September 19th is an incredibly important day. This particular Saturday (2015) marks the 18th birthday of one of Parker’s amazing guardian angels. In angel years, he was more like a thousand years old. His soul was wise beyond his years, and his mark on this world and our hearts is eternal.
The story of his remarkable and extraordinary life is not mine to tell in this blog post. However, I do want to acknowledge in a public way that this awe-inspiring, silly and muy inteligente human being still impacts the way that I live my life. Parker and I talk about him often. I love telling Parker stories about him and sharing his wisdom. No words can capture what I think about this young man and his family, so I won’t even try. Today, I just want to share the 18 life lessons that I learned from this phenomenal little person. While these lessons are not all encompassing of his life, they are a small representation of the life I was so privileged to be a part of. Hopefully, I (as an imperfect and flawed human being) can do a little better today (and every day) - in his honor.
- Appreciate the healing power of music. Have a playlist when you are on top of the world, and a playlist when you feel at your worst. And, a playlist for every moment in between.
- Never lose your ability to laugh and be silly (no matter how shitty your feel).
- Speaking of feeling shitty. If the situation calls for it, cuss. Sometimes, it’s the only thing that can make you feel better in the moment.
- Create art.
- Respect the grace and grandeur of all animals, especially the elephant. Let’s say you have the opportunity to meet an elephant face to face, make them a prayer bead necklace to honor their presence on earth (or something like that). You always did go big, which could be a life lesson all on its own.
- Remain constantly curious about other cultures.
- Take something simple (like paper) and turn it into something beautiful (like an origami crane). Did you know that ancient Japanese legend says that if you fold one thousand cranes you will be granted a wish? Let’s get to folding and wish for a world free from cancer.
- Become fluent in a second language.
- Treat the homeless with dignity and compassion.
- When it comes to your own personal style, have a signature piece (like a newsboy hat).
- Education is important. Study. Know stuff. Constantly try to expand your knowledge of the world - like the fact that a lady bug is actually a beetle.
- See beauty in the world around you and help others do the same.
- Give back, even when it feels like life is taking from you.
- Be the world’s best, best friend to someone.
- Collect things that make you happy. PEZ dispensers are an awesome collectible if you need a starter idea.
- When it seems dark and lonely, that is often when you bloom the biggest and brightest (like a moonflower).
- Love your family.
- Even when life is unfair for no reason, you still have the power to leave the world a better place. Although not many could do it better than you did, we should all make the effort.
Oh, and here’s a bonus life lesson. Be a smart-ass whenever you can. I like that one.
To a life well lived - full of humor, kindness, courage and poise, happy 18th birthday!