Julie and daughter I

My daughter will be a teenager soon. It’s frightening to think of all of the situations she may find herself in and challenges she will face on her own. There are so many things I want to tell her about what it means to be a decent, kind human-being. I trust in these lessons with a certainty I wish I’d know 20 years ago.

And, although I know the last thing she wants to do right now is listen to her mother, I desperately want to find a way to open her heart and let these words (and tips) sink in:

1-Worry, jealousy and guilt are wasted emotions.

2-Don’t be in a hurry to settle down. Travel the world, live alone at least once and learn how to manage your own finances first.

3-High school is a blip in time; don’t get hung up on the drama.

4-Practice kindness to everyone, especially those who are unkind to you.

5-Things don’t always happen for a reason. Sometimes bad shit happens for no reason at all.

6-There is no Prince Charming waiting out there to save you. If you need saving, figure out a way to save yourself.

7-You can do anything you set your mind to. The earlier you figure this out in life, the happier you will be.

8-Surround yourself with people who are your biggest fans.

9-Take risks and embarrass yourself as much as possible.

10-Once your words are out there, you can’t take them back.

11-Be grateful for what you have.

Julie and daughter II

12-Listen; to the stranger on the bus, your grandfather, and anyone else willing to tell you their story.

13-Don’t talk behind people’s backs. People know if you are talking bad about someone else, odds are you will talk about them given the chance.

14-Find a group of girlfriends you love and never let them go. Make sure they always know how important they are.

15-Learn as early as possible to laugh at yourself. It is an acquired skill.

16-Think independently and own your opinion, even if you are in the minority.

17-Not everyone is going to like you. If they do, you are doing something wrong.

18-Admit when you are wrong but don’t apologize if you’re not.

19-The sexiest thing about a woman is confidence.

20-Learn to cook at least 10 things really well. Homemade tomato soup and grilled cheese counts as 1.

21-Don’t talk bad about your significant other. Sometimes it feels good to complain, but it minimizes your relationship and his/her place in it.

22-Do not waste your time on people who are moody, cheap or negative.

23-Realize your worth in every relationship, give more than you get when you are capable.