To Read On Your 18th Birthday

Recently, one of my best friends threw a “Onedeerland” birthday party (cute, right?) for her baby who just turned one.

Other than making me feel old – sometimes I still accidentally tell people I’m turning 25/26 this year. oops. – It was a completely precious get together filled with ribbons, tutus, greenery and sweets! My favorite.

Megan’s friend made these cookies for the party. They are amazing. I can’t imagine how long these intricate masterpieces take to make. I just don’t think I have the patience to make more than, maybe, four.

One of the cutest things on display was a request for guests to write something for Harper to read when she turns 18. I love this idea. How special will it be to read notes from people who knew you and your family at the time or have been there for your whole life? It’s a tiny time capsule filled with crazy insight received at the perfect time for reflection. Literal love notes.

Of course, being photographer I completely forgot to write my own note before I left, but I think there’s still something to be said to the wild little girl who was named after two magnificent female authors, takes after her on-the-go parents and adores her puppy brother the most. And I think we all could appreciate it, too.

So I’d like to dedicate this post to Miss Harper Austen to read on (or before, depending on when she finds this) her 18th birthday.

Harper, girl. You are a trip.

Since you were in your mama’s tummy you have given her a run for her money. And I hope you keep it going.

Not to make things difficult for her, of course, but to keep you on track for staying true to who you’ve been from the womb.

Some people might see you as being difficult. The right ones will see you as a dedicated leader. Some people will want you to slow down. The better ones will help you to move smarter and more efficiently. Some people will see you as loud and disruptive. The best ones will be yelling right beside you to help you make a stand.

Don’t take it personally if you’re not everyone’s cup of tea. Your mama likes coffee, anyway. Some people spend their whole high school careers trying to figure out how to be liked by everyone, but the important thing to learn now and moving forward is how to be kind to everyone while going through crazy, teenage, hormonal years (you’d think they’d be finished after your teenage years… they’re not) and also managing to learn – to want to learn – something. Live it up, girlfriend, but keep your priorities straight and never stop chasing knowledge.

You don’t have to figure out your whole life like everyone is asking you to do right now. It’s just not possible. The opportunities and choices you’ll come to throughout the next 10 years will drastically change where you thought you’d end up – and that’s how it should be. I hope you keep opening doors and following your passions. That sounds cheesy, but do all those things that are on your list that you want to accomplish because the “work” you do for free in your spare time is what’s going to take you farther and mean the most.

I hope you take every opportunity to travel. I mean it. Get out and experience life on different soil. I hope you keep your determined, independent spirit, because the standards you set for yourself will determine how you let everyone else treat you, too. I hope you always remember that you’re valuable, because although there are people in the world like you, you’re still completely unique in the best way. And I hope you listen to your mama. Yes, she was 18 and she has been there. And phrases become cliches for a reason.

Most of all, enjoy getting older. 18 is exciting and with every year comes something new, so don’t ever dread a birthday. Look forward each year to finding out more things you like, more things you want to do, more ideas you want to understand – becoming more yourself – because, really, what’s more fun than that?