Ever really sat at wondered if you have any regrets in life? I can sum mine up in two words: making excuses. See the advice I gave to my 16 year old cousin approaching life’s challenges.

The weirdest thing happens to me + I wonder if anyone else feels it. Whenever I’m on a plane, I always find my head in the happiest of places, almost like… like I have my head in the clouds.

I do my best thinking when I’m without any WiFi, no distractions, no urge to randomly clean out a random drawer, or my closet. The last flight that I was on (my 6th of 2017 already), I had one of my best sessions. I quickly became emotional at the thought of my not so little cousin turning 16 in the next few days. I kept longing for the moments when she was small enough to hold + when she completed all her firsts.

My cousin + I have a creative relationship. We share secrets, insights, and advice. She comes to me with scary or exciting teen moments + she loves me enough to know that sometimes I have to give her tough love. But we have a bond that creates positives for the both of us; at an age difference of about 8 years, we both learn from each other.

For her birthday, we don’t normally do gifts cousin to cousin; other than the time she brought me an Herby Turkey from Brueggers. But I decided she needed to hear something that I’ve never been vulnerable enough to share with her. I won’t type out the whole four page letter but the briefings of my birthday letter to Willow are this:

“I don’t have many regrets in my soon to be 24 years of life but I will share all of them in one sentence: spending your days making excuses.”

Don’t make excuses for other people.

Nothing good comes out of hanging out with people or surrounding yourself with activities that you need to make excuses for. If you’re having to do this for someone, move along. It becomes an endless cycle. When making excuses / lying for someone or something, that’s your first warning sign to quit. While sticking up for them to make them appear as a better person, you’re only diminishing your credibility + end up losing your own wants + beliefs throughout the process. Don’t do what you’ll have to make excuses up for.

Don’t make excuses for yourself.

When making an apology, don’t make excuses, admit fault, state that you’re sorry, you have learned your mistake, and you’ll work on it in the future.

When searching for the right school / major for you: don’t say you’re not smart enough, or you aren’t outgoing enough, make the leap + prove yourself wrong. Because no one ever excused their way to success.

Making excuses will only set you back from your goals. Avoid the trap of excuses for yourself + others.

The one I emphasized the most; If you’re at a low in life, don’t tell yourself you’re fine. Seek advice from loved or biased ones. Because you are not alone, and people who care will always rescue you.

The night of delivery for my note came + it was while watching her and Cassies (younger cousin) play. As I was watching, I thought, what am I doing? I’m not giving her a note that’s this emotional. I thought “she’s got it all together, she doesn’t need or want this kind of advice”. But I gave it anyway…

Two hours later I receive a picture of her crying + an emotional message with lots of hearts saying “I needed that, thank you.”

Although people may seem altogether + not in need of a hand and mindful advice, everyone can be reminded of this: You will always be enough. Which is how I ended my letter. I hope to write something similar to her sister when she is a little older + approaching the transition of high school to college.

What’s your excuse?


Originally published at raywordpresscom2016.wordpress.com on February 21, 2017.

Originally published at medium.com