Life advice gifted to a friend’s baby girl may be better than another Sophie the Giraffe – The Toronto Star
Sharing words of hope and wisdom with an unborn child struck seems far more meaningful than having someone at the Bay gift-wrap plastic items made in China.
Like most women in their mid-30s, I’ve attended almost as many baby showers as I’ve taken actual showers. I’ve gifted the fetuses of friends and family with a king’s ransom of teething rings, onesies, tenderly inscribed copies of “Goodnight Moon” and a multitude of Sophie the Giraffes (because my name is also Sofi!).
Recently, my friend Whitney, seven months pregnant with her first child, requested a different sort of baby shower present from me.
“Whenever I read and hear bad news about being a female in nearly every facet of life today, I look at my belly and apologize for not having fixed this yet,” Whitney wrote to me in an email. “I wonder if you’d consider writing (my daughter) a letter.”
Sharing words of hope and wisdom with an unborn child struck seems far more meaningful than having someone at the Bay gift-wrap plastic items made in China, so of course I said yes.
In the midst of writing the letter, I came to the realization that this advice isn’t just for Whitney’s daughter. It’s also relevant to adults — and even, I admit, to myself.
Stand up for yourself and for other people.
There is a treacherously fine line between being accommodating and being a doormat. Kindness is essential but niceness is overrated. Embrace the power and beauty of the word “no.” People — especially women — should wield it more often.
Never apologize for your body.
Never apologize for your age.
Never apologize for having and voicing an opinion.
Fear is going to try its best to keep you from doing things you really want to do. Whether it’s skydiving, going for a run in a park at dusk or asking a boy to dance, fear will try to stand in your way. Be smart but be brave! Don’t let the spectre of worst-case scenarios keep you from living your life.
“Sorry” is not a form of punctuation.
Cultivate a hobby. Preferably more than one. Hobbies will keep you grounded and keep you company for many years to come.
Don’t say no to a piece of cake you really, really want.
Read. A lot.
Take up space.
Always ask for more money.
The importance of physical beauty in women is strongly emphasized in our culture. It’s fine to want to be beautiful, but remember that the way you look is not your identity and it’s certainly not where your value as a person lies.
If YouTube is still a thing in the future, don’t post anything on your own YouTube channel before you’re, like, 25. Seriously. Just don’t even think about it.
Never read the comments.
Get your driver’s licence when you’re young and bored because suddenly you’ll be 34 and crazy busy and the thought of sitting through driving school will make your skin itch.
Even if you have a driver’s licence, walk or bike whenever possible.
If you’re ever tempted to sing a down-tempo ballad at karaoke, please reconsider.
Some people will try to make you feel like a failure if you reach an arbitrary age without having secured a partner. You are not incomplete. You are not insufficient. You are a whole person. You are enough.
The very best thing about adulthood is that you get to choose the people with whom you spend your time. Choose wisely.
Having negative thoughts and speaking poorly of other people (even if they deserve it) is energy better spent, I don’t know, gardening?
Ensure that the person you fall in love with has friends. The quality of a friendship circle reveals a lot about a person’s character.
You don’t have to do what others expect of you. Just do whatever makes you happy.
Eat your vegetables (I promise your mom didn’t make me put that in there).