Liner notes 21-26

21. Find and emulate good mentors. Personal mentors, spiritual mentors, academic and professional mentors--whether in person or distant, they light the way toward the person you were meant to be. Wonder about what makes them so terrific. Notice what makes them tick, what their habits are. Use those things as a pattern for your own self. (Then, of course, thank them for their inspiration.) 

22. On a related note, sometimes you have to fake it 'til you make it/make a leap of faith. Not all the time. But every once in a while, you'll feel kind of like an imposter when you first _______ (become a parent, start a job, graduate from college, fulfill a calling). It's okay; make the first steps, get out there and the way will appear beneath you (thank you, Kierkegaard and Raiders of the Lost Ark).  

23. Learn a little ballroom dancing. You never know when you'll be invited somewhere (wedding? ball? inauguration?) that it'll come in handy. But until then, when in doubt on the dance floor and some kind of ballroomish dancing is required, just step forward together, side together, back together, side together, making a kind of square.

24.  Sunscreen, baby. Every single time.

25. Embrace a little fear. Do it anyway. Recognize it as a little signal that you're giving yourself the chance to grow.

26. Read the paper, listen to the news, be able to discuss issues intelligently. Get your information from lots of sources, not just the ones that confirm what you already thought you knew. When you don't agree with someone, be willing to listen to their point of view and articulate yours with respect and kindness.

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With the first of my children leaving home in the next few weeks, I'm writing occasional (weeklyish) Liner Notes, bits of advice to my kids concerning my take on how to be a gracious, awesome grown-up-type person (both trivial bits and major advice). Why "liner notes"? Because, back in the day, I pored over the liner notes of my cds, curious to find the story behind the music. That's what I hope this will be: the story behind the music of growing up and setting off on your own. (Or at least a ready-made catalog of how you can avoid making my mistakes.) Feel free to chime in! What would you add?

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photo from Lilibet Circus Child via