Thirteen Notes For A Thirteen Year Old

Tomorrow you will wake up and be thirteen. I’m sure I should have a philosophy or a doctrine on life to offer you, but I’m afraid like many, I’ve just bumbled my way through. What’s it all about? What should I be teaching you in your teen years? I have no idea, but after reading my diary with my own 13 year old perspective recently, here’s thirteen notes for my very first thirteen year old:

You’re not doing it wrong. It’s just how it is. Life is a puzzle and your pieces are uniquely yours to place. What will fit perfectly for some will feel clumsy and mismatched for others. Don’t worry, everyone else is finding it hard, those who appear to find it easy are just hiding it better.

Being beautiful has nothing to do with weight. It’s about hitting the dance floor with gusto when you hear your favourite song. It’s about being deep in conversation about something you feel passionate about. It’s about laughing from your core. It’s about maintaining eye contact. Someone will watch you do all of these things and be absolutely captivated by how insanely beautiful you are.

There is no way to “make” a guy like you. It just is what it is. People will suggest ways that you can “improve” your chances. Don’t believe them. If he likes you he likes you, if he doesn’t, he’s going to be kicking himself later. Trust me, it’s not only me who thinks you’re amazing.

You will not be happy all the time. There are days when you will be miserable and this is okay. We need to have miserable days. We need to throw ourselves deep into their dark and nasty crevices, because in a day, a week or a month, they help us realize just how truly happy we now are.

Someone will break your heart. Wish them well and let them go, don’t fight it.

Say thank you.

Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask the dumb question. “I’m not sure if this is a really dumb question but…” I bet you someone else in the group didn’t know either.

Laugh at yourself. Don’t take it personally.

There is no best time of your life but from personal experience, yes you’re right, right now is pretty bloody hard. You’re studying things you have no interest in, you have no money, you’re not sure what the future holds and other people seem to get all the power to make the decisions. Don’t worry – it feels like it’s going to last forever, but it won’t. There are great things about being thirteen: you don’t have a mortgage to pay so you can blow your birthday money on music. You are full of energy and enthusiasm. You have incredible muscle tone (take a picture of those abs of yours, trust me, you’ll want to look back at them). You are full of dreams and possibilities that have every chance of becoming a reality.

It’s okay to say no. Practice saying no, think about why it’s making you feel uncomfortable. If you’re not sure, say no.

Keep some money in your purse. You don’t have to spend every cent, tuck some away for later.

Pick up the phone. Organize something. A walk in the park, a trip to the movies, a swim at the beach. Go to the library, drop in to see an older person. Just remember to reach out and pick up the phone. Call me, I promise – I’ll always be here.

And finally, I think this one might be it. If I had to offer something that I’d learnt this would be it. This is what I think it’s all about.

To love and be loved. 

After you’ve worried your way through school and choosing your career. After you’ve considered money and where your politics lay. Or maybe after your latest fascination with a piece of life changing technology. You will realize none of it matters if you have no-one to love. To love and be loved – that is what I wish for you.

Happy Birthday my gorgeous thirteen year old girl. We are all in awe of you, which makes you truly awesome. xx

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  1. Happy Birthday Gorgeous! All the way over here in Adelaide we blow kisses to you that travel across the oceans and the lands straight to you. B XXXX

  2. Beautiful advice for a beautiful daughter. Thank you for sharing it.

  3. Fantastic advice – welcome to motherhood of a teenager. I joined in Feb and so far so good, but the changes are happening and I feel my ‘little boy’ slipping away. Now I understand why you have been looking back through your teenage diary….fagging in the toilets…oh those were the days. Shhhh…we won’t mention that to our teenagers though 😉 S x

  4. Happy Birthday, First Traveller, your joy is palpable as is the love that shows in all you do with, for and because of the family you chose to be part of those many years ago.

  5. Happy Birthday, Traveler #1. Enjoy your teenagehood!!

  6. Beautifully said. 13 is a rough age, but it’s so much easier if you have a wonderful family behind you cheering you on!

  7. Sob. Such beautiful words of advice xxx

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