Last week my dad sent me this picture.  Why, yes, it is one of my senior pictures!  I think he likes this particular photo for three reasons.  1- I’m his daughter, 2- I’m wearing a jade necklace he brought me back from a business trip to China, 3- I look oh so very sweet, pure, and yet to be jaded (I didn’t even mean to make that joke… but let’s roll with it).  Looking at this photo got me to thinking about myself at the tender age of eighteen.  Gosh, I thought I knew it all.

See, I grew up with two older brothers.  And while it was always reassuring to know I had two built in body guards for any guy who dared to step out of line, sometimes I really wished I had had an older sister to walk me through the intricacies of womanhood.  Since I didn’t, I had to learn some things the (very) hard way. I’ve gathered a few things that I wish I’d known years ago.  Things that certainly would have saved me a lot of pain, suffering, and at times sheer embarrassment (um, like  my mom haircut?).  I’m passing them along in hopes that those without a big sister (and even those of you who have one) can benefit from my own personal learning curve.

  1. Your face should always match your neck.
  2. Money doesn’t grow on trees.  Learn to manage your own finances and never rely on someone else for that. The beauty of a savings account will far outweigh the beauty of those Louboutins.
  3. Your body will not always look like that.  Enjoy it (and your metabolism) while you can.
  4. By “enjoy your body” I do not by any means mean sexually.  Never feel as if you have to give it up to be liked.
  5. Pay attention in class.  I swear, one day you will wish you’d cared what happened in accounting.
  6. Girls who are mean to you are either jealous or incredibly insecure with themselves.  Ignore them.  They suck.  You don’t!
  7. Sadly, your parents are probably right more often than not.  You might think they are trying to ruin your “fun”, but we forget that our parents had some “fun” of their own when they were our age (I know- hard to believe) and are just looking out for us and hoping we don’t make the same mistakes.
  8. Stay OUT of the sun!  I can not believe some of you gals are still baking without UV protection let alone hopping in tanning beds.  You may look a bronze bunny now, but you’re gonna look like a weathered handbag in ten years.
  9. It’s great to be a pretty girl, but it’s even better to be a smart one.  Hell, if you’re both… more power to you!
  10. There will be other boys.  While your heart may feel like it’s quite literally lying in the middle of the freeway during rush hour traffic, I can promise you, that broken hearts do heal and there are other fish in the sea.

Whether you’re 18, 28 or 88, these are all great things to remind yourself from time to time.