I had a conversation with a young lady yesterday, maybe about 17 years old, and we got to talking about our life's purpose and what not. Somehow, we ended up discussing the paths I chose to take and what advice I was given when I was younger. Of course, I only remember a few things a few people said along the way, but I made a point to recall those particular stories. Then she asked, "Well... what advice would you give me?"
I got to thinking about it. If I had a daughter, what would I want them to know. What have I learned that has proven to be true? I am only 42 years old, but in that time, I think I have figured a few things out, at the very least.
With that, I think the following list are my definites. Things I hold to be true.
Here's goes nothing:
1. Drink lots of water. (Seems silly to share that, but it is true.) Will solve a ton of headaches, bad skin, food cravings, and whatever else that ails you.
2. Stay out of the sun as much as you can. Or at the very least, wear sunscreen. I have so many people say to me, "You look so young for your age." Well... the truth is, for the most part, I don't get a sun tan. I wear strong spf and I wear a hat at the beach or pool. Anywhere I ever got a sunburn, that is exactly where fine lines are showing up. Simple as that.
3. Figure out what you enjoy and are good at, and find a way to make money at it. It is the only true way to happiness. I feel like I am lucky; at the age of 12 I knew the field I wanted to work in. I'm 42 and I have not strayed from that course.
4. Go to school. I don't care what type of school it is: University, tech school, an online course in basketweaving.. whatever. Be an expert at something. It will set you apart. Learn a trade. Apprentice under someone. Whatever you choose, be the best at it.
5. I know I go back to this a lot, but take care of your skin. Wash your face every morning & night. Exfoiliate your skin every morning. Moisturize morning and night. It is that simple. I think you are never to young to learn to do this and make it a habit.
6. Take care of your teeth.
7. Always go for your regular doctor's check ups. Early detection of anything is the key to health and happiness.
8. When an adult tells you something is a bad idea. Listen. Trust me on this one.
9. Practice safe sex. Too many diseases out there and waaaay too many people having babies who have no business breeding.
10. On that subject - don't have kids if you are not ready. Mentally, financially, whatever. I think having a child is the single most important job you can have. When you screw up, you are screwing up generations of issues that are hard to erase.
11. Marriage. Lord have mercy. Look - just wait. Get your education finished. Seriously. Start your first job. Get some money in savings. Then get married.
12. When it comes to work - be careful of gossip and jealousy. If you are a star student at a job, people may very well try to sabotage you. Be friendly, but at arms length. You will rise faster and do better.
13. When it comes to friends, the really good ones will love you regardless. When you have tough times, you will be able to sort out who is in it for the long haul, and who is a fair weather friend. Don't be bitter. Just know people will come into your life, and they will fall out of your life. It's no big deal. Cherish the good times, and close chapters as needed.
14. Spend as much time with your grandparents as possible. Get their stories. Write them down. This is their legacy to you.
15. Travel. Travel as much as you financially can. You get an opportunity to leave the country - DO IT. Or pick someplace you have always wanted to go and save up for it. Do it and do it often.
16. Try new foods, new music, new cultures, expose - expose - expose yourself to everything. Remember, if we say we don't like something and we've never tried it - it usually means we don't understand it. You can understand something without choosing something.
17. Do not EVER judge someone because of their race, religion, or sexual orientation. That just makes you a very bad person. That is between them and God. Not for you to decide if they are bad people. Your job is to be kind and show compassion. And for God's sake, stand up for those being chastised. Sometimes not saying anything is worse than being the ignorant person.
18. If you can help someone, do it. Don't expect a thank you. Just do it. It's good for your soul.
19. Be kind to animals. Take care of your plants. Take care of your body. Exercise. Talk to someone when you are sad. Don't isolate yourself.
20. Finally, always wear your seat belt. Face your fears. Laugh as much as possible.