This list felt particularly poignant last week, the night before we boarded our first flight without our children, when I was as anxious AF about leaving my ‘babies’ behind. However, (and before I’m reported to Child Services), let me reassure you that our ‘babies’ are eighteen and twenty-one respectively, but if perchance I do bump into Prince Charming in the Harrods Food Hall, or (more likely) Isis gets me, these are the rules I’d pass onto them for a happy life:
Chase happiness, not wealth.
Focus on what is in your head and comes out of your mouth, rather than how you look.
Appreciate your ‘kind’ friends, even if they might seem a bit dull when you’re young. Their value will increase as you get older.
Have children, because eventually the joy will override the pain.
Never give up on your passions, even if they never give you any commercial success; the personal fulfilment you gain from them will most likely be enough.
Adopt a pet, or several – they will be your best teachers after your children.
Work out early on if the compromise for the fuck-off house with the fuck-off mortgage is worth it.
Understand that education is more than just about academic grades.
Travel whenever you can because spontaneity gets trickier as your body gets older. Travelling is not just about wondrous landscapes and different foods, it’s about learning about different cultures and their values to gain a better understanding of humility, and ultimately what the meaning of love is all about.
Never stop learning and expanding your mind.
Sex is great, but overrated in the grand scheme of things.
The best foods often cost the least and are made in your own kitchen.
Sometimes you’ll need to follow your heart; other times it will be your head. You’ll get better at recognising which instinct to trust.
Invest in one innate talent or learn one new trade from which you can earn the minimum wage. That way you’ll always be able to put a roof over your head.
Make sure there’s always a bottle of wine or a few beers in the fridge.
Keep your passport up-to-date.
Even if it’s not obvious, be aware that sadly there is a world of seediness and corruption out there, so be careful who you trust and always watch your back.
19.True friends are there for you ALL the time.
Happiness is the key to good health. Never take your health for granted.
Laughter is responsible for those telltale lines on your face of a life well lived, which makes them beautiful.
Follow your instincts – they’ll turn out to be your most trustworthy friends.
Give in to grief, or it will follow you around for the rest of your life.
Learn to trust and trust again, even when you get hurt. Most importantly, be trustworthy.
Forgiveness and compromise are the understated necessities of all successful relationships, but if you can learn how to do them, you’ll be rewarded with deep love.
If you have to sell your soul for anything, it’s not worth it.
Don’t be afraid to experiment.
Don’t be afraid of regrets – they mean you tried something and even though it didn’t work out, you learned from it.
Beauty comes from the inside out.
Feminism is about equal rights, not man-hating.
Don’t take yourself too seriously. Learn how to laugh at yourself.
Embrace emotion and cry when you need to, even if you’re an ugly crier.
Do a job you enjoy.
Exercise is more vital to the health of your head than the rest of your body.
And most importantly, know your worth.