As I stood in front of my mirror trudging through my morning routine one day, I thought how much I wished someone had shared certain things with me as I was growing up. So, this is the list I wish I had. This is my advice for my future daughter. Of course, she will disregard most, if not all, of this information. But at least I will have evidence to say, “I told you so.”
1. If you inherit my eyesight, I’m sorry, it will be poor. That said, do not do your hair before putting in your contacts. It won’t look as cute with 20/20 eyesight as it did with 40/120.
2. Equate your value with how much you know, not how you look.
3. You have sideburns, sweetie, because you’re Asian. It doesn’t mean that you look weird just because none of the white girls around you have sideburns.
4. In college, pursue a major that you love. You can do something practical later.
5. Have a working knowledge of world geography.
6. Listen to The Beatles, Bob Dylan, and Johnny Cash.
7. I can’t really give you any advice about love, because I’m still trying to figure that mess out for myself. I don’t know if you’ll love men, women, or decide eventually that you want to be a man. Love is a very personal and individualized experience. One thing I can tell you is that you can’t control who you fall in love with. If you love someone, tell them. If they reciprocate, enjoy. If they don’t, it’s ok to be sad for a little bit, but then move on.
8. Life is not a fucking Disney movie. Prince Charming isn’t coming. Go save yourself.
9. In a relationship, be yourself, and let them be themselves. If you still love, respect, and enjoy each other’s company, you have the beginning of a healthy relationship.
10. There’s no such thing as perfect love. Accept this, and you’ll save yourself a lot of frustration.
11. If you inherit my introversion: There’s nothing wrong with you for liking to sit by yourself on the bus or finding group projects in school absolutely annoying. The happiest times of my childhood were sitting alone in a tree reading and the happiest times in adulthood I have had no one’s company but my own.
12. Learn a second language early in life.
13. Learn how to follow a dance partner. Bonus if you can find a man who knows how to lead.
14. Take every excuse and opportunity to travel.
15. Learn about and respect other cultures.
16. Read a lot.
18. Learn to play a musical instrument.
19. Learn how to navigate under the hood of a car.
20. At least once, live in a different culture than which you grew up.
21. On politics: Respect and vote for people who respect the rights and equality of all human beings.
22. Use a condom.
23. There’s not one religion that is better than any other. Above all, religion should function to make you a better person. Let that guide your thoughts on religion.
24. Don’t let feminists convince you that you can’t cook a meal for your family, be a stay-at-home mom, or buy a pair of heels. True feminism is about having the freedom and confidence to do what you want.
25. Watch Monty Python.
26. If you have no other skills, write well. That alone can get you far.
27. Don’t send nude photos of yourself across internets or airwaves. You never know where they’ll end up.
28. Know what it’s like to be completely alone and reliant only on yourself. Most of the time, these moments will come unintentionally. They will be nerve-racking and frightening. But when you make it through these moments, you will gain the confidence to know you can survive other similar experiences.
29. Use proper grammar. Irregardless of you’re level of education, or the proliferation of technology, u should make less grammatical mistakes then the average person.
30. Sometimes, it’s ok to be non-PC. The best friends are those with whom you can joke about topics that others take far too seriously.
31. Laugh at how ridiculous the world is.
32. Don’t take yourself too seriously. No matter how much life experience you think you have, your future self will always look back on your current self and say “That’s embarrassing. Look how stupid I was…”
33. Have perspective and be modest. There will always be someone out there who knows more than you, is better looking than you, has more [fill in the blank], and is better at [fill in the blank].