Saturday, December 27, 2014

101 Things to Teach My Daughter

Look at me! I'm blogging!

I hope to blog at least occasionally, now that I'm no longer chained to a teaching job that makes me come home with my brain sucked dry. I'm planning to write some actual stories and essays, too, but blogging is a great way for me to process my thoughts, whether silly or potentially worth exploring.

Today on Facebook someone linked to one of those "101 Things to Teach my Daughter" posts and it inspired me to write my own list. Well, actually I kept a lot of Leah Froelhe's list, because a lot of her advice was awesome, but I modified it. I don't think my newly-turned-12-year-old is ready to appreciate these nuggets of wisdom, but I'll definitely share it with her by the time she turns 16. It occurred to me that a lot of the items on the list serve as a pretty good substitute for a New Year's resolution list, too, since I haven't mastered all of these by any means.

1. Chocolate is only a temporary fix.
2. A properly fitting bra is not a luxury. It is a necessity.
3. You are responsible for your own happiness.
4. A boyfriend does not validate your existence.
5. Eat the extra slice of pizza.
6. Wear what makes you feel gracefully at ease.
7. Seek beauty in all things.
8. Buy your friends dinner when you can.
9. Wear sunscreen like it's your second job.
10. Try with all your might to keep in touch with far-away friends.
11. When you don't know what to say, ask people questions about themselves.
12. Listen to their answers.
13. Walk with your head up.
14. Order a cheeseburger on a first date if you want to.
15. But don't order the most expensive thing on the menu--give the guy a break.
16. Act like a lady and require men to behave like gentlemen in your presence.
17. Don't bite your nails. (I wish I'd never started.)
18. Take some risks and learn from your mistakes.
19. Dental hygiene is not multiple choice.
20. Your GPA is not a revelation of your character.
21. There is strength in breaking down.
22. You don't have to like whatever the latest exercise craze is.
23. Take care of your feet.
24. Even if you're tall, wear the heels anyway.
25. Don't wear anything that shows your underwear.
26. Like what you like.
27. Offer no explanation.
28. You are no less of a woman when you're in sweats and tennis shoes than a woman in stilettos and a pencil skirt.
29. A woman is a woman is a woman.
30. Cry, uninhibited, with your friends.
31. Laugh until you can't breathe with your friends.
32. Tell me everything.
33. Exercise to be strong and healthy. A beautiful soul needs a sturdy vessel.
34. There is no shame in hoping for love.
35. If you can read, you can cook.
36. You will never regret saving sex for marriage.
37. I'd like you to keep reading. The Internet, while fun, is no substitute for books.
38. The world is full of tragedy.
39. Do not be blind to it.
40. Men are effectively idiots until the age of 26.
41. Carbohydrates are not the enemy.
42. Involve yourself with the volunteer activity of your choice.
43. Listen to classical music occasionally.
44. Make art. It's part of who you are.
45. Figure out what helps you de-stress.
46. You are more than capable,
47. I promise.
48. Own your anger. Own your sadness. Own your pain.
49. I am always, always listening.
50. Travel.
51. Make me furious.
52. Make me worry.
53. Come home smelly, tired, and with a good story.
54. Your story isn't really yours.
55. You are a compilation of others' stories.
56. Well-fitting and modest is always sexier than too small and tight.
57. The size on the tag is just a number.
58. Who cares if glitter isn't tasteful?
59. It's too much eyeliner if you have to ask.
60. Learn to bake for when you're sad and I'm not there. It also makes you popular at work.
61. Humility and subservience are not synonyms.
62. Always wash your face before bed.
63. But keep some makeup-removing wipes for when it's really late.
64. Be gentle with your skin--you only get one face.
65. Science is really cool.
66. So is literature.
67. And history.
68. And math.
69. There is no substitute for fresh air.
70. Carry your weight.
71. Make up for it later if you can't.
72. Whoever said, "Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels" was a freaking liar.
73. You're not fooling anyone.
74. Find at least three non-starchy vegetables you can tolerate.
75. Expect the best from everyone.
76. People will let you down.
77. Stop and smell the roses.
78. There is a certain kind of man you need to avoid at all costs.
79. You'll know it when you meet him.
80. Trust your instincts.
81. That's the still small voice that you hear inside when it's quiet.
82. Give thoughtful gifts.
83. Form an opinion.
84. Defend it.
85. But be open to new points of view.
86. Exfoliation in moderation.
87. Argue with people when you need to.
88. If it's worth fighting for, fight fiercely.
89. Don't fight for acceptance.
90. You shouldn't have to.
91. Take pictures, but not too many.
92. No duckface.
93. Follow your dreams at all costs (but I'm cutting off your parental funding at 22).
94. Always remember that your daddy was your first love.
95. There's no shame in getting help if depression or anxiety rear their ugly heads.
96. If you're worried you're crazy, it means you're not. Crazy people never think they're crazy.
97. Start saving for retirement when you get your first paycheck.
98. Cultivate gratitude--it's the key to happiness.
99. Give yourself small treats.
100. We'll always have "Doctor Who."
101. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.

I love you, sweet girl.