When I was your age...

This past Wednesday, my daughter and I were invited out to a restaurant in honour of one of her friend's 16th birthday. This friend's mom (who also now happens to be my friend) asked the adults to write words of wisdom for her daughter along the lines of "When I was your age, I wish I knew..." What a great idea for a birthday gift!

I didn't have room in the card for everything I wanted to write, so I'm sharing it all here.
When I was your age...

I wish I knew that life rarely goes as planned, but it can be better than you had ever imagined;

I wish I knew that the meanest people are often the ones who are hurting the most;

I wish I knew that people are way more interesting than they may appear to be at first (the cleaning lady may have led a more interesting life than the Prime Minister);

I wish I knew and really understood that every day, every minute, every second is a new beginning - you can make it what you want;

I wish I knew how quickly time goes by and not to take any second of it for granted - really be in the moment;

I wish I knew how to listen to what adults were trying to tell me and that I could learn from their mistakes instead of making the same ones myself (although there's no greater teacher than experience...);

I wish I knew that being different is freakin' fantastic! There's nothing as beautiful as someone who accepts who they really are, warts and all (following the crowd isn't always the best way to go);

I wish I knew that everyone is really just doing the best they can with what they have at any given time (we're all trying to figure it out - even your parents);

I wish I knew I could make things happen for myself and didn't have to wait for friends or family or a partner or anyone else to live the life I want to live and have the adventures I want to have;

I wish I knew that it's important to make good decisions, but sometimes you'll make mistakes - learn from them;

I wish I knew that figuring out what I don't want to do is just as important as figuring out what I do want to do;

I wish I knew that I had a bigger impact on people's lives than I thought I did - you never know how your kindness can make a difference in someone's life;

I wish I knew that if you get on the wrong path, you're allowed to change it - whether it's different studies, a different job, different friends, or a different way of life... it's ok to change;

I wish I knew that I didn't have to try so hard to please others, what matters most is that I'm happy with who I am;

I wish I knew to take care of my health - prolonged unhealthy habits can catch up to you;

I wish I knew that you don't have to have a "conventional job" to contribute to society;

I wish I knew that having an expansive vocabulary helps make your point - people take you more seriously when you're articulate;

I wish I knew that you can never know it all, no matter how much you learn - but it's a great endeavour to learn as much as you possibly can;

I wish I knew that everything comes to an end, the good as well as the bad;

I wish I understood that reading is good for you;

I wish I knew that I'm responsible for my own happiness - not in an "I'm all alone in the world" kind of way, but in an "I have all the power" kind of way;

I wish I knew that it's ok some days to just be - that might be the only thing you're capable of doing on a given day and that's enough;

And lastly, I wish I understood how precious it was to be 16 years old (or 5, or 20, or 32, or 41, or 67, or...).
Others had really nice words of wisdom too. One that stood out for me was something along the lines of "Don't trust anyone that says that certain years are the best years of your life - if they're saying that, they're not doing it right".


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