For better or for worse, our first impressions of the world usually come through the people who raise us. Luckily for me, the women in my family were able to gently guide me through any situation, offering their priceless opinions and advice along the way. They conveyed much of their wisdom through words, but I learned even more through their actions. In honor of Mother’s Day, here are some of the best bits of advice and life lessons I’ve learned from my amazing mom (and by proxy, my aunts and my grandmothers).
1. If you don’t like where your life is going, you can change it. Anytime you want.
2. Always send a thank-you note.
3. You never know who you’ll run into when you leave the house in the morning.
4. Don’t rush into marriage just for the sake of getting married.
6. Do everything in your power to get an education, even if you don’t think you need it.
7. When you get your own place, you should probably own a Betty Crocker cookbook so you know the basics of feeding yourself.
8. Women help other women.
9. When you commit long-term to a partner, you’re also committing to their habits and their lifestyle. The same goes the other way around.
10. When in doubt, blast “I Will Survive” on repeat until you believe it.
11. You can’t change a person who doesn’t want to change.
12. Spend time alone when you crave it. Nurture your own interests and goals. Don’t exist solely in relation to your partner or friends.
13. Don’t put a TV in a child’s room or it will probably become the center of their life.
14. Life in this moment might not always be ideal, but it is precious, and one day, you’ll look back and miss it.
15. They still make encyclopedias and dictionaries, and sometimes those have much better answers than the internet.
16. Rudely, overtly bragging tends to be pretty ineffective and only reflects poorly on you.
17. Read the damn instructions when you’re putting something together.
18. Put your napkin on your lap. (I’m bad at this one.)
19. Listen to your intuition when making a big decision.
20. Pay it forward to the people who’ve helped you out.
21. Make travel a priority when you can, even if it means holding off on buying that new furniture set in favor of plane tickets.
22. Don’t drive anywhere barefoot, because if the car breaks down you’ll be walking on the side of the road with no shoes.
23. You’re tougher than you think, but sometimes you don’t find that out until bad stuff happens that draws on all of your courage.
24. Shared values are more important than shared interests.
25. Life partners are awesome, but your life is not on hold until one comes along. You can go after the things you want out of life at any time, single or coupled.
26. Quiet confidence goes a long way.
27. Always keep granola bars in your purse.