Advice to my teenage daughter (and yours too)
Graduation season has really touched me this year and has made me realize that I only have a few years left with my girl living at home…at least that’s the plan if I’ve done my job right. I’m so nervous that I will have forgotten to teach her some important lesson that she will need when she’s out on her own. Over the past couple weeks (and the last ten years), I’ve started cataloging advice….lessons….whatever you want to call it. I know this isn’t a comprehensive list and I am confident that I will continue to add to it, but for now, here’s a start that I hope will be helpful for any teenage girl.
So here goes……
Don’t let anyone tell you what to dream. You decide what you want and fight like hell for it.
Marry the guy you want to marry. Or don’t…..you decide what works for you.
Go after the job you really want….even if it means you’ll have to eat ramen noodles and mac & cheese. Do what you love. You spend more hours at work than anywhere else. Make sure it’s where you want to be.
Don’t take ibuprofen on an empty stomach.
Learn one “go to” karaoke song. Make sure you can nail it and never pass up the opportunity to sing it.
Let yourself get lost in music. It is balm for the soul
Read the Bible. You’ve got the one Grandad marked up for you. There are wise words in there from the good Lord and from your Grandad. Philippians 4:6 is my favorite verse. Read it and remember that God is with you wherever you go.
You will always have a place to come “home”. That’s why we bought the farm and started this life. This place is yours and will ALWAYS be a place of peace and love for you.
Listen to your grandparents. Ask what they are passionate about and then learn from them. If you don’t, you’ll wish you had someday. I’d give anything to know how to make my Granny’s pickles or grow vegetables like my Grandaddy.
Don’t have sex if you’re not ready…….you don’t owe anybody anything and it’s ok to say “No”.
Don’t do anything just because that’s “what you’re supposed to do”. Go to the school you want to go to; Or decide you don’t want to and head off to Europe for a year. (You may have to remind me of this one when you decide to run off to Europe after you graduate.)
Grammar matters….I don’t care what anyone says, it matters.
Don’t let your friends make your decisions for you.
A vehicle is a wonderful tool and it can also be a weapon. You are responsible for anything that happens when you’re behind the wheel.
Rest. Listen to your body. Take Sunday afternoons off….no matter what…find that time and make sure you stick to it.
Someday you’re going to feel the weight of world on your shoulders and I’m telling you right now, it’s not. You have a support group who will help you carry the weight. Use us.
A hot bath with candlelight does a body good. Take the time for it.
Buy the cute shoes…those high heels that look gorgeous with that dress. But remember they are for looking pretty….not for walking. Wear the flip flops or comfortable flats if you’re going to be hoofing it around. You just look silly if you’re limping along in gorgeous shoes.
Don’t get in the car with anybody who’s been drinking or doing drugs. Call me or Steve or someone you trust. There’ll be no questions asked. I promise.
Find a good therapist and go, even when you don’t feel like you need it. You do.
Find a circle of friends you can trust. They are the ones who encourage you to make good decisions and who support you when you need someone to lean on. They also make you laugh and they are there when you need a good cry.
Don’t settle for the wrong guy. You deserve someone who treats you with respect; someone who makes you the center of their world; someone who doesn’t just support your dreams, but someone who helps you chase them.
Drink plenty of water.
Use a condom. This one is non-negotiable. It’s about way more than getting pregnant. Protect yourself.
Learn how to do yoga. I know you think it’s so “hippy” but I promise it helps you physically and emotionally.
Always dress for a job interview…..even if they say it’s casual. Navy or black with a splash of red will never go out of style.
Homegrown and homemade is always better. It’s worth the time and effort.
Earrings balance your face. My good friend Karrabi taught me this and it’s true. Wear them.
Essential oils are always better than prescriptions, but take the prescriptions if you need them.
Don’t take or smoke anything if you don’t know what it is. People put terrible stuff in what seems harmless and it’s just not worth it.
Write hand-written thank you notes. I don’t care if it’s not in vogue anymore. Do it. I promise it matters.
A day in the sunshine with your hands in the dirt will heal your weary soul.
Never let someone tell you that you can’t. You can. I promise.
If you decide to get a tattoo, make sure it’s one that you’ll want to keep forever and in a place that gives you options.
Baby bunnies, chickens and dogs always help you find your center. Make sure you have one of those available at all times.
Be you. I know you better than anyone in this world. And the thing I know the most, is that you’re pretty freaking awesome. Let your light shine, baby girl. I’m proud to be your mom and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for you.
These are just a few of the thousands that I hope I’ll be able to share during our time on this earth and I’ll quote my good friend Eric Church and say that,
“Some of it you learn the hard way
Some of it you read on a page
Some of it comes from heartbreak
Most of it comes with age
And none of it ever comes easy
A bunch of it you maybe can’t use
I know I don’t probably know what I think I do
But there’s something’ to
Some of it”