20 Things I’d Want My Little Sister to Know
by Julia Schemmer
I grew up in a home of three amazing older sisters, an older brother, and a younger brother, so my heart was always warmed by the different personalities that each brought. Although I can’t say I have a younger sister, there have been moments where I’ve dreamed of having one.
In this materialistic and affluent world we live in, it’s easy to forget the enormous value of genuine advice and understanding. There are so many things I’d want to tell her. Although I could probably fill a book with the ‘do’s’ and ‘don’t’s of this paradoxically chaotic yet still life, I decided to slim down my advice to only twenty things.
1. In your life, there are going to be people who will try to beat you down, to remind you of your weaknesses and attempt the death of your dream. Don’t listen to them. Jonathan Sprinkles, a world renown speaker once said, “Never adjust your expectations downward to compensate your peers’ lack of success.” You are going places. Even when there’s not one person who believes in your vision, keep going.
2. Know your worth. The only difference between a mountain and a hill is how high they’re willing to hold themselves up. It’s unfortunate that girls are being objectified and scorned for not having the ideal body type, but know that beauty is greater than surface level. You are beautiful in every single way, and don’t let the fleeting trends and pop culture try to change who you are as an individual.
3. Live everyday with a purpose. The grim thing about this adventurous life is that at any moment, blessings can be taken away. Wake up every morning like it’s Christmas morning. Get excited over the little things. Cherish relationships. Time is a’flying, and it’s of the essence that we are intentional with the days we are given.
4. Study hard. Even when you think you know the material, review it. Work hard, diligently, and with integrity.
5. Don’t be afraid to order your fries “Animal Style” at In N Out. It’s life-changing.
6. Don’t be embarrassed when you can’t do something. For me, I know now that I’m horrible at sports and loathe group projects, but the only way I would have known this if I tried it first. Love yourself enough to be willing to expose yourself to new opportunities, but don’t fret if they don’t work out. It means you’re becoming even closer to finding out what does work out, and when you find your passion, the joy of it will outweigh any of the failed experiences.
7. Listen. You’re a Schemmer, so you’re going to want to talk a lot, but take moments to listen to the world around you. Whether it’s the dogs barking endlessly at things our eyes cannot see or the words from a mother to a daughter in the grocery store, there are incredible stories out there.
8. Life is too short to use your real name at Starbucks.
9. Dress clean and classy. You can borrow my clothes if you want, but the ultimate style advice to use your preferences, and wear them in a clean and classy way. Be polished together, but with personality. Trust me: classiness will always be better than immediate gratification.
10. Don’t be so busy that you forget people you care about. With a personality and passion like yours, you’re going to be busy changing the world. However, please don’t forget about how much we all love and support you, and cherish the moments we get to spend with you. We’re rooting for you, but please don’t forget us.
11. Be adventurous. There is an adventure in everything, from a trip to the postal office to halfway across the world. With your eyes open to the possibilities that anywhere provides, you’ll live your life fully.
12. Nothing worth having will be easy. Work hard. Demand the best of yourself in every situation. Proofread, revise, rewrite, and repeat. Sweat until your practice reflects your performance. When you achieve your goal, it’ll feel better than it’s ever been.
13. Don’t be afraid to be a little ridiculous. Paint your nails an annoyingly bright color. Sing in the shower, even if you’re tone-deaf. Dance around the kitchen like you’re six years old. Sometimes the best moments come from being a bit ridiculous, and living life unconventionally.
14. When you’re old enough, I’ll introduce you to this amazing British singer named Sam Smith. If you’re having a bad day, listen to his songs. I pinky-promise he’ll become your new obsession.
15. Practice your handwriting. Legible handwriting is a form of art, and whatever career you go into, writing is valid and needed.
16. Break the rules. Form your own impression of what you want your life to look like. Don’t settle for a life of being a mother and a homemaker if that’s not what you genuinely want. Create your own destiny, even if it goes against popular opinion.
17. Don’t keep calm and carry on. Make noise, shake the gates of hell, and change the world!
18. Remember to relax. Nothing should be worth making you stress out and compromise your health. Remember to take breaks, watch reruns of Friends, and have fun. Life is short, and I know you want to do everything, but sometimes it’s enough to take a night off for yourself.
19. Give back. You’ve been blessed with much, and it’s important for you to serve the community. Don’t just listen to the stories of others, do something that will make their lives better. Leave people and places in a better position than what you last found them in. Whether it’s volunteering at a toy drive or lending a smile, making the choice to give back is the best decision you can make.
20. Rock out to your own beat. This is your life, and it’s you who will be changing the world!
This piece originally appeared in our Advice to My Little Sister issue, which is available to download for free.
Julia is, among many other wonderful things, an author. You can grab her books from Amazon.