When you grow up…

Dear Lila,

I often wonder what things will be like in 20+ years when you’re an adult. Such a funny thing to ponder. The world’s changing quickly and it’s a little overwhelming to imagine what you’ll encounter. Regardless, I want to say right now – for the whole world to read – that I don’t care what vocation you pursue when you grow up. Whether you become a banker or a painter or a music teacher, I will honor your choices and help guide you however I can. I don’t ever want your work to define you or your sense of self worth, and rather, I hope it serves as an extension of who you are and what you value.

Your character will always be more important to me than any acronyms following your name. I only want what every parent wants – for you to be happy and fulfilled. And of course, things like health insurance and a 401(k) are nice too.

I hope you find a path where your own satisfaction helps measure your success, and you learn firsthand the value of hard work, strong relationships and good judgement.

I want you to follow your passions and use your head and heart to guide your decisions. I want you to recognize that sometimes, work sucks, and is really boring or even demeaning, but that the good days can and should outweigh the bad. If not, you should find something new.

You’re going to have good and bad bosses, and strong and weak teams. You will quickly see what leadership really means. You’ll learn, frustratingly, that some people are led by the wrong motivations, and rewarded for it, but this is beyond your control.

I hope you learn the importance of establishing your own financial independence, so you are never trapped in a bad situation of any sort because of finances.

I hope you don’t spend too much time weighing when to start a family against where you are on the career ladder, because there’s no perfect time and it will always work out. If you do choose to start a family, I hope no one asks you if you are coming back to work, and instead lets you and your partner decide what’s best for your family privately. I hope you are given a lengthy, paid maternity leave and that your partner receives the same. I hope your healthcare covers all your hospital bills.

You will succeed whether you choose to work fulltime or part time or not at all outside of your family. If you do work outside the home, I hope your employer is flexible and supportive. If you choose to stay home, I hope you stay engaged in the community and important causes.

No matter what, please be gentle on yourself and know that life is short and unpredictable, and whatever you’re doing is perfectly enough.


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