Being the older sister, I have always felt that it was my duty to teach my sisters different things about the real world and protect them from everything and everyone. Even though they are 16, I still see them as little eight year olds that are oblivious to the real world and how it works. I know that they are getting older and going to experience so many new things, but I want them to be prepared for that. I want them to know that it’s okay to make mistakes, and it’s not the end of the world if your friend stops talking to you or your favorite character on The Walking Dead dies. Life goes on. I’m sure many of you can relate to being an older sibling, so here are 20 pieces of advice for your little sister (and mine).
1. It doesn’t matter how many friends you have.
I know everyone thinks that being popular and having a bunch of friends is the most important thing, but it’s not. I’d rather have one or two amazing friends who truly care about me than 10 people who don’t really give a shit. Quality over quantity.
2. You don’t have to know what you want to do with your life.
Don’t feel pressured by teachers and other people to know what you want to do with the rest of your life. I’m in college and I still am not completely sure what I want to be doing 10 years from now. Your mind will change often and there is nothing wrong with that. One day you might want to be a nurse, and the next you might want to work in film. And if you want to take a year off before college and find yourself, do it. It’s your life in the end, and you should be happy with whatever you choose to do with it. Don’t let others decide for you.
3. You don’t need a relationship.
I don’t know if you’re always thinking about dating or not, but since you’re in high school, I know it’s something you come across everyday. Let me just tell you, coming from someone who has been single her whole life, dating isn’t everything. You don’t need to be in a relationship to be happy. And you especially don’t need to be in one just because everyone else is. Take time for yourself and get to know yourself before you put your time into another person. The right person will come when the time is right.
4. Travel the world.
I know you might not be as excited to travel as I am, but someday you will regret not exploring the enormous world we live in. Enjoy vacations and get excited to visit new places. Not only will you have really cool stories to tell your future children, but you will get to experience things that you couldn’t have if you stayed in one place and never stepped out of your comfort zone. There are so many amazing places to visit, so why not gather friends and go on a spontaneous road trip someday?
5. It’s okay to make mistakes.
Just because you get a bad grade on a test or forget about your friends birthday, doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world. Everyone makes mistakes. We learn from them and move on. Don’t let those mistakes hold you back from doing other things. Learn from them and do better next time. There is only so much time in the world and why should you waste it dwelling on something bad that happened when you could be doing something better?
6. Take risks.
Within reason of course. But if you want to write a book or love singing or want to act, don’t let other people tell you that you can’t do it. You are going to go through the rest of your life having people tell you that maybe writing isn’t for you, or that you have to go to college and pick a realistic major that will get you a job that pays well. Screw them, if you want to write, then spend all day writing. If you don’t want to go to college because you want to take a risk and move to LA and act, then do it. Without risks, where would we be?
7. You don’t have to go out.
Once you get to college, you will feel like everyone is always going out and getting drunk, but I am here to tell you that is not true. There are plenty of people that stay in and have just as much fun, if not more than people who go out every weekend. If you ever don’t feel like hanging out with your friends, it’s fine to say no and spend some time by yourself. Catch up on that TV show you have been meaning to watch or read that book that’s been sitting on your desk all year. It’s okay to be by yourself. And don’t ever let other people force you to go out or tell you that you need to go out and drink, because you don’t.
8. Try new things.
Whether this means trying new foods or experimenting with a new style, don’t be afraid to try something completely new and out of the ordinary. You might find that you’re a master at knitting or a complete genius when it comes to writing poetry. You will never know unless you just go out and try it. No one can hold you back but yourself.
9. Enjoy time with your siblings.
I know you’re probably gagging in your mind right now but it’s true. Even if you fight a lot and think that you could never really be friends with your siblings, spend time with them. Once you start to grow up and everyone is moving out and doing their own thing, you are going to yearn for those days when you could walk into your older sibling’s room and just talk about all the drama that went down that day at school. Even if you don’t think you will miss them now, you will.
10. Keep a journal.
This one might not seem that important, but trust me, in 10 years you are going to really thank yourself for keeping a journal and writing down everything you did and what happened. Even if you don’t journal every night, journal every once in awhile. Even if it’s just on vacation, like I do. It’s a good keepsake to have and it’s a great way to see how much you have changed over the years.
11. Don’t give in to peer pressure.
Don’t EVER let anyone pressure you into doing something you are not ready to do; whether this means drinking, sex, or anything else you’re uncomfortable with. You are the only one who can decide when you are ready to do something. If you want to wait to drink until you turn 21, then do it. Just because other people are doing something does not mean you need to be doing it too. You will feel much worse about yourself if you do something before you were ready.
12. Get out and live.
Don’t get too hung up on trivial stuff, like celebrities and what they are doing or who they are dating. Their lives are not more important than yours, so don’t waste your life worried about what they are doing. Go out and live your own life.
13. Learn to cook.
We might have mom cooking dinner for us every night, but once you move out, you have to learn to make food for yourself. You can’t eat Panda Express and Subway every day, no matter how tempting that might sound. Learn to make even the simplest things so you can at least make something.
14. Treat yourself.
It’s okay to buy yourself something nice every once in awhile. There is nothing wrong with spending money on yourself or being a little selfish and wanting to spend a day doing things for you. Don’t ever feel bad for being a little selfish.
15. Leave the past in the past.
Trying to get revenge or constantly thinking about something that happened in the past won’t change it. There is nothing you can do about it now, so just move on. Everything happens for a reason, whether that be good or bad.
16. You don’t need makeup.
Just because everyone, including myself, likes to wear makeup on a daily basis, doesn’t mean you have to. It’s fine to wear it, but you’re young. You have so much time to wear all the makeup you want. Enjoy being fresh faced for just a while longer.
17. Listen to your gut.
If you’re friends want to do something and your gut is telling you that you shouldn’t be doing that, listen and don’t do it. It’s better to be safe than sorry. And NEVER do anything that would put you in harm’s way.
18. Enjoy being young.
I know that when I was your age, I couldn’t wait to grow up and start my life, but let me tell you, although there are a lot of nice things that come with growing up, there are also a ton of things that really suck. I would do anything to go back to being young and carefree. Enjoy it while you can, because soon you’re going to be wishing you appreciated it more.
19. Appreciate mom and dad.
I know you might think they just want to tell you what to do, but they don’t. Be appreciative of your parents because at the end of the day, they just want you to be happy. They want to see you succeed in anything you do. Always tell them you love them.
20. I’ll always be there.
It doesn’t matter if I’m right upstairs or 5000 miles away on the other side of the world, I will always be there for you no matter what. If you’re ever lost or feel alone, you know you can always call me and I’ll be there.