My sister is a role model, a teacher, a confidante, and an inspiration. I cannot stress enough how much she has shaped me, and if you’ve had the privilege of knowing her, then I’m sure that applies to you as well: wherever she goes, she makes an impact. Despite being only four years older, she’s acquired an incredible amount of wisdom. Below are some of the best things I’ve learned from her:

Try new things. My sister has done everything, from dyeing her hair purple to running a Tough Mudder. She’s taken an aerial silks class, added a major in her third year of college, and waited in line for over four hours to meet her favorite author. Some of her activities have been riskier than others, but she has no regrets. I admire her courage.

Don’t be afraid to express yourself. If you’re proud/excited/happy/whatever, show your enthusiasm unabashedly! It’s okay to be ridiculous.

Wear perfume the right way. Spray it on your wrists, pat them together (don’t rub!), and then press your wrists onto your pressure points. Gone are the days when I’d spray a giant cloud into the air and walk through it—that wastes so much perfume!

Don’t be a hater. Be open-minded, and hold back from passing judgments. I remember when I was in middle school, my sister heard me say “slut” and put me in my place: she told me that that term shamed women for being sexual, which 1) I had no right to do and 2) was unjust. She was completely right. I’ve never said it since.

Confidence is key. Have pride in your mind, your body, your work, and your personality.

Good things take time. My sister and I used to not get along at ALL. We disliked each other for an entire decade—over half my life! Now, we’re inseparable.

Read read read read. I really do think that much of her wisdom has been accumulated through reading. I’ve written extensively on how she’s motivated me to develop this habit: see Books.

Put yourself first. Don’t forget whose life you’re living! Listening and responding to your own needs should not make you feel selfish by any means. Know your value and when it’s being compromised.

When something’s not right, do something about it. Call people out. Seriously. Don’t take shit.

Fitness is important! My sister got really into health and fitness during her freshman year of high school. I remember exercising next to her as we followed along with the moves of “Total Body Sculpt with Gilad” on Fit TV. Ah, Gilad. As much as I hated how he mercilessly made our muscles burn, he’s the cause behind my “man shoulders,” which I actually love. Feeling strong, inside and out, is amazing.

Thanks, Chem.