You're ready to move comfortably into adulthood, even if some of your reckless teen-aged years still lingers rather awkwardly.
Maybe you don't remember, but you were so pleased with yourself when you were born, so excited about the future, that you made us proud -- and excited for you.
Let me be the first to say, we're still both.
Back then, you were the harbinger of the 21st century, and those of us who knew you when you were brand new couldn't help but believe in your proposition that when the 19s gave way to the 20s, we'd be living in a world of promise fulfilled, of untapped knowledge explored, of far-flung cultures brought together.
Of course you had to grow up. Despite the plot of Peter Pan, everyone does.
You're a bit unfocused now. That's not unusual at 25. You're not quite sure why you were made or what you're meant to be. That's got your parents pretty worried. Maybe they just need to relax a little bit. It's OK. They don't need to force you to be what they are. Whlietheir efforts to mold you to look just like them may be natural, they're also uncomfortable and counter-productive. They need to trust.
The funny thing is, do you remember all of those optimstic things you used to say about what you'd be when you grew up? Do you remember how you used to say the world was going to be an amazing place? That those of us who played with you when you were young were all going to lead lives of excitement and discovery?
I know, I know -- once you became a teen-ager, you turned your back on those sentiments. You wanted things that were flashy and fun. You wanted to impress everyone with how slick you were.
But, you know what? You were right.
You promised that the 21st century would "begin" back when you came into the world, and the odd thing is just how right you were. Out of the mouths of babes.
When you were born, you brought with you things like fiber-optic communications, touch-screen computers, remote-guided vehicles, deep-sea exploration, hydroponic farming, aerodynamic cars, alternate forms of energy, and a vision of a world in which communication was instantaneous and free. You envisioned that we would know more about each other than we ever had, that many borders would be opened between nations -- both literally and figuratively.
Now that we're actually here in the 21st century, it's rather astonishing to reflect on what a precocious, inquisitive and, well, correct little youngster you were.
You dazzled us with ideas that seemed far-fetched. I mean, back when you were just a wee thing, we used to call "Uncle Ernie" across the country and talk for exactly three minutes and it was still expensive. We'd even have to wait until after 9 p.m. so we could afford it, and while we talked we'd twirl the telephone cord in our fingers. Now, we can call Uncle Ernie all we want, any time of day, even if we're sitting by the ocean.
We're exploring, truly exploring, many of the things you claimed we would. Various trade and unification agreements have quite literally opened borders. No matter what time of day, where we are or what we need to know, we can find it -- never venturing further than our home computers (which are getting, every day, astuter and astuter).
I could go on, but you know and I know what I'm trying to say:
You had it right all along.
OK, so it's true that we dressed you in clothing that now seems a little outdated, and over the years you've wanted cooler duds. Frankly, you insisted, despite our protestations. Well, you've still got a lot of the same stuff, and the not-so-surprising thing is, it's coming back into vogue. Stick around long enough, everything comes back into fashion. Even in the 21st century.
As you turn 25, then, I just ask one thing of you -- and it's fair of you to ask me for the same: Be patient.
You'll grow and change. You have to; no that's not a directive, it's an inevitability.
Pretty soon, you'll realize that all of those friends you've been trying to impress have something in common. They're all trying to be just like each other.
Whether you like it or not, you were born to be different. Your very birthright is being astonishingly, wonderfully unique.
Frankly, that sucks. No 25 year old likes to hear that, because you're still very aware that it's much more comfortable to be like everyone else. Be patient. You're going to figure out it. We all do.
When you were young, you showed remarkable (awesome, to be blunt) intelligence and capability. You loved being different. Anymore, you don't so much. You will. So, we can wait for a while longer while you figure it out.
Make no mistake -- a lot of the things you've done to change yourself have been extraordinary and wonderful. You've seen things you didn't like, and you've fixed them, and that takes courage, confidence and vision. Now it's your chance to keep moving along that path.
You don't need celebrity friends to be well-liked.
You don't need the trendiest fashions to look good.
You don't need to rush around and be fast in order to accomplish your goals.
And even if you change your name, which you've tried to do a couple of times (a bit half-heartedly, I must observe), you'll still be you.
It's your uniqueness we celebrate today. It's your potential. And it's the vision you showed early on ... and which we know you'll show again. We look forward to seeing what you become.
And no matter what suggestions, what criticism, what comments we direct to you, know this: We love you as much today as we did back on Oct. 1, 1982.