My husband and I walked around dazed, muttering to each other and ourselves, "How can she be fifteen?" "When did that happen? " and "We are so-o-o-o old.""
This birthday, more than any other to date, feels like a major milestone. Maybe it's because she just started high school a couple of weeks ago. Or maybe it's because I remember so keenly how it felt to be fifteen. I certainly didn't think of myself as a child.
Growing up in New York City, I had far more autonomy than my daughter does. (And growing up in the 1970s, I had far far fewer electronics.) But, I still experienced a lot of the confusion and wonder and pressure and joy and sorrow that she's feeling right now.
So, for this post, I was trying to think of advice I could give her. Instead, I've turned to some other very smart women.
Happy birthday, sweetie. These are for you:
1. "Remember, no one can make you feel inferior without your consent."
2. "Understand that the right to choose your own path is a sacred privilege. Use it."
3. "When you do the best you can, you never know what miracle is wrought in your life or in the life of another."
4. "If you can't make it better, you can laugh at it."
5. "The most effective way to do it is to do it."
6. "The good news is that you don't know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish!"
7. "You grow up the day you have your first real laugh at yourself."
8. "You can do no great things, only small things with great love."
9. "Success is getting what you want, happiness is wanting what you get."
10. "Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance. Great dancers are not great because of their technique, they are great because of their passion."
11. "Always go with the choice that scares you the most, because that's the one that is going to require the most from you."
12. "When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time."
13. "Just don't give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there is love and inspiration, I don't think you can go wrong."
15. “About all you can do in life is be who you are.”
Rita Mae Brown