Dear Daughters of the World,
This letter is a chance for me to tell you, as your mother, some of the things I’d like you to remember throughout your life. Sometimes in our day to day routines, we say the same things again and again, and they become meaningless. In case I’m not here to keep reminding you of those things, here they are in a letter.
Firstly, I love you. You are loved, and you are the perfect daughter. I may not be the perfect mother, but by embracing our imperfections we learn and grow. You have taught me so much about myself, and have helped me bring balance to my own life by having to provide that for you.
I want you to know how proud of you I am. It is because of who you are that I have hope that the world will become a better place for those around you. You are fabulously fierce, full of life and determined to do your thing. Keep on!
I know that you have days when you don’t feel so good, that you wonder what you will do with your life or don’t have so much energy. That is ok, and you are very adept at taking time to chill out. Keep doing that, take care of yourself and your resources.
When I was younger, my mum gave me three pieces of advice, which I’ll share with you (again):
1. You’ll feel better when you’ve eaten.
2. Step outside and move around.
3. Pluck the outer corner of your eyebrows a little higher than the lower inner corner, it will make you look happy.
While I still agree with most of that, it is not your place to put a happy face on to the world, unless of course, that is what you want to do, for yourself. You don’t need to accommodate other people’s needs, nor are you responsible for their happiness. However, that will all change when you have children of your own! Value your family, but don’t let your family diminish your own worth.
Do not underestimate the benefits of just being content. The world needs ordinary, content people. However, don’t stand by in the face of injustice. I don’t think you would.
Be prepared to work. You are lucky that you are clever, but intelligence is not a fixed thing. Anything you work at, you will improve on. Find a course of study or a job that gives you a chance to grow, and that captures your imagination. I was lucky to find that I enjoyed languages. By dint of hard work, I became better at them, and in turn, that led to interesting work that was a good fit with my political beliefs. Be ambitious, not necessarily for money or power, but for your own scope and satisfaction. Easy things are not necessarily good for the soul (but may well be nice from time to time)!
Ensure your own financial independence.
At whatever age you are in your life, be sure to have an interest that is for you and you alone. Make it something that gives you space and time to be alone, gives you a social network, and gives you deep pleasure. I have three: horses (it always has been), art and/or craft, (currently photography), and reading. Each one of these can be adapted in shape and size to my circumstances. Each one takes me away from day to day life and gives me great satisfaction. Each one gives me a platform from which to grow and learn. More importantly than anything, they give me a chance to connect with an essential part of my spirit and with that, the spirit of the world around me.
Break free from your screens.
Make plans to do things and carry them through. Get coaching or counselling if you need it. Vague dreams are not enough – things you map out and take active steps towards WILL happen for you.
Diamonds are not necessarily a girl’s best friend. A dog is an excellent friend to a woman, they are loyal and make you get outside to walk every day. Friends are your real wealth, though. On my dark days, I look at the friends I’ve made over my life and I am reassured: such excellent people would not be friends with me if I were half as bad as I sometimes believe I am. On the good days, you need someone to celebrate with! On all the days in between, you need people to talk with, and they need you.
Lastly, I love you. You are the perfect daughter, imperfections and all. You will find your own path, and you will learn and grow. I hope that we can share many more years as mother and daughter, that our connection stays strong.