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29 Things I Want My Future Daughter to Know

Girl writing in notebook.
Girl writing in notebook.

To my future daughter,

Today, I am 18. I have no imminent plans to have kids, but I imagine there might come a day when you exist. I'm going to college soon, and though I've learned a lot, I've still got miles to go. Here are several things I wish I'd known earlier. Take them with a grain of salt. You'll discover your own lessons. But here are a few from me, in the meantime:

  1. Be kind -- to everyone, including those who don't treat you as well. Even if it seems like they don't deserve it, they probably need it the most.

  • There's nothing wrong with Netflix binges. But also, read the newspaper.
  • Guilt is a worthless feeling. Learn from the past and then get the heck out of there.
  • You want to know what's sexy? Confidence. AND HUMILITY.
  • When you are unhappy with something, you have two options: move on, or find a way to change it. Don't wallow.
  • "Don't set yourself on fire just to keep others warm." I don't know who said that, but whoever it was, was right. Be caring and thoughtful, but the truth is, if you don't take care of yourself properly, you'll burn out, and you won't be able to take care of your loved ones for very long.
  • Call your grandparents just to say "hi." It will mean the world to them.
  • Smile at other girls. People in general, but especially girls. A lot of people won't smile at or compliment you because they think that doing so will diminish their value or power or something. That's bogus. Smile.
  • Be polite. Manners aren't hard, and they're really important. Be polite to friends, teachers, younger kids, waiters, flight attendants, people on the street -- everyone.
  • We are all just humans, no better or worse than any other.
  • Everyone you meet knows something that you don't. You have something to learn from literally every person you encounter.
  • Be careful who you vent to.
  • Fall in love. With books and movies and songs and art and boys and girls and whatever else strikes you. It's so worth it.
  • In all likelihood, you won't love every aspect of your body. But look at the way it can run and jump and sing and breathe -- be grateful for that. Take care of your body.
  • "Don't let negative and toxic people rent space in your head; raise the rent and kick them out!" -- Robert Tew
  • No one is your "other half." You're already whole. And my goodness, are you magnificent.
  • Being judgmental isn't beautiful.
  • If it's 1 a.m. and you're stressing about school and feel like you may be on the verge of an emotional breakdown, then put down the schoolwork and go get yourself a bowl of ice cream and just breathe for a bit. Exams can be redone; your life cannot.
  • Choose your friends wisely. And if they're not bringing out the best in you, it's OK to find new ones.
  • Be spontaneous.
  • Beauty is so much broader than the vision that's put forth by the magazines -- and a woman's value is SO much broader than her beauty.
  • It's really OK to admit that you don't know what to say sometimes. Better to do that than to say the wrong thing. Also, don't give lots of unsolicited advice (says the girl giving you lots of it...).
  • Self-care is not selfish; it's a necessity.
  • You are never too good, too old or too smart to give or receive an apology. Don't give unnecessary apologies, but step up to the plate and own your mistakes when you've made them.
  • Don't say "maybe" if you want to say "no."
  • Don't chase people. You don't need to run after people to prove to yourself or anyone else that you matter.
  • Try not to care too much what other people think of you. What matters is what you think of yourself. (Unless your loved ones are telling you they really don't like the way you're acting; then, you should listen.)
  • Not everyone is going to love you (sorry). That's not necessarily your fault, and it's OK. If they don't love you, someone else will.
  • I love you. Tons.
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