Advice for my 15-Year-Old Self

by - Thursday, October 11, 2012

Today for International Girl's Day, CNN asked some of the most powerful ladies in the world what advice they would have given their 15 year old selves.

I really loved Christiane Amanpour's answer- "I wish I could tell my 15-year-old self these four things: 1. Never think you can't do anything because you're a woman; everything is open to you as a girl. The future is yours. 2. Have a dream, a goal and a vision for yourself and work single-mindedly toward it-- not just professionally, but personally as well. 3. Family is very important-- a close, loving, supportive family will sustain you through all your ambitions, your climb up the ladder-- when things go well and when they don't. 4. Perhaps the most important thing I could say is to never be thrown by failure and mistakes. Each and everything that happens, even if it was not what you hoped that would heppen, is a valuable, life-learning tool. And you will only acheive success if you know how to learn from your failures and mistakes. It's vital."

I also thought Maria Shriver's was damn good- "Never think that someone else knows what's best for you. Trust your way and don't ask for so much advice. Learn how to be quiet and still enough to hear your own voice. It's up to you: Your voice will either be silenced or will get to roar."

 From Robin Bernstein- "You have no idea how the future will unfold. But it will unfold, slowly and quickly and slowly again, in ways that you cannot now begin to imagine. So stop trying to guess what's coming next. All the effort you  put into figuring out what will happen, all the scenarios you play out in your mind-- they're useless. And that's a good thing. Relax and let the future arrive on its own time and in its own way. Allow yourself to be astonished."

 This got me thinking about what advice I would give my 15-year-old self? I have a good handful of lessons I think I could have figured out earlier.

1. Always read and paint- Enjoy all the free time you have to read now.
2. Just because someone doesn't do things the way you want them to, doesn't mean they are doing it wrong- have a little more empathy and kindness. I was sooo hard on my mom in this chapter of my life, and if I could go back and give me one piece of advice, it would just be to lay off, because I was only making things worse. Be merciful, because living is hard for everyone.
3. There is never any shame in trying, even if you aren't going to be the best there ever was ever- You should still brush your hair and not eat all junk and wear clothes that fit(even if you won't every be as pretty as such and such), you should still put yourself out there (even if you aren't going to be the most popular person in school), just own what you are doing, because people in general will like you as well as you like them, and nearly no one is as sassy as you are (definitely pay attention to that one boy who is though).
4. Eat as many Archway Frosted Fingers as you can, because that shit's getting discontinued.
5. You were born to have bangs of some kind. Just embrace them.
6. Be less shy- you will talk to these people way after high school and pretty much all of them will be perfectly fine people. Some people who you could be friends with will slip right away. High school social life is pretty over-rated, but getting over yourself is always a good idea.  The shyness, when nourished, will only turn into social anxiety that you can't get over.
7.  Don't worry that you suck at math and science- Mr. LaVerde is a douche and none of it will ever matter.
8. Don't get so worked up about the things your friends do and all the time they waste on boys- the ones that put all their energy into boys will always put all their attention into boys. It's not a phase, so just get over it now, even if it still blows your mind that they could require that much attention.
9. Do not practice your trumpet- Stay second chair; it's going to serve you really well.
10. Travel. Have adventures every time the opportunity arises. It will change the way you see the world in a million really important ways.
11. When you have that weird feeling that there is something fucked up about a situation, you are right. You don't have the name for it yet, but don't apologize for being perceptive, and when there is inequality going on say so. You should fight for what you know is right, because even though you feel a huge divide of authority, adults are just kids who have learned to fake knowledge better. You may get shot down, but have the courage to say what you want to say. Conflict is really alright, and being sullen gets old. You're a feminist, it doesn't mean you can't be a "good girl," deal with it.
12. A bunch of what you think of as being "good" is kind of bullshit- be willing to redefine as soon as possible, and you will be so much happier.
13. DO not waste your time on Lost- you don't know what i mean yet, but trust me.
14. Start learning German now- It will plague you for the rest of your life, but get some stuff cemented in there while your brain is still squishy and porous.
 15. Try snickerdoodles, salmon, Katherine Hepburn, asparagus, conditioner, and sushi. It's all good. What you like is pretty awesome, but deciding things you haven't tried are stupid is a genuinely stupid stance to take. You will almost always be surprised.

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