Since my oldest daughter is turning 13 today, I wanted to give her some advice that will help her throughout her life, avoiding modern-day cliches whenever possible.
1 – On Truth
Life is hard. As you get older, it will continue to get harder. The best way to make it not any harder for yourself is to always tell the truth. Ironically, the hardest times to tell the truth are also the times when it’s the most important. I can’t envision the exact scenarios you will find yourself in where you will need this advice, but I can guarantee you will find yourself in those situations sooner or later. Telling the truth will make you a trustworthy person.
2 – On Kindness
Be kind to people who don’t deserve it. I’m not saying you should let people walk all over you or abuse that kindness, but be generous to people who are less fortunate than you – with your money, time, and resources. It will never be wasted.
3 – On Bravery
Don’t let anyone tell you what you can’t do.
4 – On Perfection
No one and nothing is perfect. Art is never finished or complete. Do what makes you happy and try your best. Learn something from everyone you meet.
5 – On Individuality
There is only one “you” and you’re it. Only copy other people when you’re learning a new thing, then find your own way. No one else can be you. Even though you are a tiny speck on a tiny, spinning ball flying through a tiny galaxy in the universe, you are a part of everything that happens.
6 – On Confrontation
If you learn how to resolve conflicts with others without ruining the relationship, you will be better at it than almost everyone. Then, you can write a book about it.
7 – On Money
A job is just a job. If you get to do something you love and get paid for it, great! But if not, do the best you can and you will learn something from every job you have. Learning the value of hard work has been a valuable lesson I learned at an early age. Save as much as you can and learn to get by on less than you make.
8 – On Hobbies
There’s probably nothing more important for your mental health than finding things you love to do just for fun. These things will change over the years, so don’t be afraid to try new things. People will judge things you like based on their experience with that thing, so don’t let anyone convince you not to try something that might seem weird.
9 – On Laughter
What someone finds funny is one of the most fascinating parts of their personality. Find someone who makes you laugh and who you make laugh, and you’ll have a lifelong friend – maybe even a spouse.
10 – On Family
Families come in all shapes and sizes. Yours will probably look different from most. But, the bond of family we have tried to create will hopefully give you a few lifelong companions. You won’t always get along with everyone, and you don’t have to.
11 – On Friendship
Some friends will come and go. You will find them in unexpected places and times, often just when you needed that person to come into your life for a specific reason. You only get out what you put into a friendship. The people I’ve considered my best friends are the ones who offer to help without expecting anything in return. Be that friend.
12 – On Love
It’s difficult for most people to know if they will love the same person their entire life. What makes relationships so hard is people are always changing. If someone breaks your heart, don’t let that stop you from loving someone else. Find someone who treats you as their equal by giving their whole self to you and give your whole self to them.
13 – On Beauty
Our society judges women on their appearance. How you look determines, in many cases, your worth and value to other people. But, it should not determine what you think of yourself. Don’t compare yourself to others, and don’t let what anyone thinks of you, or even what you think of yourself, stop you from pursuing your dreams and goals.