My dearest Kavya,
As I sit down to write this letter, tears well up in my eyes, and my heart swells with a mix of pride and sadness.
I am still not able to believe that you were in kindergarten just a minute ago (or so it seems), and leaving home today to spread your wings and embark on this incredible journey called ‘college.’
You are all grown up, and though it’s hard to let go, I know that this is just the beginning of an extraordinary chapter in your life.
First and foremost, I want you to know how much I love you. You have been the light of my life since the day you were born. Watching you grow into the remarkable woman you are today has been the greatest privilege of my life. As you step into this new phase, I want to share some of the most important lessons and advice that I hope will guide you through the ups and downs of college life and beyond.
Life has a way of taking us on unexpected journeys, and college marks the beginning of one of the most transformative adventures you will ever undertake. As you embark on this path of self-discovery and growth, I want to share some of the most valuable life lessons that I have learned along the way.
I know the last thing in the world you want to hear right now is more lessons from your father who has been offering them, wanted and otherwise, your entire life. But let me still tell you these things again one last time before you move out into the world with your mind hungry to learn new things and find new experiences.
1. Good education is a privilege: You are going to spend the next few years learning, growing, and focusing almost exclusively on yourself. This is a gift like none other. Such a potent combination of freedom, youth, opportunity and resources will never intertwine in life again. Make the most of these years.
2. Each day, invest in yourself: Studying will be only one form of education that college will provide. Embrace your independence, grow in character, and humbly be open to learn from others. Be like a sponge and absorb the knowledge. Here, Charlie Munger’s advice would never fail you – “Spend each day trying to be a little wiser than you were when you woke up. Day by day, and at the end of the day – if you live long enough – you will get out of life what you deserve.”
About grades, work hard to be an A+ student. But more importantly, always strive to be an A+ human being. Living a life of kindness and compassion, integrity, honesty, and justice – this is non-negotiable.
3. When you fall, learn to pick yourself up: While your Mumma and I will always be rooting for you, know that life is not always going to be easy. But trust your strength and resilience to get through it with courage. The world is about to open up for you. Embrace the excitement and the challenge. There will be times when you would rather hide or bury your head in the sand than face whatever challenge is in your way. In those times, remember how courageous you are. Facing adversities head on and stepping away from what is comfortable and familiar to you and into the unknown, is what will bring you real joy. That is what will get you life’s real worth, its real meaning.
4. Do not change who you are to fit in: Never pretend to be someone you are not, just to fit in. Be true to yourself, follow your own dreams, and be proud of what makes you unique instead of feeling the pressure to follow the crowd. Make friends you can associate with, but do not change who you are to fit in with a certain group of people.
5. Live like a verb, not a noun: Learn to give yourself permission to ‘do’ what brings you the greatest joy, and what makes your soul grow. That is the way you will find satisfaction. What will lead you to a fulfilling life isn’t the nouns you may use for yourself – “I want to become a writer.” – but the verbs you will be – “I write.” The growing, learning, and pursuing that will happen in the process will take you to places you never imagined existed.
6. Be kind, always: In this journey of life, you are going to meet a lot of fellow travellers walking the same path as you, and as vulnerable as you may find yourself to be. Be kind to them. Empathise with them in their troubles, treat them the way you want to be treated, think and act selflessly without expecting anything in return, appreciate them for their work, forgive them for their mistakes, and carefully listen when they are sharing their problems. Learn to deal kindly and compassionately with them. That is your only hope to live happily with yourself, and make friends that will stay with you for life.
7. Take good care of your health: College can be overwhelming, but remember to take care of yourself. Eat right and stay active. Exercise. Walk. Run. Just moving will also help when you are feeling down, overwhelmed, or lonely. Go to bed and wake up at decent times. Learn to meditate. Your older self will thank you later.
Even as you take these lessons, it is your own life to live, so live by your own means.
Never stop learning and growing. Curiosity is a powerful tool that will lead you to new opportunities and experiences. College is the time of exploration, so embrace the spirit of enquiry and stay open to new knowledge and discoveries.
Remember that no matter how far you go or what challenges you face, you will always have a piece of my heart with you.
You are capable, resilient, and destined for greatness. Believe in yourself and the world will be your canvas to paint your dreams upon. The experiences, the achievements, the suffering, and the pain you are going live through over the next few years will make you the person that you are going to become.
Sometimes, it might seem harsh and unfair, but in the end, it will turn out to be one of the biggest gifts of your life and you will remember these years forever.
I will miss you everyday, but I am so proud of the strong, independent woman you have become. As you embark on this adventure. Know that I am here, cheering you on from afar. You will soon learn about what you really can achieve when you set your heart, your mind, and every muscle in your body to it.
Because remember, you are enough. And I love you.