When you’re young, everything feels like the end of the world. Everything. I used to envy adults (read: people older than 20 – that’s old as hell when you’re young, right?) They knew all the answers. They were all seeing; all powerful. Now, at 25, I realize that this is horsesh*t. Does anybody really know what they’re doing? Aren’t we all just trying to figure it out? At the delicate halfway point between 20 and 30, I find myself suspended in some sort of limbo where things like responsibilities, marriage and a career aren’t just fleeting thoughts to put off. I’ll think about it later, I’d say to myself. I’m so young. But I’m no longer young. I’m young-ish, maybe, but not young. It’s daunting. I’m not alone though.
We’re all trying to find our way. We’re all trying to live a life we can be proud of surrounded by people that we love. Isn’t that the end game? We just want to be happy. Everything still feels like the end of the world. If anything, the consequences are more severe at this stage in the game. Is high-school gossip on the same level as the crippling fear of dying alone? I doubt it. But we get better at dealing with it. As “adults”, we have an edge. We’re smarter than we once were. We’ve learned appropriate social responses and we understand our emotions better – sort of. It’s a small edge, but it’s there. And of course we have guidance in the adults that are even older and wiser. Our parents, our teachers, whoever. And I thought about my mother, how she was once a 25-year old who probably didn’t have her sh*t figured out. And then I thought that one day I would be a mother. I’ll be the one with the answers. And when I have a daughter, I know what I want to say.
I want to teach my daughter not to sweat the small stuff.
I want to tell her that her character is far more important than her reputation and that what other people think is irrelevant in every sense of the word. I want her to know that not everyone will like her and that she won’t like everyone. I’ll tell her it’s okay. I’ll tell her that she’ll lose friends. I’ll explain that the people that are meant to be tend to stick around and I’ll teach her to let go of things quietly. I want to tell her that her heart will be broken eventually and maybe more than once. I’ll tell her it sucks but it’s a short-term thing. It’s just to prepare you for the one that makes your heart swell. You have to a kiss a few frogs, I’ll say.
I want to teach my daughter to be cautious about whom she confides in. That sometimes the world is a hard place and that it can bring out the worst in people. Not everyone will have her best interests. I’ll tell her though, that there’s room to be soft in a world that’s hard and that the highroad is the only route to take. I want her to be unapologetic and sure of herself in a world that so often fills us with self-doubt. I’ll tell her never to shrink herself to fit someone else’s idea of perfect. I’ll stress that her value does not decrease based on someone’s inability to see it. I’ll tell her that she needs to act strong AF even if she feels weak, even in the toughest situations – eventually it will become a second nature. I’ll tell her to always be a good friggin’ person because the world will never stop needing them.
I want to teach my daughter other things too. I’ll teach her not to drunk text and that nothing good happens after 2:00 am. I’ll tell her that she won’t miss anything at the parties she doesn’t go to and that no Facebook status is a good Facebook status. I’ll tell her to stay away from the dog filter on Snapchat and to never look in her DMs. I’ll tell her sunscreen is actually important and that she should never mess around with her eyebrows. I want to make sure she knows that it’s important not to take life too seriously.
I want to teach my daughter that it’s okay not to have everything figured out.
More often than not, life is more fun that way. And as I rack my brain for more things to tell my future offspring, I realized – these are all great reminders. Maybe I have more of my sh*t figured out than I thought.