To My Daughter, 13 Pieces Of Advice On The Eve Of Her 13th Birthday

by Janel Carey
13-year-old blonde girl setting up a camera for a selfie

My dear, sweet girl, you might think this is silly and sentimental. I know it is hard to believe that I could possibly remember what it feels like to be 13. But I do.

I remember it well and I want to share some advice with you to make your life as easy and joyful as possible. So here are the things you need to keep in mind as you start on this next chapter of your life.

Forge your own path.

You don’t have to do what everyone else is doing. Nor do you have to wear what everyone else is wearing, drink what they are drinking or repeat what they are saying.

Be true to yourself and your dreams. Don’t ever feel like you have to mold yourself or pretend to be someone other than who you really are just to fit in.

It’s okay to be different. In fact, being different should be celebrated. Don’t worry about taking the path less traveled – I know you like the solitude anyway.

Wear sunscreen.

Also, make sure you find a good moisturizer. Actually, find a good moisturizer with sunscreen in it. Trust me, you (and your face) will thank me for this later. Get outside and enjoy time in the sun, but protect your skin.

Do what makes you happy.

Don’t worry about what you think other people expect of you. Find something that lights you up inside and then do more of it. There is passion within you and that should be your guiding arrow in life.

The caveat to this is that it can’t be anything illegal or dangerous to your health. Other than that, have fun, shine bright, and do something that makes you happy every day.

Don’t ever settle.

Not for a man, not for a job, not for anything. You deserve the best that life has to offer you. Settling for any less is a disservice to yourself and will leave you unsatisfied in the long run.

Keep looking until you find something or someone who challenges you. That is what you need in your life, not complacency.

Stay positive.

Continue to see the world through rose colored glasses. Assume the best of people. Search for beauty everywhere.

Know that everything will work out in the end. Because you know what? It always does.

Drink water.

Seriously, you don’t even realize how many problems can be solved by drinking enough water. Hangovers, bad skin … the list goes on and on. Make sure to drink water every day.

Be humble.

You are destined for great things, my girl. Stay grounded and remember your roots.

Don’t ever think that you are too good for people or that they are beneath you. Every single person is put in your life for a reason and they should be all be treated with respect.

Be a good friend.

When you find good friends, it is important to hold tight to them. Be a good friend back and treasure the true friends in your life.

Also, try to remember that it’s not about the number of friends that you have, but about the quality of your friends. You will be lucky if you find a handful of truly good friends in your life, so don’t squander them.

Never stop learning.

Never stop learning. Every day is an opportunity for you to expand your brain.

Stay open to new experiences. Read lots of books. Listen to what people are saying and keep learning until your last breath on this earth.

Don’t be afraid of aging.

Don’t be afraid of aging. Every year is better than the one before. The laugh lines that will eventually show up on your face are a sign of a life well lived.


Regarding my earlier point about laugh lines … laugh often and loudly. Don’t stifle your joy or hold back. A good belly laugh can transform your whole day.

Find something every day that makes you laugh. Watch a funny video or surround yourself with entertaining people. See the humor in every situation because I promise you, there is something funny about almost everything.


This is a big, beautiful world and I want you to experience it. Don’t put it off for later or think that you can’t afford it.

Make a list of all the places you want to visit and then start tackling it. Take loads of pictures and put them all over your house to remind yourself that YOU are a bad ass, world traveler. And make sure you tell me all about your adventures.

I will always be here for you.

You can always come to me. I will be your safe place, the keeper of your secrets.

I will always be your #1 fan and your biggest cheerleader. I will laugh with you and I will cry with you.

Because you are one of my greatest creations, my legacy to this world, and I promise to be your protector until the end of time.