These are the 'lessons' I hope to teach my daughter before she goes off to college. They have either been passed down to me or they are 'lived and learned' either way I hope that she can learn from them.
1.Travel while you are young. It doesn't have to be extravagant, you're young. Live out of back pack in Europe staying at cheap boutique hotels or just get in the car and travel the United States. Do volunteer work in another country to pay for a trip. Be adventurous and curious. It is about the experience not the road itself. Step outside of your comfort zone when you do that you will learn so much about who you are and what you are capable of. Once you get married or begin to cement your career it's too late obligation takes over.
2.Learn to enjoy your own company, don't rely on other people when it comes to going out for dinner. Go to cafes alone with book and sit in the middle of the room so everyone can see you. If you want to go out for dinner and no one is around go by yourself. You don't need to be with someone to enjoy a glass of wine at a sidewalk cafe on a beautiful Spring night. There is a difference between being lonely and being alone. People watching can give you that 'social' environment you are looking for and why should your social life rely on other people to entertain you. Be confident and content to sit in a cafe or go to a movie with the only person that will ever save you, you. When you are comfortable with yourself, with being alone then you are ready to consider a relationship.
3.Sunscreen is a must, you will spend the majority of your life older so those years of tanning when you were a teen will be the lines you have to live with from 30 to 91. Skin cancer is serious and a horrible way to die that can be prevented with a good sunscreen (min spf 50) and a hat. If you have to get color there are thousands of products available that do not require you to damage your skin. As I like to tell my daughter if you don't want to need a boob job because they are sagging do not get sun on your chest because it is killing the collagen in your skin. So your face and your boobs will sag not a good look. I met a girl that was beautiful and addicted to tanning, typically people tan to hide something I'm just not sure what she needed to hide. At the ripe old age of 22 she has the biggest age spot on her forehead that she has to cover up everyday, 22! The alarming thing is she keeps tanning anyway because the age spot doesn't bother her as much at being pale?
4.Learn to enjoy the little things. Too many people are searching for the big things and the truth is they are few and far between and you end up missing all of the good stuff in between. Learn to enjoy the first spring afternoon sitting in a park while the warmth of the sun washes over you. Instead of grabbing a mug of coffee in the morning take your time to really enjoy it. Inhale it, the smell of coffee is energizing, wrap your hands around your favorite cup (get a special coffee cup) and feel how warm it is then sip your coffee close your eyes and focus on how amazing it tastes, smells and feels. A great book, a beautiful park and a summer day can be perfection if you take the time to really be present in that moment. Too many people, especially Americans, are so focused on the next big thing they never take the time to enjoy what they have now.
5.Invest in a good Capsule Wardrobe. Take a cue from the Parisian woman you don't need a lot of clothes, shoes or bags you just need quality items that will last for years to come. Know what you need, make a list and only buy quality items you love that can be mixed and matched to create several looks. Stick with classic pieces you can update your wardrobe with simple changes or additions to the base wardrobe you create. One pair of amazing black pants that fit you perfectly are better than having 5 pairs of cheap black pants. Quality is better than quantity in all aspects of your life including your wardrobe. Take care of what you buy because it is an investment. Once a week go through your closet repair lost buttons, take things to be altered (get a good tailor), oil your bags and polish your shoes if you do that those black Jimmy Choo's you spent $500 on will last 10 years. Soles can be replaces and other minor fixes, find a cobbler I bring my shoes and bags to the cobbler to give them a little face lift. Buy the best quality you can afford and we determine quality and value by the cost, how often you can wear it and how long you will own it.
6.Never accept a bad relationship. If he/she doesn't see you better than you see yourself, they should build you up not tear you down. Don't get lost in someone elses life because one day you will wake up and not recognize yourself anymore. Love yourself, love who you are and accept nothing less from your significant other. In return don't take on a 'project', someone you think you can fix in the end you will be the only thing person that changed. You need to have common goals, likes and you need to be equals. If you do not have a solid beginning, if you are not together for the right reasons when life happens and it will happen you will be able to survive. It helps to be able to enjoy the little things together. Don't settle, he's out there and when you find him it will all be worth it.
7.Pay your dues. Nothing worth having comes easily so if you have to clean toilets or work in the warehouse at your dream company to get that dream job than do it! Intern, Intern and Intern but be the best intern they have ever had. Keep a smile on your face, keep your personal problems at the door and never complain or utter the career suicide phrase 'it's not my job'. These people will remember you they will be the contacts you need to move forward so pay your dues because a college degree is not enough.
8.Don't be afraid of failing some of the best things come out of failure. If you don't try, if you don't put yourself out there you will never know what it feels like to succeed. Failure is an opportunity to learn, a test of your character because we are not judged by the fall but on how we get back up. Take a risk whether it is at work, socially or even in the way you dress and if it doesn't work its ok because at least you tried. Nobody is going to hand you anything in this world so if you want it you need to go out and get it.
9.Jealousy is ugly and holds you back in life. I did a little modeling and I got the best advice from my agent, 'there will always be someone smarter, prettier, thinner and better than you so if you don't want to be replaced don't give them a reason to find her'. Be confident in who you are and where you are because jealousy is more about you than the other person. So what if she has more than you do, why do you need to take that personally? When your friend gets your dream job don't be jealous celebrate her success because that is what you would want if the roles were reversed. Because she may be able to help you whether it is a referral or advice that may help you get that job. Jealousy is actually your insecurities of who you are, how you look and where you are because she didn't get that job to upset you. In fact you were not even part of the equation at all so get over yourself because jealousy is an ugly thing.
10.Be happy whatever that means to you whether it is working as a social worker for little to no money or becoming a high powered attorney as long as you are happy that is all that matters. Choose to be happy even when it is hard to be happy. Life is going to happen, things are going to go wrong but you have to find a way to be able to rise about it and be happy. This is another thing we could learn from the Parisian woman, she knows that something is going to go wrong so when it does she isn't destroyed by it, you won't find her laying on her sofa with a half gallon of ice cream a spoon and a box of tissues in her pj's. She will get put on something amazing and go out whether she is meeting friends or enjoying her own company. Sure she is sad but she won't let it destroy her after all the best revenge is living well. My mother always told me the only guarantee in life is that you will die the rest is up to you.
11. Regret is a horrible thing to live with so do what you can do now, don't push it off or delay it because you may run out of tomorrow's.
12. Learn to forgive, we all make mistakes, we all have people that have wronged us but you have to let the pain go and forgive. Forgiveness is a selfish act it does not let anyone off the hook but you and holding onto the pain and anger doesn't hurt anyone other than you. Forgive because you deserve to be able to move on and be happy.