Tips from one adult to an (almost) adult

Incredibly, we will be celebrating my youngest child's 21st birthday in a couple of weeks. Now I know you're probably expecting another "I can't believe I'm that old" column, but instead I thought I would take this opportunity to impart some sage advice to my soon-to-be-legal daughter. It just might be good advice for all of us.

Enjoy your first beer (insert "wink" emoji here). Maybe even two. But I'm telling you, it only goes downhill after that. I may or may not be speaking from experience. But trust me, it's just not worth it.

Eat your vegetables. Take it from a junk food fanatic who can't stop at just one (or two, or three ...) potato chips. You'll be much happier when you go to bed at night.

Exercise. But do not exercise because of what you see in the mirror. Exercise for what's between your ears. I find the solace of a good workout essential to my mental well-being. And it's when I come up with my best writing ideas!

Which reminds me: Be creative. The world is too analytical. I'm probably the least creative person I know. But every so often I manage to conjure up a few words that lead to a few sentences that somehow lead to a whole newspaper column. Writing isn't your thing? That's OK. Learn to draw. Take up basket weaving. Teach yourself to play the tuba.

Take chances. It took me 48 years to realize this one. You'll sense if it doesn't feel right. But you'll never know what will happen if you don't risk taking that first step.

Be honest. Despite what you see and hear around you, there is no replacement for being honest with others and with yourself. We live in a disingenuous universe. Even if it's not what you think other people want to hear, it really is the best policy.

Don't judge. This is a big one. Physical appearance, politics, personal preferences, what kind of coffee you drink. We all think we're right, and it's ruining humanity. Respect others' issues, opinions and approaches to life no matter how different they are from yours. One day you may find you actually agree with someone with a seemingly different viewpoint. But you'll never know if you always presume that they're wrong.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot there's one more thing you must always remember. I will always be your dad and you will always be my little girl. That means I still get to hug you in public, reminisce about our "lunch" trips to Costco and embarrass you in front of your friends.

At least now we can both have an adult beverage while I'm doing it. Cheers!

- John Bourjaily of Golfview Hills is a contributing columnist. Readers can email him at [email protected].