For My Daughters - My Life Lessons

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When I think about you both navigating your way through life (I actually do this often when I’m watching you play or learn a new skill), my feelings toward this are an equal measure of fear and excitement. You will face challenges that seem insurmountable and be forced to learn the hard way. You will make good choices, no doubt a few bad ones and some terrible ones. You will listen to good advice and bad advice and act upon both. Even at a young age you are strong willed and independent and I know that you are destined for great things but your journey will not be without its challenges. It’s important that you create your own path in life but I hope that this advice from my own experiences makes your road a little easier to navigate.

1.              Learn how to read a map and I don’t mean on the phone, I mean a physical map.  This is an important life skill, especially as you won’t always have phone signal and if you ever are driving with your Gran this will make sense.

2.              Travel not holiday (there is a definite distinction between the two)…near and far.  Travel by yourself, with friends and with a loved one.  You will learn more about yourself and others through travel than living with them can ever teach you.  Travel with a partner before you live with them, if at the end of the trip you still want to live with them then its likely going to be a lasting experience.

3.              If you say sorry…mean it, being disingenuous is not a human trait to aspire too.  The same goes for I love you. 

4.              If you are going to judge anyone, judge yourself against the person you were yesterday.

5.              Always be KIND, even to those that aren’t kind to you.  It’s likely they need it the most.

6.              You will not like everyone you meet in life, that is ok.  The same can be said about you, not everyone will like you, again that is ok.  Don’t change so that people will like you.

7.              If you wouldn’t go to someone for advice, don’t listen to their criticism.

8.              Know your worth.  This goes for relationships, work and your time. Never let anyone else determine your value.

9.              Don’t be late to meet people.  The greatest gift anyone can give you is their time, don’t keep them waiting because of your own poor time management.

10.          Your dress size is not a good indication of your self-worth.  Neither is the number staring back at you on a set of scales.

11.          Labels do not define you. Don’t label others in an attempt to understand them, everyone has a different story for why they are who they are.

12.          Your gender, age, nationality, relationship status or any other “boxed” description of you does not determine your ability. If it makes you the underdog, use it to your advantage.

13.          Look after your mental wellbeing, without it there is no physical wellbeing.

14.          Question everything, except your intuition. Trust your gut, even when it goes against your head and your heart.

15.          Life is not meant to be lived in the past. Have no regrets. 

16.          From time to time you will make mistakes. Learn from them.  Don’t make the same mistakes again because then it is no longer a mistake but an intention.

17.          Don’t fear death, its inevitable for us all.  Fear not having lived.

18.          Your heart will be broken, you will break hearts.  Mourn the loss and then pick yourself up and move on.

19.          Use your voice.  If someone hurts or disappoints you, let them know.  Holding in feelings isn’t good for your health.

20.          Ask for what you want in life, the worst you can be told is no.

21.          Learn to say no.  This two letter word can be the most freeing word in the English language. Know when to use it.

22.          Always, always use sun cream.  You will be thankful later in life.

23.          There is nothing more limiting in this world than a closed mind. 

24.          Place more value on memories than things.  While its nice to have nice things, the joy they bring is fleeting.  Memories are invaluable and last a lifetime.  

25.          Know your audience, for both your actions and your words.

26.          Seek out places and people that resonate with your soul.  Be the friend that can be called upon at anytime. Make sure you have a handful of people that you feel this way about also.

27.          Never settle but enjoy being settled.  Your dad taught me the difference…and its one of my favourite things about him.

28.          Grab opportunities with both hands even if you don’t think you can do something.  Many of your greatest experiences will happen when you do.

29.          The way to a man’s heart (or a ladies) is through their stomach (your grandfather taught me this), learn how to cook.

30.          Beauty is more than skin deep, a beautiful soul far out-weighs a beautiful appearance.

31.          If your life doesn’t live up to societies expectations, that is more than ok, as long as it’s living up to your own expectations.  If its not make the necessary changes.

32.          Don’t let your heart be hardened by a bad experience.  

33.          Never judge a book by its cover.  This goes for people, books, wine, restaurants, basically everything in life.

34.          Be determined.  If you really want something go after it, the best things in life often come about due to hard work.  Always back yourself.

35.          Never go to bed angry (your dad also taught me this).

36.          Confront your fears. 

37.          Don’t take crap from anyone.  We teach people how we want to be treated by accepting their actions.

38.          Happiness is not a permanent state, wholeness is.  Do not rely on others for your own happiness, this is yours to own.  On this point, you are a whole person, you don’t need to be in a relationship to achieve wholeness - seek out a partner that understands this.

39.          Don’t forget how to have fun.  There is always room for your inner child.

40.          Take photos but know how to be in the moment. 

41.          Hold your head high.  You will miss too much if you are looking down.

42.          Learn a new skill, not because you want to make money from it but because its good for your brain.

43.          Learn how to read people.  Their actions will be more authentic then their words ever will be. 

44.          Eyes really are the window to the soul.  If someone isn’t smiling with their eyes, they aren’t really smiling. 

45.          Don’t be embarrassed to ask for help when you need it and don’t ever shame others if they seek help.

46.          You wont always have control over what happens to you, but you do have control over how you react. 

47.          Can’t is a cop-out.  End of!

48.          Have an opinion but know why and “because that is what you have been told” is not a valid reason.

49.          Don’t confuse sexual chemistry for love.  The two are not mutually exclusive.

50.          Always be honest.  The people you’ll respect the most are the ones who tell you what you need to hear not what you want to hear. 

51.          Watch out for your sister.  She is the greatest friend you will ever have and at times probably your worst enemy but the bond you share can not be broken.

52.          Never walk in a dark alley by yourself. 

53.          Don’t wait to use the best crockery, glasses, bedding or wear the fancy clothes.  The best should be reserved for everyday. 

54.          Its perfectly acceptable to go out in public without make-up, or wearing your best clothes, but always ensure you brush your hair (while you are young please remind your dad to do this for you)!

55.          Always make your bed…doing so means you have achieved something for the day, even on the days when you feel like you haven’t. 

56.          Never diet, it’s a trap for unhappiness. Instead learn how to fuel your body to be healthy. Everything in moderation.

57.          Get outside, its good for the soul. Fresh air is sometimes all that is needed to turn a day around.

58.          Exercise, its not just good for you physically but mentally too.

59.          Just because you aren’t good at something doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try doing it.  Very few people are great at things on their first, second or third attempt. 

60.          Own a pet, especially a dog.  They are loyal and always happy to see you.  They also teach you about responsibility, empathy and true love.

61.          Know that where ever in the world your dad and I maybe you will always have a place to call home, but don’t live your life for us.