My dearest Lila, Aleena, and Yara,
It’s the last year before 2020. Lila, you just became an older sister. Your first interactions with Kaia have been sweet and loving. You and Kaia will constantly get on each other’s nerves, but, in due time, you will become best friends.
When I was your age, 2020 seemed so far away. I couldn’t imagine that year. Incredible science fictions were written about the year. People were making predictions that the world would end multiple times before 2020. But, here we are just few short months away from 2020.
Today, I want to share with you how you can see through the “fog-of-life”. From the moment, you are born, you are on one-way highway. The end of the highway is the same for all of us — death. You can’t get off this road and you can’t stop moving towards the final destination. You can’t control the speed — every minute you are getting closer to it. The road ahead is covered in a thick fog of unknown. You don’t know what decision face you in future or how others’ decisions will affect you. You don’t know who you will meet along this journey. You don’t even know how long the road will be. This cloud of unknown blanketing your path ahead is what I call the “fog-of-life”.
So, how do you see through this fog? By shining light through it. I want to share with you the 3 light sources that will guide you through the fog.
1) Integrity. Always speak the truth. No lie is innocent. No lie is worth saving the pain. If you lie once, you will have to lie 100 more times to cover up the first lie. It takes effort and it will hang over you for a very long time. Eventually, the truth will come out and then, all the effort would be for naught. You will lose friendships. You will lose respect. The right decision always is to speak the truth, even if it costs you everything.
2) Equality. The biggest truth of all is that all humans are created equal. Don’t judge people for what they look like or their faith or where they are from. Judge their actions. If you see inequality, speak up. If you stay silent, you are supporting the inequality and the injustice. Sometimes, it will be easier to turn the other way, but, you are not about an easy life. You are about leading a meaningful life and meaningful life is about doing the right thing. The right thing always is to treat all people equally.
3) Humility. Be grateful for what you have. You will come across people who have less than you. They might have a smaller home or went to a “worse school” or earn less than you. Don’t judge them or put them down. You will also come across people who have more than you. Don’t be envious of them. Instead of putting someone down, be grateful for what you have. Instead of being envious of someone, congratulate them on their success. Your actions must always demonstrate humility — smile at everyone, say hello to everyone, be friendly with everyone, and most importantly, don’t take anything for granted.
The way you live day to day is the way you live your life.
These three things require a lot of practice. My expectation is not for you to be perfect. I know you will make mistakes. I have made many mistakes. The goal is to learn from the mistakes and not make the same mistake twice. If you hold yourself accountable to improving every day at these three things, you will have a level of clarity that everyone seeks, but, only a few people actually find.
May you be among the lucky few!
The letters from the past 6 years: