5 Things I Want My Daughter To Know, In The Spirit Of Women's History
Dear Future Daughter,
You're not in the picture yet. In fact, I'm not even in a serious relationship. But, someday, when you arrive, either in the form of my own child, a young girl I mentor, or maybe my best friend's little girl, there are some things about this world I want you to know.
It's March, which is Women's History Month. Since 1981, this has been the 31-day stretch where we celebrate women's accomplishments, from Rosa Parks to Eleanor Roosevelt to, yes, Amelia Earhart.
All of these women did incredible things, and you know what? You will, too. You deserve every chance you can get to live a brilliant and fulfilling life, so here are a few words of advice from a 32-year-old woman, who has decided to take her own life and live it well.
1. Don't ever stop taking joy in lighting up a room. It will become your greatest super power.
There is nothing more powerful than a woman who walks into a room with a big smile, her head held high and the willingness to engage with every single person she meets.
As a little girl, your smile came naturally; you gave it freely, and you saw the world as your playground. When you saw others react, it brought out the best version of you. Do not let these traits fade, no matter how old you get.
Your happiness is infectious. Use it in business, relationships and even when you are the only one in the room. Cynicism will try and creep in. Keep as much of your childhood curiosity as you possibly can. This has been my most powerful secret weapon to happiness.
"Ever since happiness heard your name, it has been running through the streets trying to find you." -- Hafiz of Persia
2. How you see the world is exactly how it is.
As you grow up, you will start to wonder how people could possibly see the world the way they do. Viewpoints will be vastly different from yours and that's okay.
You must know you will never be able to control the way others think or act, but you can set an example by leading a generous, wholehearted, full life.
Each day, you will be faced with hundreds of decisions about how to react to the world. Be optimistic, be bold and know that the best way you can contribute is by being unwaveringly true to yourself.
"Be careful how you interpret the world: It's like that." -- Erich Heller
3. Challenges are headed your way; how you overcome them will define your character.
The most meaningful lives have been led by those who saw great defeat and still overcame challenges to make a difference.
While these obstacles are surely going to feel like stopping points along the way, know that if you give up and give in to the negative, temporary emotions, you will regret it later in life.
You are so much stronger than you know. These roadblocks are the ingredients to your character. Dynamic and creative, sensitive and imaginative, you are the kind of woman who can face fear head on because you will choose to be that way.
"Life's challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they're supposed to help you discover who you are." — Bernice Johnson Reagon
4. Heed clichéd advice, but do not become a cliché.
The early bird catches the worm; when the going gets tough, the tough get going; beauty is in the eye of the beholder… You'll grow to hear these statements often and you'll probably roll your eyes.
As silly as they sound, you should heed every clichéd piece of advice you ever hear. These overused sentiments have developed overtime because they hold much truth.
On the other hand, becoming a cliché would be the ultimate failure. When a person becomes a cliché, he or she becomes unoriginal, overused, typical and blends in to the crowd.
The greatest women in history have ruffled feathers and stood out in the best ways possible.
"Don't live down to expectations. Go out there and so something remarkable." — Wendy Wasserstein
5. Your pursuit of happiness may not always grow your bank account, but it will make you a memory millionaire.
Let your quest for joy be filled with unlikely friends, chill-inducing environments where you can barely believe the beauty you are surrounded by and the feeling that you did your best to wring as much out of your life as you possibly could.
The memories you create will put wrinkles on your face, scars on your body and strength in your muscles. They will make your heart as big as you allow it to grow.
Money will come and go; sometimes, you'll have it easy, and other times, you will come to me asking for help, but know that the memories you create and cherish can never be taken from you.
"The memories I value most, I don't ever see them fading." -- Kazuo Ishiguro
Future Daughter, you may never be famous or be put in history books, and that's okay. Women's History Month is about using the examples of those who have come before us as catalysts to light our own worlds on fire.
As long as you get out and live the most joyful, authentic life you possibly can, you will have written your own valuable story in the big book of women who have given this world their all.
I can't wait to meet you someday.