By Christopher Woods
I was going to write “Little Darryl”, but you are officially no longer “Little” Darryl (You still ain’t grown though…). I am VERY proud of the man you have become. You are smart, driven, caring, responsible, and my Brother of Alpha. I have watched over the years how you take care of your little sister, respect your parents, and hold yourself to a standard that breaks the negative stereotypes of a young black male student athlete.
You’ve had your personal goals and ambitions challenged when your body didn’t want to cooperate, but you didn’t let that stop you to keep pushing to score and set records. You managed to keep a positive attitude throughout all your trials, and that truly is the Test of a Man.
You’ve told me repeatedly that you look up to me and want to follow in my footsteps, and that fills me up with pride, but I want you to be better than me. You hear about and see the posts about how I’m always on vacation and going somewhere exotic, living in DC, and all that. But as you already know, life is definitely not all roses and what people don’t see on the internet is what really marks your character.
As you move on to the next stage of life I want to share some things that I’ve learned along the way to make your path in life just a bit easier.
- Stay spiritually grounded. Stay true to yourself and your beliefs. You will learn through experiences and many of your opinions will change, but never compromise who you know yourself to be.
- Don’t compare your life to others. This is incredibly difficult, especially just out of college because you may see your friends being and doing things that you think you want. Don’t be swayed by that. What is for is for you, and it will happen when it is supposed to.
- Pay your bills on time. Live within your means. Pay your bills on time. Put money away out of every check and save it. Pay your bills on time. Never get payday loans, even if you can pay it back. Pay your bills on time. Stick to a reasonable budget. Pay your bills on time. Learn to cook, and don’t eat out all the time. Pay your bills on time. Pay your bills on time.
- Stay connected to the family, and never be afraid or ashamed to ask for help when you need it. At your age I know you want to do things on your own and make your own way, and you should. Sometimes you will fail. Sometimes unexpected things will happen that you can’t handle. Sometimes just a phone call home makes a world of difference. I made a promise when I left Ohio to talk to Mom at least once a week, and I’ve done that since. I call Pepa often. It’s so important to stay connected.
- Don’t take yourself or life too seriously. I don’t think you’ll have a problem with that because you’re already a goofball, and so is your father. Keep that up. There is plenty of time to be serious, but life is so short that it means nothing if you can’t enjoy it and have a little fun. Hang out with your friends. Travel to fancy places (IF you can afford it). Go to concerts. Go to museums. Take pictures. Enjoy the world around you.
- Take care of your health. I know you know important that is already, but make sure you get physicals at least once a year. Get health insurance. Find a primary care physician. Get blood work done. Eat right. Stay active, and most of all protect yourself in sexual relationships. Pregnancy is a thing, and so are STDs. Only you are responsible for your sexual health, no matter what your partner says.
- Be open to love. I am super single, and I know you guys think it’s cool, but it does get lonely. By all means do not rush to be in a relationship, but there will come a time when you will want a partner and a companion to share your life with. No matter how many times you may get hurt, keep your heart open, and remember that love is a noun and verb.
I can’t express to you how much joy I have watching you, Jayson, and the rest of our cousins grow into the young men and women that we are today. I love it when we get together, and I can’t wait to see where life takes you and the rest of us. The world is yours. Go get it!
Photo Credit: Danny Sellers