Happy 16th Birthday! A Letter to BB & GG

I was going to post something else today, but then I realised that I had not done my yearly letter to GG & BB on their birthday, so decided to post this today. In case you want to read previous birthday letters, here are the links to the 15th and 14th birthdays.

Dear GG and BB,

You both are sixteen today. I can’t believe it’s been 16 years since the day I first held you both in my hands for the very first time and became a mum. When you were born, I was scared about how I am going to bring you both up, if I will be able to keep you both alive, happy and well-fed. But you both have grown up to be great young adults and I feel your dad and I have done a good job.

GG, you are growing up to be an amazing young lady. You are beautiful, both inside and out and confident, smart, and well-liked by everyone. You take pride in what you do and make sure you give it your best shot.

I am very proud of your achievements in secondary school. When you come back with yet another certificate or when your form teacher tells me why you were nominated for the model student award in spite of having classmates who are better than you academically, I felt like tearing up because I was so proud and happy. The moment when I saw that you cracked the early admission exercise for your course of choice was another super happy moment. You were one of the few who managed to wow your future lecturers with your passion and knowledge of the subject. Be proud of what you have achieved, but also look forward to new mountains to conquer and keep that fighting and competitive spirit alive.

BB, you are my happy pill. I have rarely seen you get angry as you are a happy-go lucky boy. Even when GG used to bully you when you were younger, you would just move away from her and not retaliate. You still do that and I love your laid back attitude, your always smiling and happy face and your loving heart. You still give hugs and kisses, even though its considered passé by boys your age and are always smiling and happy.

If you want something, you can really put your mind to it. Case in point is your recent early admission exercise to your dream course. You are one more step closer to achieving your dream to become a part of the aeronautical industry. You know I teared up when you called me with the news and I know you were so thrilled that you could not speak for a few seconds, that’s how excited you were.

I know you made an impact on the panel that was discussing the candidates who are worthy of an early admission and are one of those few who showcased their passion for this industry and got an admission even before you sit for your O level exams. This definitely takes away some heat away from you towards getting the grades needed, but I push you more than I do GG because I know you are capable of far more than what you are currently achieving. I don’t want you to settle for something, rather I want you to reach for the stars and become as successful as you deserve to be.

You both are on the cusp of adulthood and as you move from the safe environment of school to the more adult environments of tertiary education, here is some advice from someone who has seen more of life than you.

Know yourself. Dig deep inside yourself and find out who you really are. Find out what your passions are (though to a large extent, you do know what you like, but passions change and likes and dislikes evolve over years, so keep reaching inside and check in once a while). Know what your strengths and weaknesses are and work towards enhancing your strengths and minimising or working towards eliminating your weaknesses.

Always be true to yourself. You are unique and there’s no one like you in the entire universe. Embrace what makes you, you and special and never compromise on your personal integrity. Learn to navigate this world, but on your own terms. Don’t be a people pleaser, but always keep friendly terms with everyone around you. Believe in yourself and the fact that you can do anything you set your mind to. Your self-determination, coupled with hard work, self-confidence and a positive attitude will take you far in life.

Push yourself. Make sure you push yourself out of your comfort zone and push yourself to excel in everything you do. Be cautious, but not at the cost of having regrets later. Failure is nothing more than a stepping stone to success. Einstein failed 99 times before tasting success so don’t fear failure. Learn from your mistakes and know that’s another way not to do something. Keep trying and you will find success. Put yourself out there and explore the unknown. This is especially true in your twenties when you are not really burdened by life’s realities. Take calculated risks at this point and push yourself to the max and success will soon kiss your feet.

Keep learning. Learning does not end when you finish studying. The worst thing you can do to yourself is to stop learning. Continue to educate yourself, both in the hard knowledge of the industry you are in and the soft skills you need to succeed in the corporate world. Watch and listen all the time and learn from everything and everyone. Every second of life is a learning experience. Just be genuine to the people around you and treat everyone with the same respect, whether the most exalted or the most ordinary person you encounter. Make a pact to learn something new each day.

Practice gratitude. Be grateful for the world around you, be grateful for where you have some from and where you currently are. Try to thank some part of your life daily and you will find youself happier for it.

At the end of the day, find your Ikigai, your reason for being, your purpose in life. When you reach that magical space where passion, mission, vocation and profession collide, life will become so much more meaningful and special. I hope and wish with all my heart that you soon find this space and I promise that I will do all that I can to help you get there.

BB & GG, I wish you the best of birthdays and exciting times ahead as you start a new and exciting time in your lives. Thank you for coming into our lives and our lives have become so much better because of you too.

Happy Birthday and may you get all that you aspire to