It’s hard to believe that this Saturday, B will be turning 20. Time has sped by. Looking back, I can hardly believe that I have been a mother for two decades. It’s been the most incredible and fulfilling ride of my life, and I can’t wait to see how this beautiful journey continues to unfold.
B is truly a remarkable woman, and there is no personal or professional achievement that could ever compare to the joy and pride she brings to my heart. She has accomplished so much in her time on this planet, and her potential is boundless.
As I reflect upon my own journey as a young adult, I realize that I didn’t receive much advice. More often than not, I was told what not to do, or how to conform my beliefs. I was denied the space to discover and embrace my true self. I vividly remember the tense moments and the times when I felt criticized or dictated to — those experiences caused me to retreat within myself. I never wanted my child to feel that way. And so I taught myself to listen without judgment, to truly hear what she said, and to look at her perspective before I responded. As B grew, I realized that I was less and less a parent and more of a guide. The past few years I have worked to support and love her as she tries new things. I have kept my worries and thoughts to myself. I have worked hard to give her the space needed to find herself.
As B prepares for the next chapter of her life, college, and embarks on the exciting journey of her twenties, I want to give her the advice I wish I had received:
•Embrace your authenticity: Discover who you truly are and honor that person unapologetically. Your uniqueness is your strength. Never conform. Be brave, be bold.
•You are an amazing person. Always treat others with respect, but never allow them to walk on you. Understand that people’s actions are more often than not not a response to you.
•Embrace failure as a stepping stone: Don’t fear making mistakes or taking risks. Learn and grow from each experience, knowing that setbacks are part of the incredible journey of life. As long as you learn from the experiences, you never fail.
•Cultivate meaningful connections: Surround yourself with people who uplift and inspire you. Nurture deep friendships and cherish your relationships. They will be your pillars of support throughout life.
•Follow your passions: Pursue what brings you joy and ignites your soul. Life is too precious to settle for anything less than what sets your heart ablaze.
•Always choose to believe that it is easy to make money. Never become a slave to a job. You are always replaceable.
•Don’t allow the thoughts and opinions of others to influence your self view. Know your value and never settle for less.
•Remember that no matter what comes, I have your back. Ride or die. No judgment.
B, as you set foot on this exciting path ahead, always remember that my love, support, and belief in you are unwavering. I am here with open arms, cheering you on every step of the way.
Sara Orellana is a former Lawton resident who lives in Oklahoma City and writes a weekly column for The Lawton Constitution.