To My Daughters As They Head Out Into The World (9 Things I’ve Learned About Life That You Need To Learn Too)
As the mother of two girls, I don’t speak boy at all. Never have. Not a word. Aside from being with my husband for the last thirty-plus years, I’ve got no idea what the hell goes on in a boy’s head. But, because I’m obviously girl, and I happen to have two of them as kids, I speak fluent Sheila.
And thanks to a lifetime’s worth of exposure to the girl mind—over forty-five years as one myself and almost twenty as a girl mom—I get how we’re all wired. Especially the emotional challenges most of us go through as we navigate through school and puberty and relationships and life as a whole.
We’re nurturing and kind and courageous and confident and sensitive and loving, among other things. We’re also emotional and raw and paranoid and judgy and dramatic and bitchy and two-faced, among other things.
Yet all that stuff—the good and the bad—is timeless when you’re a girl. Doesn’t matter what era we grew up in, some version of all those things still applies. Like, even in spite of the fact that my daughters and I grew up almost four decades apart, facing some very different challenges and attitudes, I still get how tough it is to manage being a girl. Those everlasting challenges.
Because as much as being a girl is beautiful, it can also suck. Especially when we’re young and just starting out. But it doesn’t suck forever and that’s the thing all girls need to remember. We evolve. We figure stuff out. We eventually find our purpose and our rhythm and our tribe. We just need to keep our eyeballs focused on what’s really important as we go. And that’s not always easy.
So I want to share with our girls some of the most important truths I’ve learned about what’s really important in life.
See, as much as society evolves from generation to generation, the core of the human experience is still the same. Even though each new generation faces different challenges, the basics are still the same. We live, we love, we hope, we dream, and we all move through life trying desperately to connect with the people who’ll bring out the very best in us and love us unconditionally for as long as we’re here. And I think all girls need to know that. They need to understand that each of us, regardless of who we are, has the exact same core—we all want to be accepted and respected and loved.
But it’s tricky for all of us—especially when we’re kids—to keep all those things in mind. To find the right people. To be our own kind of beautiful. To be ourselves. To listen to our hearts (or to our parents), and keep what’s important in life squarely in perspective. And every single one of us struggles to find our way at some point. Until, hopefully, one day, the clouds part and everything becomes clear.
So I say this to all girls, especially my own…
There are a handful of timeless things I’ve learned about life that you need to learn too. And the sooner you learn them, the happier and more prepared you’ll be.
Remember, this is only a partial list. And we’re all just a work in progress, learning as we go. But these are solid blocks to build on that will carry you most of the way. That, and keeping a spare tampon in the side pocket of your purse at all times. Then, there’s nothing you can’t handle.