Sometime ago a friend asked me to join her and other women in creating a book of wisdom for a niece who was turning 13. Ultimately, after writing my list of “10 Things I would tell my 13 Year-Old Self if I could change her life”, I discovered that what I would have told myself then is really, what my 60+ self still needs to hear and know and breathe into everyday.
This post originally appeared on my blog in May 2014 and then Sept. 2017. As I was contemplating what went with No 47 in my #ShePersisted Series, these 10 things came to mind. The 11th would be, “You are responbile for your own happiness. Do not abdicate your responsibility to someone else. Take charge of your life.”
Ten Things I would tell my 13-year-old self if I could change her life.
- There is no such place as forever. Nothing is forever. This too shall pass. Whatever you are experiencing, the trauma, the angst, the joy, they are all illusory. Transitory. Ride whatever is happening hands free, barefooted, body wide open to the experiences of life. Now is not forever.
- You’re okay. More than okay, you are amazing. Just the way you are. There is no fashion too out there, no style too wild if it is what you want to wear. You are not too fat, too skinny, to short, too tall, too under-developed, over-developed. You are who you are, how you are. And that’s amazing.
- You are worthy. This is a tricky one. Your mind wants to steal this one away and hide it because to know your worth, you must risk — the unknown. the perceived impossible. You must risk the ups and downs, ins and outs, overs and unders of life. To know your worth, you must know there is nothing, noone, no way anyone can steal it from you. It is your birthright.
- Believe in you. Really, really believe in you. Don’t question your right to be. Don’t question you’re right to go anywhere, do anything, anyway you choose. Be you. Everyone else is taken. Wear your hair up, down, wild, straight. Colour it pink, gold, orange or green. It’s your body. Your hair. Your skin. Your life. Your right to believe in you and be you just the way you are.
- Be kind. People will say mean things. Do cruel things. Be kind. Like you, they struggle to know their worth, find their place, feel their feelings. Like you, they are taking this journey of life without a manual, unable to control and predict everything life will throw at them. Like you, they are sometimes scared, sometimes silly, sometimes confused, sometimes wise. And like you, they too are looking to fit in, to belong, to be part of something bigger than themselves. Be kind, no matter how they act. Be kind.
- You don’t have to find your meaning. You are your meaning. Live it with your whole heart wide open to life. Your meaning is not in wearing the latest fashion or having the coolest stuff. Your meaning is found in how you approach every moment, engage every person from that place where you know, no matter what you think they think about you, you think and know you are amazing, just the way you are.
- Seek magnificence. Don’t go looking for mediocrity. Seek to be known through your magnificence and seek always to know others through theirs. Don’t look for fault, seek the lessons, seek the knowing, seek the value in all things.
- Risk often. Life isn’t a predictable series of events over which you have ultimate control. The only person you have control over is yourself – and even then you’ll sometimes doubt just how in control of yourself you are. Risk anyway because, if you’re involved with others, there will be lots of messy, sticky, unexpected and sometimes painful things happening on your journey. They’re just things. It’s all just stuff. You are amazing – I know, I said it already – it’s true. Believe it. Risk living from the place of knowing you are okay, you are amazing, you are magnificent. Risk living as if it’s true — because it is.
- Smile often. Laugh lots. Dance always. And when you cry, cry out loud. When you laugh, laugh out loud. And when you see injustice, ask what can I do to change it, and do that thing with your whole heart and know, that is enough. You are enough. You don’t have to have all the answers, you only need to learn the one’s that will allow you to make the difference in the world you want to see and be. And that’s enough.
- Get creative. Don’t go looking inside boxes for the recipe for life. Live it not knowing what’s next. Live it expecting the unexpected. Live it free of holding onto hurts and pains, sorrows and regrets. Live it up. Fill it with joy. and always, always SHINE! Because you are amazing. You are worthy. You are magnificent. And that’s the only truth you need to know to live your life fearlessly in Love with all of you.
So, if it was a nephew turning 13, would the advice be different?
Or rather, if it was a male person giving advice to a 13 year old boy or girl, would the advice be different?
The reason I pose the question is the sense your advice is to a 13 yr. old Louise – to lead Louise’s life.
I’m not disagreeing with any of your sage advice but wondering, when we give backward-looking advice to anyone if we are being wise advisors or if we are advising the person we counsel to be ‘like us’.
I’ve found recently, with two young men I am mentoring, that I AM giving them advice to be more like me and when I critique something they’ve done it is to make it more like I would have done it.
my two cents
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I think as humans Mark that we are naturally ego-centered and thus, can’t help but give advice that is a reflection of our thinking, experiences, beliefs, values.
A list like my 10 things is naturally going to be a reflection of what is important to me — not necessarily to the ‘whole world’. Ultimately, it will resonate with people depending upon their own experiences and how ‘familiar’ the inforotmion is to their own epxerience and how it resonates with their hearts. Inevitably, some parts will hit home with them, some not. I don’t want people to see or think or be like me, I want my words to inspire them to find themselves and be that. If my words inspire them to claim their true selves — awesome! But I’m okay if they don’t see the world the way I do. That’s what makes the world so rich and beautiful. ❤
You shine through in this Louise 💛 great list!
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Where were you when I needed you way back then???
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I love your question Ronnie — for me, I think some of this list was who I ‘wish’ I’d been back then, wish I’d known, etc. I think for many of us, looking back we were becoming the me we are today because we were the ‘me’ back then who was trying to find who we wanted to become today.
I would tell 13yr old Jo-Anne that she will have an amazing life
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How lovely JOanne! ❤