Idris Messalti, 24 (France)
Today, you’re only two months old. You’re right here, deep in your dreams, lying by my side. You’ve been filling our days with joy and happiness ever since you first set your eyes on this world. I’d like to take you through what our lives were like in the year preceding your birth.
A year before you arrived, your mum and I decided to travel and settle down on the other side of the planet, in Mexico. We weren’t really sure what to expect and yet, we discovered a magnificent country, filled with a welcoming culture and people.
This year abroad widened our horizons, as well as our minds – we came back and felt like different people. We felt like our world had expanded. We felt free. Even if today, I find it hard to picture you growing up, I know the day will come and you will also want to feel free.
My son, I want you to live your life to the fullest – to live, love, laugh, experience, make mistakes, learn from them and allow no one to set limits on your dreams. Being free is what will make you feel alive.
I love you,
Aaron Weiner, 36 (USA)
When I was 25, I boarded my first aircraft. Ever. Your mother and I flew from New York to LA, to experience our first transcontinental vacation with your future godparents. It’s humbling to recollect now, a mere 11 years later, what that experience would unlock.
Prior to that, I lived in what seems now like a bubble. I hadn’t left the Eastern Time Zone in 25 years and had no desire to. Or at least that’s what I thought then. I’ve now been to 15 countries on literally hundreds of flights since. I’ve experienced the culture, cuisine, and color of some of the world’s greatest cities.
My promise and wishes for you are that you will not wait as long as I did. I want you to travel with your family like I never did. When you hear the words Rome, Paris, London, or Israel, I want your mind to reflect on its own images – not of those in magazines or movies.
Alan Vanstone, 42 (UK)
Dear Jessica and Daniel,
Life is a wonderful thing. Grasp the moment. Make plans but don’t be a slave to them, bend with the wind, flow like water. Love and laugh enthusiastically, don’t be scared. Be at peace with paradoxes and don’t over-simplify the unexplainable.
Don’t label things or people. Never be afraid to say ‘I don’t know’, rather than make something up. Embrace a lifetime of learning and playing. When you find yourself being hypocritical don’t feel bad, we are all just trying to do the best we can. Don’t grasp onto people, ideas, things. If something doesn’t work out as planned it might not always be a bad thing.
Everything is impermanent and in constant change. Be open, not closed. Be brave. Put friendship and compassion above money and fame, it will make you happier. See the world, try to find cultures that are so different that they blow your mind. Stay grounded.
Chris Mohney, 46 (USA)
Dear Nate & Quinn,
I don’t know what the world will be like when you’re my age as I write this. I hope it’s generally a better place, better for more people than it is now, and I hope it’s better for you in particular.
I tend to think you’ll do all right because I’m a grim sort of optimist.
Plus, time accelerates the older you get, and many things I never expected to really happen are now possible, and even more things I never even thought to contemplate are now commonplace. But I like it fast. I’m not sentimental about losing you as babies, because I love watching you get older and smarter and stronger, and I really can’t wait for you to grow up even more.
We might fix a few of our mistakes by the time you’re ready, but the world will still need you to kick its ass. And I know you will.
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