Things I’d like my teenage girls to know. In no particular order.

I’m turning 45 in a week. I just came back from a long road trip to LI where I had the chance to listen to really sad and contemplative music (fuck you Sondheim and Simon and Garunkle) and reflect on shit for like hours. And as I was reflecting (read as crying) I thought a lot about what I want my girls to learn as they approach adulthood. I guess it is the fact that I’m really halfway (or more) through my life. Or maybe it was all the cheese I ate this weekend with my friends. Or maybe it’s that I spent time with my best of friends reminiscing about when our whole futures were in front of us. Maybe it was allergies. Whatever. I started thinking of things I would like my teenage girls to know. So here you go whether you like it or not.

  1. You will make mistakes so you need to just deal with it and let it go. I mean try not to make huge mistakes that can’t be rectified like killing someone or voting for Donald Trump but most mistakes? You can just use them to figure out how to not make them again. Make mistakes. Make all the mistakes. Make them often and learn from them. Don’t be afraid to fall down flat on your ass because picking yourself up again will give you strength, character, and courage. Don’t expect people to cover up your mistakes and don’t expect to get out of them easily. And just because you made a mistake and learned from it doesn’t mean you won’t make another one. And another one. And a lot of them. Keep your mistakes small and let them happen often so you don’t make big mistakes. Please trust me on this one.
  2. Love. Love so hard and so fierce that you leave yourself vulnerable and open. Love with every fiber of your being. Spend time with everything and everyone that you love. But here’s the thing. Love yourself the most. Fall in love with yourself over and over again. This is the hardest thing you will ever do. Love your beauty and your warts all the same. But if you have those warts see number one and get them fixed and be more careful next time, okay? Loving yourself is a life long process as you will change into someone that you might no longer recognize let alone love. But all along the way learn to love the you that you are right at the moment. And don’t stop trying to do this, ever. Love yourself more than anything or anyone else; it is not selfish, it is so very important. If you lose love for yourself do everything in your power to find it again. Everything.
  3. Be alone. Live alone. Do alone. You will go from living in a family full of people and dogs and lizards to living with a roommate in college and then roommates after college but don’t just jump right into living with a boyfriend or a fiance or a husband. Live by yourself. Be by yourself. Learn how to enjoy alone. Learn how to cook for one, pay bills for one, go out to eat with one. Know that one is not the loneliest number, that’s just a stupid song. Know who you are by yourself without trying to live up to someone else’s expectation of you. Travel by yourself, go see movies by yourself, go see concerts and shows alone. Live your life adventurously on your own as often as you can. I really can’t stress this one enough. Like for reals.
  4. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. I mean take that as you will, literally, metaphorically, whatever. Have lots of lovers. Have a lot of fun with lovers. I mean for the love of god be sensible and safe but embrace your sexuality and don’t be ashamed of it. People may disagree with me on this one but I really could give a flying fuck. Sex is not mystery and men shouldn’t have some weird power over us with it. You are not a slut or a whore if you are intimate with someone and nor should you ever call anyone else such a name. Sexuality is a normal and natural part of life and I want you to be comfortable with yours. If you want to be intimate with someone, then do it. If not then don’t. Learn what intimacy means to you and what it means in your life. You make your rules, not anyone else. But you can’t have babies until I’m at least 55 so take the pill or use condoms or both okay? Thanks.
  5. You don’t have to get married. Like ever. I mean you can and that’s great if you do but it’s also great if you don’t. Whatever floats your boat. If you do get married know that it is not a fairy tale. You are not cinderella and there is no magic slipper and prince charming doesn’t exist. Having a life partner is an amazing thing but it’s not everything (see number 3). To really be fulfilled in a relationship that may last the rest of your life you must have a really strong sense of self and your partner must respect that. Marriage is running a marathon; you start off like, wow this is fucking great, I feel fantastic and can go forever! And then you hit your first hill and you’re all like, I can do this, I’m so strong! Look at me go! And then you hit the second hill and you’re like, really? Can someone please hand me a rope to pull me up? And then you hit mile 18 and 19 and 20 and there’s a world of hurt and you’ve been running for what seems forever and you just want to stop and you start to wonder why you ever started to run . And then people are cheering you on and you can see the finish and there’s so much good at the end of it right? And so you keep moving towards it knowing that it’s hard but it’s worth it somehow in the end. And then you do that over and over again for years and years and years. I’m not sure I’m selling the marriage thing exactly but you make up your own mind on your own time. But please, kiss a lot of frogs before you settle with your prince.
  6. Have a passion. Have many passions. Don’t let go of your passions for anything. Don’t let anyone take your passions from you, especially you. Make time for your passions even when you have kids and a full time job and a house to care for and responsibilities everywhere. Your passions are precious and should be nourished.  If your spouse or partner or whatever doesn’t understand your passions then they don’t understand you. If you lose your passions then do everything in your power to find them again and indulge them.
  7. Wait to have children. Or don’t have them. What’s the rush. See the world, save some money, live life to the fullest for you because once the kids come you have so much more to focus on. Your ovaries may whisper in your ear every day “have a baby, do it, you know you want to, just do it already” but tell your ovaries to take a xanax and go back to bed. There is plenty of time to have a family and to have children so don’t rush it. Remember, I’m too young to be a grandmother. But when I am one, I will rock that shit.
  8. Exercise. Your mind, your body, your opinion. Do this on a daily basis. Keep up your muscle strength and your brain power and your ability to spar with words on a daily basis. Use it or lose it is your new favorite saying. You don’t have to do anything crazy but make sure you do something to keep yourself sharp everyday. I’m not saying that you need to take weird supplements or spend 3 hours at the gym every day or become an argumentative asshole but keep yourself strong and well cared for in every way. Don’t let yourself go, you’re too good for that.
  9. Laugh every day. Laugh until your sides hurt and tears spring from your eyes and you pee a little. Surround yourself with people that make you laugh. Laugh at yourself. Laugh at life. Laugh all the time. Watch movies that make you laugh, read the onion if that makes you laugh, tell jokes that make other people laugh. Laugh hard and laugh often. It is the best medicine and will keep you young. Even in the face of adversity and mistakes, laugh.
  10. Call your mother regularly. I’ll make you laugh, listen to your stories without judgement, and give you advice if you want it. But keep some things to yourself for the love of god, I don’t need to know everything.
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