Domo Arigato Gozaimasu

As I enjoy my last week home before heading back for my final round of teaching in Abu Dhabi, I find myself quite reflective.  I have learned many things about life and myself this past year, and I feel the need to give back.  I would also like to take the focus off myself this time because there is someone else I’d like to address.  Someone I have helped raise most of his 20 years of life.  He is now taking his own journey.  His own leap out into the world.  I’d like to dedicate this to him.


As you venture out into this world and find your own path, I want to take the opportunity to throw out some advice.  Some of these are mistakes I have made in my own life, while some are just good sense.

-Always pay your bills first.  Take what’s left- save some, then allow some to be spent on silly things that make you happy.

-Respect your living accommodations. (yes, that means clean the bathroom!)  It will be someone’s home after you move on.

-Allow yourself to make mistakes- learn from them- move on.  You will always be a work in progress.

-Know that a year from now, a lot of the little things won’t matter, so don’t dwell on the negative.

-Having a roommate can be challenging.  It’s ok to ask, kindly, for a little space every once and a while.

-Know when to step into the spotlight and when to shine it on others.

-If you have wronged someone, apologize and mean it.  If they don’t accept it, learn to forgive yourself.


– Be responsible, but allow for occasional spontaneity and adventure.

-Invest in a GOOD alarm clock

-If you find yourself in a toxic situation, or around toxic people- remove yourself from it immediately.  Afterwards- think why that was in your life, and what you learned from it, then move on.

-Don’t be afraid to come back home.  There is never failure in trying.

-When in doubt, make them all wear hats!


It is time to let you go and do your thing in this world.  We may not always agree with how you do it, but that is ok.  You have been raised to know right from wrong, how to show empathy and kindness, and when to be gracious.

You and you alone will know when to push through the challenges and when to step back and try a different tactic.  You will know when you have made a mistake and how to proceed from there.  You will know when to take a moment or two for yourself, and when to include others.  This is your life.  Live it well.



“It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new. But there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power.” -Alan Cohen

7 thoughts on “Domo Arigato Gozaimasu

  1. This totally bought tears to my eyes… I am always in awe of how elders pass on what they have learned… (OK, I don’t mean elders in the way of being old…) elders in the way of those who have been there…and who also are opening to relearning…

    I’m not totally aware of your life, Ali… so I think you spoke of your and Gene’s child… young adult who is moving forth in the world… He is fortunate to have you both as his guides in life…

    Much love to you and your family… know your few days left here in the States will be filled with love… Susan

  2. My fondest memory of having Alex come to Cookie Company productions and rehearsals is the day he decided to give me notes in the bathroom. He was respectful and right on target with his comments and I thought then, what a great job you all were doing, helping to raise a child with confidence and respect that cared enough to make his feeling known. I am sure he will navigate the world with that same charactrer and continue to delight and endear himself to those he meets. Give him a hug for me and tell him Alan wishes him Blessings and Light.

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