You’re about to embark on a new and exciting journey. High School was just the beginning. I can still remember just how crazy graduation day felt for me. Part of me was sad. Part of me was ready to take on the world and kick its ass. But a huge part of me was scared. In a crazy, exciting, no idea what’s next kinda way. I was no longer a kid. Officially an adult. Ready to do adult stuff and I had no idea what that meant.
I remember the day your mom and I brought you home. I couldn’t believe the hospital trusted us with a tiny little baby! I was clueless. But there you were. Our perfect baby daughter. As with most parents we both had visions of what you would become as you grew up. We quickly realized you were determined to create your own path pretty much from day one. You were always so smart, stubborn and funny as a little kid. Watching you grow up into the woman you are today makes me very proud.
I know our lives haven’t been perfect. Life hasn’t always been easy for you and Hanna. As a family we hit some serious rough patches. You had every opportunity to fail, fall behind, or drop into a dark place. I was never the best father or family man. I’ve always been kind of a disaster. I know that. I wish I could take credit for how well you turned out, but I can’t. It’s been all you. The woman you have become through all this craziness simply amazes me. I'm pretty sure you taught me more about being an adult than I taught you about being a child.
All that said, I’ve lived on this earth a long time and I actually learned a few things that have made my life exciting and fulfilling. I have some advice for both 18 year old Danni as well as future old lady Danni.
When it comes to hard work, a good effort is never time wasted. Even when the result is failure. You will respect yourself more knowing you did your best. The lessons learned from coming up short and not meeting your goals can be just as important as success.
When it comes to love, never let the fear of being hurt hold you back from loving someone the way you would want to be loved. Start with trust. Go all in. Be passionate about it. Love is a wonderful thing. Even when it doesn’t work out. Don’t ever lose faith in love.
Family. Keep your siblings close as you get older. Include your other brothers too. Family is everything. Don’t forget that. You will need them one day and they will no doubt need you. I don’t know what I would do without my sister. Don’t tell her I said that.
I’d also like to share one of my favorite quotes “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed in the things you didn’t do than by the things you did.” There is some discrepancy on the internet of who wrote that. But he or she is a freaking genius in my book.
Enjoy your youth. Find some way to recognize how special being 18 with your whole life ahead of you is. Seriously think about this moment. It won’t last as long as you think. My advice is work hard, play hard, and love even harder and you will have an incredible life to look back on one day with content, satisfaction, and most importantly, no regrets.
I think all my advice has a common theme. Live a full life Danni. Be fearless, be adventurous, and take risks. DO NOT be afraid to fail because time flies by so fast kiddo. Don’t waste a single day of it on fear.
Today your identity as a high school kid is over. The next chapter is up to you and I'm very excited to watch my smart, stubborn and funny daughter blaze her own path. The future is yours Danni.