The idea of raising a daughter instills a certain amount of fear in me. There’s so much to teach little girls about life and so many things that could damage them (including, but not limited to, me, unfortunately). In a perfect world, I could either protect her from any and all harm or that harm would just never exist in the first place. Sadly, that’s just not going to happen. I’ll be raising a daughter in a broken, hurtful, cruel, amazing, and wonderful world. But what I can do is offer her some of the things I’ve learned in my mere 30+ years on earth, things that I have found to be true and things I hope will ring true for her.
1. Don’t save your best or most expensive or favorite jewelry for special occasions. Wear it whenever you want. Pearls looks amazing with jeans and boots.
2. Be friends with lots of different people. But choose wisely those whom you call your BEST friends. They should be people that challenge, inspire, and motivate you to be the best version of you.
3. Go to college. Just do it.
4. Once a year, really commit to doing something you’ve never done. You never know what you might fall in love with.
5. Your soulmate may or may not be your spouse. That’s okay. You might also have more than one soulmate.
6. Never let anyone tell you you’re not capable of doing something. Prove them wrong.
7. Sometimes your head will lie to your heart and your heart will lie to your head. Don’t do anything until they agree. In the meantime, go for a run and eat a cupcake. That usually speeds up the process.
8. Church is like family. You won’t always like everyone and they won’t always like you. You won’t agree with everyone all the time. You might feel like throwing in the towel. Don’t give up on your church or your faith. Ask questions, read, pay attention, and eventually you’ll reach a place that feels comfortable even if you don’t have all the answers (you never will).
9. Don’t let anyone tell you what kind of music you should or shouldn’t like. But give all of it a chance. You never know what might strike your fancy.
10. Go to dinner and to the movies by yourself from time to time. It feels good to be confident enough to do it (even if you’re faking confidence for a little while).
11. Twirling will never get old. Living room dancing can solve a host of problems and be the best way to celebrate or let off steam. Never stop dancing.
12. Let your dad help you. He needs it and so do you.
13. Put down the camera/phone long enough to actually experience something.
14. If it doesn’t feel right, stop. This goes for romance, food, and fashion. If something doesn’t make you feel like a million bucks, you probably shouldn’t be doing it.
15. Do not ever drink cheap, crappy beer. Opt for craft whenever possible. If craft beer isn’t available, get a lemonade. Trust me.
16. Any time is a good time for champagne. Champagne is like the pearls of wine. It goes with everything and makes everything just a little more special.
17. Cheerleading is a sport. It’s one hell of a hard one, too. I’d like you to give it a go, but regardless of if you do or don’t, know that it’s no less challenging or competitive than basketball or football.
18. Speaking of football, the Denver Broncos are the only NFL team worth rooting for. People will try to tell you otherwise. Don’t listen.
19. Wear sunscreen like it’s your second job.
20. Steak should always be eaten at a maximum temperature of medium rare. Hamburgers are best at medium.
21. Glitter is about the worst and most difficult thing to clean up. Don’t let that stop you from wearing it or decorating with it.
22. Trampolines never go out of style. It feels fantastic any time you jump on one.
23. Get a tattoo if you want to. Get a hundred if you want to. Just have a reason for getting them. There will never be a good enough reason to justify Tweety Bird on your ass.
24. Never stop reading. Always look for something new to read and ask for recommendations from someone who is more well-read than you. That person will always exist and you will someday have the pleasure of being someone else’s go-to for suggestions.
25. Learn another language.
26. Travel. Experience other cultures. Fully immerse yourself in another country. You’ll learn a lot about yourself by doing it.
27. Six inch heels are too much fun not to wear. Wear them. Wear them often.
28. Don’t ever let a man get away with whistling at you or cat-calling you. Take them to task on it.
29. Camping is one of the most enjoyable things you will ever do.
30. Wear dresses while playing in dirt or fixing the car if you want. Clothes can be washed. You should feel fabulous no matter what you’re doing.
31. Learn to build something.
32. Sunday afternoon naps in the fall will never not feel amazing.
33. Be ballsy, but know your limits.
34. The question “What would my dad think?” will solve a lot of problems.
35. Get involved in politics and know what a candidate stands for. You never know who you might end up supporting, but you better know why.
36. Roller coasters will change your life. Ride as many as you can for as long as you can. Learn different techniques for getting the most thrill. And, especially, put your hands up!
37. Learn to embrace silence and solitude.
38. If you think it’s cheesy, it probably is. Don’t let that stop you from enjoying it. This especially goes for game nights and karaoke.
39. Be friends with (or better yet, marry) someone who makes you laugh so hard you can’t breathe.
40. Almond extract is a baking necessity.
41. Learn to drive a stick shift and be good at it.
42. Remember your friends’ birthdays and anniversaries. Send real cards in the real mail.