Thursday, April 11, 2013

12 Things I Want My Daughter To Know

Tomorrow I do my first 20-miler of this training cycle. I haven’t run 20 miles all at one time since the Boston Marathon almost exactly two years ago.  I don’t know why 20 miles is messing with my head so much. Oh, wait – yes I do. Because it is 20 freaking miles of running (insert non-runners favorite quote here “I can’t even drive that far!”)

Yesterday my “little” girl, Emma, turned 12.  She knows how I am and asked me if I was going to cry at various points throughout the day. I keep trying to explain to her that when I get teary about her getting older, when I get misty eyed when I look at younger pictures of her – it’s not because I’m sad – it’s because I’m feeling deep emotion – pride, nostalgia, happiness – okay, and maybe just a tad bit of sadness for a time gone by – a time to never occur again.

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I loved being 12. It was one of my favorite years of my life. I distinctly remember feeling young and little girlish when I was 11 – but really coming into my own when I was 12 (although puberty didn’t come until much later – hell, I think I’m still going through puberty). For many people, 13 is the BIG year, but for me – 12 brought on so many changes.

First and foremost, my family picked up and moved to Athens, Greece. I was yanked out of security and familiarity and dropped into culture shock, a new school, a new home, a new language, new friends, and a whole new country. I grew up a lot that year. And, fast.  (Here is my passport picture from 1979. Does ANYONE have a good passport picture?)

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I had so much to learn. I still have so much to learn. But at this moment in time – there are things I want Emma to know.

12 Things I Would Want My 12-Year-Old-Self to Know:

1. Being perfect is over-rated. No One and No Thing is perfect. Striving for perfection will only make you unhappy. Remember to always show up as who you are, and do not apologize for that. Your job is to be the best Emma you can be. Be yourself. Be your own person. Always do and say what is true for you and you cannot go wrong.

2. You will meet some boy someday who you think you cannot live without. But if he makes you change who you are, or makes you think less of yourself or does not live up to your high standards of what you think you deserve, he is not the one for you. Always know what you are worth.

3. Having good friends is essential – a true gift in your life. A friend always has your best interests in mind, but a friend is not always perfect. Remember that just like you, your friends are human. They will make mistakes and let you down. If they are a true friend, give them the benefit of the doubt. And remember, friendships will change. It is just part of life. Sometimes it will be time to let a friendship go, and that is okay.

4. To have a good friend, you must be a good friend. Be loyal, caring, and dependable. Listen, but don’t be afraid to lean on your friends for advice and support.

5. Even though it might sometimes seem that your friends are living a better life than you do–maybe they have more stuff, maybe they are an only child and get lots of attention, maybe they have tons of brothers and sisters and that seems fun, maybe they live in a huge house, maybe they take major vacations – whatever the case, or whatever the reason is that you think they have a life that you want – the grass is not greener. The life you have is exactly the one meant for you. The life you have can be whatever you want it to be. And, if you count your blessings and appreciate what you have, you will have the greatest life of all.

6. Love your brother. Sam might get on your nerves, but he is the only sibling you have. As you get older, he will become more and more important to you. You and Sam share a bond that you will never have with anyone else. Cherish that.

7. Cut your parents some slack. They are not perfect either, although they are doing the best that they can. As you get older, you will blame them for things – just remember that we always loved you and tried to do what we thought was the right thing for your growth and happiness.

8. Don’t hold grudges, life is too short.

9. Think about what you love to do and think about it a lot. Make sure you do bits of these things everyday. Always have the big picture in mind, and think forward to how you can bring the love and passion for those things into your life as you get older. This might happen in your job, by having children, in your marriage, who knows. Just never lose sight of the simple things that make you happy.

10. Be active. Not for the purpose of being thin or looking a certain way but because it makes you a better, more well-rounded person. Being active and moving your body will relieve stress, will put your life in perspective, will keep you young.

11. If you hurt someone, say you are sorry.

12. Do not worry. Worry will eat you up inside. Do your best everyday, then let the little things go. Things have a way of working themselves out. One of the best things to learn at a young age is that we cannot control things. The harder we try to make things a certain way, the more we will suffer because things NEVER hardly go as planned. Do your best to be open to the mystery of life.

What would you tell your younger self if you could?

What was your favorite age?

SUAR

PS: The winner of the Moji Massager is #134 Barefoot Tyler. Email me your address at beth@shutupandrun.net.

45 comments:

  1. Do what scares you! That would be my biggest. Signing up for a half marathon this winter when I couldn't run 4 miles was scary, but so glad I did it. I asked my husband to prom 13 years ago (how scary!!!) and now we are married with 3 kids! I know there are a few things in the past I wanted to do, but was too scared to take the first step. That's not the way to live life! I want my kids to have a "just take a deep breath and do it" mentality when it comes to life because the best things in life are scary. But so worth it!!

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  2. Worry is my middle name, bleh. Those are great tips for Emma..I know I repeat them to Abbey (and myself) a lot.

    Emma looks a little possessed in her younger pic ;). She is stunningly beautiful.

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  3. I love these - I am going to copy them and give them to my daughter as well.

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  4. My favorite was 18 because I truly felt like I was growing into a woman (although biologically speaking it happened years before that lol) - I just felt like an adult, graduating HS - starting college. More responsibilities. Now that I'm 25, I realize I was such a baby then lol.

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  5. I love these! My son turns 12 next month and I am a single parent (his fathers died when he was 5) and I feel like there is so much I want him to know and feel and learn. I am modifying these for him!

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  6. I reiterate the first comment: Do what scares you. Life isn't waiting.

    These are wonderful, Cathy!

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  7. Do you remember a column called "Wear Sunscreen" by Mary Schmich? It was made into a song that hit the radio in the late 90's. I made a copy and snuck it into my 12, almost 13 year old daughter's room without telling her and caught her reading it, with interest, on her own. I couldn't help tearing up a bit. Brings back great memories of that time of my life.

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  8. This is a great list for your daughter...and well, everyone. I especially love #9 - think about what you love and do it each and every day. Words to live by.

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  9. Be a giving person and have a humble spirit.

    And sometimes it's awfully hard to do and to teach. But there is no better feeling than having done something nice for someone, either directly or anonymously, and knowing that you've helped and made a positive impact in that person's life. Could be a big thing or a little thing, but our society has become so focused on "me", and what "I want" or "I need" that we often forget how fortunate we are. Take a look around you and realize how fortunate you are; you don't have to look too much farther to find many others that are LESS fortunate.

    So what would I tell my 12-year-old self?

    1) Be grateful for what you have.
    2) It may take a while to develop, but focus on doing something for others.
    3) Give whatever you're able to; time and energy are often much more valuable than your resources/money.
    4) Step out of your comfort zone, take a chance, take a risk. You'll be glad you did.

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  10. I hope it is ok with you if I copy this and give it to my daughter. She will turn 12 in May. I don't think I'd change a thing (other than the name). It is just perfect!

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  11. First, I have a 12 mile run (my longest ever) this weekend and my body is kinda making me think that 13.1 is just too far. What the heck was I thinking?!?! But I WILL do it.

    I love your list! I would tell my 12-year-old self to find her voice and USE IT. I was too much of a follower and didn't give myself enough value until I was almost 19. Then I figured out who I was. Now, I'm someone else but I own it.

    One thing I tell my kids a lot: When you leave someplace, leave it better than when you found it (a sleepover, the kitchen, a public restroom, whatever).

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  12. What a perfect list of things to impart on your daughter.

    I think I loved being 14 -- I had finally figured out how to be an individual and do what I loved to do.

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  13. Beth: This is one of your best posts ever! I love every point you made, but especially #5. I think learning to be content - and even happy - with your own life is so important. As a culture we are constantly bombarded with images of what SHOULD make us happy. A huge house with granite counters and hardwood floors. A perfect body with slim hips and big boobs. A face with flawless skin and big eyes. Vacations in Europe, designer clothes, perfectly behaved children sitting quietly in a $40,000 vehicles. But that is all a lie meant to sell stuff. You are so right - " if you count your blessings and appreciate what you have, you will have the greatest life of all!"

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  14. She's an Aries. We share a birthday. She will rock 12, just like she will rock 22, 42...

    AND she's your daughter. Double score.

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  15. My advice would be: Don't smoke tobacco. It makes you unhealthy.

    And don't do drugs -- they put you in a state in which you don't aspire to anything, which is bad.

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  16. I love this list - you are very wise!! I would tell my twelve year old self that all the stuff i worried about (boys/fashion/embarrassing dads) do not matter one little jot. Being healthy, happy and having good friends and family do matter though. To flip it over i wish i could get my twelve year old self to tell me how to be more outgoing and fun loving - as you get older you swap the stupid worries for the boring ones (gas bills/shin splints etc). There must be a happy medium...

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  17. What a great list. Thanks for sharing. I love, love, loved Jr. High. I had a good group of friends and life was less complicated (or at least I worried less what others thought). We moved right before my freshman year and everything changed.

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  18. Wow, what a great post! Shared it with my 22 year old daughter who has a 2 week old daughter and a questionable boyfriend. It rings true.

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  19. Great list. I also have a 12 year old and will share it with her. Thanks.

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  20. I love that entire list! Every word!

    Sarah
    www.thinfluenced.com

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  21. What a great post! Makes me sad thinking about my daughters growing up and turning 12. I think you hit every single one on the head too.

    Btw, so love your outfit in your passport photo!

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    1. So funny about my outfit. I was just telling my son that that is a vest and a dress...and my mom made it!!

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  22. I teach middle school, and I think you may be the only person I've ever met who loved being 12 - including myself. It's such a hard age. But with your good attitude to help, I'll bet your daughter will have the best year of her life, too :o)

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  23. Heck I just turned 40 and I'm still working on some of these! What a great list. Thanks for sharing.

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  24. This is a great list that is true no matter what one's age. Thanks!!!!

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  25. Great list. My advice to my 12 year old self would be: Don't judge. Don't judge yourself for not being X, Y, or Z by the time your 24, 34, or 44. Don't judge others for how they live their lives, unless you've been in their exact shoes or they're obviously doing something to hurt themselves or others. Let go of arbitrary expectations of how life "should be."

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  26. This is a great list for me at 25! I liked being 12 too :)

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  27. What a great list. I'm 45 now, and if I could give that freckle-faced, braces wearing, glasses needing, pimple popping kid (me) a nugget of wisdom or two, I'd have to start by saying that at 45 you'll look back on life and realize that you really only have one true regret...the rest of the unfortunate events you'll go through are simply life lessons that are best learned the hard way, and they'll only help you become the husband/daddy/man you will one day be.

    So don't sweat it. Keep treating others with the respect they deserve, crack open a book from time to time, listen to mom & dad a little more...and DON'T quit the baseball team.

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  28. My advice would be to do what you love (and hopefully make a living at it too)! So many people choose a career based on expected income and then are miserable for their entire lives - that's no way to live! DO what you are passionate about! :)

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  29. When you grow up, skip the psychology degree, and study journalism instead. Hold out for a man that is nice to you and respects you, at a bare minimum - don't learn it the hard way. Don't skip P.E. Eat fewer cheeseburgers.

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  30. Wait, I'm 27, and I'm pretty sure my Mom has never given me such awesome advice. I think telling your daughter to know who she is, is the most important thing you could do for her. I still don't know a lot of these things, but am going to channel you as my inner second Mom whenever I get insecure. Thanks so much for this, could not have needed it more. Now go run those 20 miles!

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  31. Two things I'd tell my younger self. Give even less of a shit about what other people think of you, and, you should have gone and asked out that beautiful readhead that day. The worst she would have done is say no.

    My favourite age is today.

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  32. woman this is an amazing post, amazing!! I want to reach out and hug you kind of post because I think it speaks to all of us on so many levels! thank you for this today....now how can i get my mom to read it and know these things for herself!

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  33. Beautiful post! Happy Birthday to your daughter, and good luck with the 20 miler!

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  34. I'm not sure I really remember 12. But here's something funny - I was 14 when my family moved to Athens, Greece. Small world. =) I don't suppose you went to ACS?

    Your daughter is gorgeous, by the way. Mine is 4. Can't quite imagine her at 12!

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    1. YES I want to ACS!!! But I was probably there earlir than you - from 1979-1983. Too funny.

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  35. I'm constantly teary eyed about my kids growing up. I'm struggling with my oldest heading into her senior year and turning 18 soon....ack, misty eyes again!!!!

    Loved this post! Thanks!!

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  36. What a great post, and replies also! Thank you all, I am (sadly) still struggling with some of these... Have a good run and a great weekend.

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  37. Great advice for anyone at any age.

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  38. I would add: "Don't let the bastards get you down." There are a LOT of bastards out there, none of whom can bring you down unless you let them.

    Love this post, Beth. And a belated "Happy Birthday" to Emma :)

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  39. Don't listen to those who tell you that you can't do that,because you can.
    great list great advice

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  40. I would add there is not just one perfect mate for you. Don't cling to the first love. Experience all types of people. Learn from and enjoy them. There is no one belief, religion or teaching. There are many, read and study them before making judgments. Learn what respect and responsibility really mean. Don't do drugs and go on the Pill. Don't blame friends, parents or teachers for your bad decisions. Remember that you are in charge of you. No one else. And tell yourself every single day that you are smart, beautiful and freaking fabulous. Because it's true!

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