Shortly after graduating from high school in 1996, my older sister Céline gave each of her friends a handwritten booklet listing some of the things she’d learned by age 18. It was a DIY graduation gift of sorts. As sisters, we shared a lot, but I wasn’t aware of this booklet’s creation until Céline’s death, at age 30, in the spring of 2009. At her funeral, one of Céline’s closest friends kindly supplied me with a copy. Of course it moved me that he had kept it for so long since I’d like to believe that Céline did a lot of things that had a lasting impact on others.
Mostly, however, reading the booklet made me smile because the decision to distribute something entitled “A Modest Compilation of Truths” at age 18 was so very pretentious—and yet, so very acceptable from a person like my sister, to whom people turned…
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