This week my daughter, Rowan, turned 16. In honour of her birthday week, here is a list of quotes, mottos, thoughts, and a mixed-bag of other life lessons – from lighthearted hacks to more philosophic ones I’ve learned throughout my life, that I hope my daughter will remember, throughout her life.
26 Life Lessons From a Mother to her Daughter on Her 16th Birthday (Which We Can All Learn From!)
1) “Another person’s success does not mean you’re a failure.”
I love this quote. Always remember this! Be happy for other’s success and they will be happy for you. If they’re not, they are not your real friends. That’s okay. The ones who celebrate your achievements are the ones you will remember. Candidly, in many cases, no matter what age you are or what stage in life you are at, whatever you want in life, other people are going to want it too. You have an equal right to success and should never feel bad about it. Marilyn Monroe said, “Success makes so many people hate you. I wish it wasn’t that way. It would be wonderful to enjoy success without seeing envy in the eyes of those around you.” Yes, it sure would be. But some humans aren’t wired this way. This will never change. What these people don’t realize is that success is no accident. It is hard work, dedication, perseverance, learning, studying, sometimes sacrifice, love of what you are doing or learning to do. And, yes, sometimes it comes down to pure luck, being in the right place at the right time. Accept that this is also is a factor in success.
2) If you are going out, be it a date night, a party, a wedding, and must or want to wear heels, always pop two Advil before leaving the house.
Pop two more when you get home. Not only will you last much longer walking and standing in those stilettos, but your feet will also be less sore in the morning! (Same goes with drinking, but you’re still underage, so we’re not going there. But when you finally can drink legally and are invited to an event where you won’t know a lot of people, another life hack is to head directly to the bar, order a drink, and it won’t seem as daunting talking to people.) Also, if you are in a male-dominated meeting, for example, wear heels. Why? Think of your heels as ammunition, to make you feel powerful, to stand up and stand tall, in a world still mostly dominated by men, which I hope will change when you’re finally out in the working world.
3) You realize, right, that you don’t have to wait until Halloween to buy chocolate.
You’re almost an adult and you have money. If you feel like chocolate, buy chocolate, and eat it whenever you damn well please!
4) Don’t ever be fooled that you need to have sex to get ahead.
You could flirt your way to the top, if you have no reservations about this. Or rather, just be friendly or compliment on your way to the top, because that works too. (Sorry. I speak the truth) While we’re talking about getting ahead, never marry for money. You’ll pay for it, in other ways, for the rest of your life (unless you’re okay with this.) Marry the one who, at the end of the day, is the only one you want to go to bed with, and the only one you want to wake up with.
5) “Tell me and I’ll forget. Teach me and I may remember. Involve me and I will learn.”
Benjamin Franklin said this. Whenever you see an injustice in the world – be it anti-semitism or racism or bullying – continue to speak up and speak out and involve others so they can truly be educated. You can make a difference by involving others, and then they can make a difference. Doing what you know is right takes courage.
6) Do not wash your hair every day.
Not because it’s bad for your hair (although it probably is) but because the second and third day after a hair wash are the days your hair looks the best. Please don’t start plucking your eye-brows, at least until you’re in your 20s. They are perfect as is. You will regret thin eyebrows when you get older, so don’t mess around with them at such a young age. Just trust me on this.
7) “A rational person should live as though God exists and seek to believe in God. If God does not actually exist, you have nothing to lose. Whereas if you believe, you have everything to gain.”
I paraphrased this from the French philosopher, mathematician and physicist Blaise Pascal. You can exchange the word “God” to the “Universe” or “fairy godmothers” or even “Karma.” You have nothing to lose by believing in some higher power, and everything to gain if there is. This, too, is why you should always carry out random acts of kindness with no expectations. It won’t ever come back to haunt you, but someday, someone might do the same for you.
8) Don’t be late. Ever.
Whether it’s meeting a friend for dinner, showing up for an interview, making an appointment, or even visiting your parents, don’t be late. It’s rude. In fact, show up ten minutes early! Also, make a rule for those who are late meeting you. I have a 20-minute rule. If we make plans, and you are more than 20 minutes late, I’m out. Don’t compare busyness. We are all busy. Everyone’s time is precious. So don’t waste other people’s time, and don’t let them waste yours.
9) Don’t yell, no matter how much you want to.
You will get in arguments, with your spouse, with the person you’re dating, with an ex, with a family member or a colleague. Don’t yell. Remember, just because someone is speaking louder, does not mean they are right. Some people think that you need to have the loudest voice in the room to get points across when often the best thing to do is tone it down and actually hear what someone else is saying.
10) When in doubt, always dress more up than down.
You can’t ever go wrong dressing a little more fancy, no matter the occasion. Even if the invite says “casual,” it’s still better to wear a little black dress, or a business suit, or wear lipstick and a bit of mascara. You can never go wrong with an LBD, so make sure you have at least one Little Black Dress in your closet. Enough said. Also, when it comes to fashion and body image, be proud to show off your long legs. Be proud to show off your fabulous perky breasts, no matter what age. But do not show off BOTH at the same time. Choose either showing off your legs or showing off your chest. And remember, a smile is the prettiest thing you can wear. Confidence is also a good look!
11) Laugh, even when it’s hard to.
When a relationship fails, or you dump a guy, they will tell their friends, family, or therapist or anyone that will listen, that you were “Crazy,” or, “Unreasonable,” or, “Impossible to deal with.” Laugh when this comes back to you! There is not one woman, who hasn’t been called “Crazy,” at least once in their romantic lives, by an ex. When it comes to relationships, along with good communications and the same values, these are really two most important things to keep an adult relationship strong. 1) Be kind to each other. So make them a coffee in the morning. Or reach them throughout the day, just to say you’re thinking about them. 2) Sex. (When you’re older please!)
12) If you are a competitive person, remember this to inspire you:
“Look in the mirror. That’s who you’re competing against.” You can’t “play” if you’re sitting on the bench. Get off the bench. Winning is so much better than losing, so let’s not pretend otherwise.
13) There will ALWAYS be THAT girl.
That girl who will steal your boyfriend, mess with his mind, or take your boyfriend away from you, only then to dump him, and for your ex to want you back, but then only for THAT girl to re-enter the picture yet again, wanting your boyfriend back, just because, well, she’s toxic. Don’t be that girl who does this. Don’t be the girl who will take someone back, again and again. Move on. Stay the fuck away. Never forget that you don’t need anyone who doesn’t need you. A relationship that starts with drama usually does not end well. Know this. A smart girl knows to leave before she is left. Trust your gut, intuition, or instinct, when it comes to other people or anything else, really. You’ll more likely be right than wrong.
14) Be the kind of woman who is brave enough to tell another woman if they have lipstick on their teeth.
If they had forgotten to take the tag off their new dress, discreetly let them know. If their boobs look lopsided in their outfit, let them know and offer to help them. If their underwear line is showing, kindly let them know. Be THAT kind of girl, who discreetly can tell a perfect stranger, that there is something stuck in the middle of their teeth, or that their zipper is undone. You think you’ve embarrassed them? Nope. You’ve actually done the opposite. That person will be more grateful that you said something to them, so they can fix it, rather than not knowing they had red lipstick on their teeth the entire evening, only finding out when they get home, embarrassed, wondering why no one had told them.
15) Don’t waste your energy…on many things.
You may feel bad that you spent your entire Saturday watching Youtube videos when you know that you have homework, studying, work or chores to do. Stop with the guilt. People need ‘wasted’ days or “emotional days.” So instead of wasting your energy on feeling guilty, repeat to yourself, “Time you enjoy wasting was not wasted. Time you enjoy wasting was not wasted.” Be it in school, university or out in the real world, it is OKAY to take an emotional day off, or to enjoy a wasted day binge-watching television. But after you have made the decision for a wasted day, do not second guess yourself. Most of us do not run a country. If you feel the need for an emotional day off, take it. But don’t waste any energy feeling guilty if you decide you need to take a “wasted day.” Enjoy it. Your desk will still be there tomorrow. The grocery store will still be there tomorrow.
16) You are replaceable.
This is sad to realize, in the real world, but I want you to know this. That job you may be kicking ass at? Well, there is someone as skilled or as talented and who will work for less, rendering you replaceable. You may think that you are not replaceable – after all, you work extremely hard and have shown nothing but ambition – but at the end of the day, everyone in the real world is replaceable. Life is unfair in this way. But it’s the truth.
17) This quote, by John Lennon, gets me every time and is something I hope you always remember!
“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.” No need to explain further. I just want you to be happy, that’s the most important thing I want as a mother. Also, remember, for every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness. Something, also, to think about.
18) Not wearing underwear is so freeing.
Try it! I stopped wearing underwear at your age and have never looked back. There is also nothing better than sleeping completely nude with a thin comfortable sheet over you. Try it!
19) Don’t be afraid to make a call to get advice or to ask for anything.
“If you don’t ask, you don’t get!” Reach out to the very best, those who can help you, those you would love to get advice from. Because guess what? Almost everyone, even the most successful who are at the top of their industry, will find time for you because YOU did reach out. 99 percent of people are scared to reach out, assuming people won’t make them for them, so, yes, they will fit you in, and you will be much farther ahead than most. If you think you deserve a raise, the only way to know if you’ll get one is to…ask for a raise. You might not get one, but if you don’t ask, you’ll definitely never get one. Asking for help or advice is not a sign of weakness.
20) No matter what, you’re going to mess up sometimes.
Every one does. It’s a universal truth. When you make a mistake or hurt someone, apologize. If another person hurts you and you want to lash out, take a walk around the block. If you still feel like sending out that text, do it. But always remember, if you say it you’ll forget it. If you write it, you may regret it. But, no, you don’t always have to be the bigger person. If someone does something hurtful, you have the right to be angry. You do not have to forgive someone immediately. That’s not how the human heart or brain works. Likewise, know that if you have hurt someone, they, too, don’t have to forgive you immediately. In fact, sometimes that person will never forgive you. Sometimes you will never forgive that person. Remember, too, perhaps that person who hurt you was having a bad day. Perhaps you lashed out because you were having a bad day. It’s human nature to try and fix things we regret, but sometimes you’ll never be able to fix it. Forgive yourself.
21) Important people are much more interesting when they’re drunk.
22) You will have your heartbroken.
Maybe once. Maybe 10 times. Yes, you could lie in bed, crying for a month. But then…you have only two paths to take. You can take the path and remain a mess, hoping for months or years that they may want you back. The other path you can choose is to move the fuck on. I think you know which path is the right one to take.
23) It’s better being completely ridiculous than unbelievably boring.
Make life fun. Break some rules. Wear a tiara on your birthday every year, no matter what age! Add in that long essay that is due a line like, “Are you still reading this?” just for fun, to see if the teacher IS actually reading your essay.
24) Loyalty is black and white.
You’re either loyal or you’re not. Know that I, as your mother, will always be loyal to you. There is no grey area when it comes to this. Loyalty is rare. When you have it, keep it. Blood makes us related. Loyalty makes us a family.
25) Sometimes a gal just needs to cry.
So cry. Cry in the shower. Cry in your car. Close the door, and cry in your bedroom for ten minutes. Like I said, sometimes a girl just needs a good cry. There’s nothing wrong with that.
26) Stay positive, beautiful daughter, even when it feels your life is falling apart, and you will feel this numerous times.
Never let those bastards get you down. And remember, I will always love you. Unloving you is impossible.
Have any life lessons you’re teaching your daughters? Please share!
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