet death,
it will not find you wanting.
Find eternity in memory,
turn legendary possibility
into manifested reality,
and never doubt that my love for you,
comes without condition.
Victor Harris © 2012
Beautiful. There are a lot of good pieces of advice here. I think you got the “Don’t procrastinate, move it, move it!” thing down perfectly.
One thing I would tell my high school self:
“Be ambititous and courteous”
Also, Victor… will you be my uncle?
Well said as always! Thank you for sharing so others nieces and nephews may take these words and run.
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. Both the poem and the photo of your niece.