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19 Important Life Lessons I Want My Daughter to Remember After High School Graduation

An Open Letter to My Daughter on Her High School Graduation: Life Lessons + Taylor Swift

young woman in white dress in river holding a book
Photos taken by our local photographer in Boise, ID

Dearest Daughter,

As you put on your cap and gown and you stand on the edge of a new future, I'm compelled to leave you with words that, while mine, are inspired by someone who's been a guiding lyrical force in your life—Taylor Swift.

Her words, much like the experiences you're about to embark upon, are layered with wisdom, whimsy, and a touch of wonder. And so, with a nod to Taylor's brilliant lyricism, here's my open letter and life lessons to you, my daughter.

young woman in white dress in river
My daughter's senior pictures

"Everything you lose is a step you take." Your journey through high school was never promised to be free of loss or challenge, but every stumble and every scar has been a step forward, not back.

You’ve learned that sometimes, “to make the friendship bracelets, you have to take the moment and taste it,” diving wholeheartedly into relationships and experiences that sometimes were painful but also sometimes they added color your world.

I hope as you move forward you find those true deep friendships that can anchor you through storms.

young woman in white dress in river

"I wanna be defined by the things that I love, not the things I hate." As you step into a wider world, remember these words. Your passion, your love for what brings joy, and your relentless optimism are what set you apart.

“You are what you love,” and that, my dear, is a beautiful thing.

Through every heartbreak and hurdle, you discovered that “there are two ways you can get through pain. You can let it destroy you, or you can use it as fuel to drive you: to dream bigger, work harder.” 

Each challenge you faced didn't just test you; it forged you into someone stronger, more compassionate, and endlessly resilient. And this will carry you through the ups and downs of a life yet to come.

young woman in white dress in river holding a book

Adulthood is like walking in high heels—sometimes it's fun, but sometimes it's painful, “if the shoe fits, walk in it 'til your high heels break.” It’s about taking on roles, jobs, and relationships that challenge and change you, but know you should always walk through it confidently even when the path is unknown.

You'll realized that “long story short, you'll survive.” No matter what life throws your way, your spirit and your determination have always seen you through, turning every ending into a new beginning.

Though some days it will seem you can't get through it, you can and you will.

senior portraits

Never forget, “Today is never too late to be brand new.” Each day brings with it a fresh start, a new chapter in the ever-evolving story of you. And though “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail,” it’s also important to let life surprise you, to find beauty in the unplanned and the unexpected.

Sometimes the road less traveled is the one you need to take... even if it seems like a struggle, it can and will be worth it.

You've lived knowing “People throw rocks at things that shine,” yet never dimming your light. In your brilliance, you've learned “to never be so polite you forget your power, never wield such power you forget to be polite.”

I hope I have showed you to always use your voice, but to still have grace while doing it.

young woman walking in river senior portraits

“Just be yourself, there is no one better,” for your authenticity is your greatest strength. And there is no one like you.

Even as “you’re on your own, kid,” remember, you're more than equipped to face whatever comes your way.

Your journey “from sprinkler splashes to fireplace ashes” has been one of growth, love, and transformation. “You gave your blood, sweat, and tears for this,” and it’s only the beginning of the amazing adventures that await you.

young woman on converse shoes senior portraits

The bridge you've built from adolescence into adulthood is constructed from lessons learned and love shared. “And if you never bleed, you’re never gonna grow,” but grow you have, and grow you still will.

You've grown into an incredible individual whose light brightens every space you enter. But I cannot wait to watch you grow even further.

With every tear and triumph, “I’ll [always] tell you the truth but never goodbye,” even thought the truth can be painful.

But know what ever winding path life takes you, I will always be with you. And with every step, you carry my love and support.

“You gotta fake it till you make it, and I did,” sometimes we have to try things that push our own boundaries and expectations of others and ourselves. You will always come out on top, darling girl.

As you celebrate this achievement, know that “no matter what happens in life, be good to people. It’s a wonderful legacy to leave behind.” 

In kindness, in cleverness, in every moment shared and memory made, “hold on to the memories; they will hold on to you.”

Here's to you, my daughter, as you graduate high school. May the lessons you’ve embraced guide you, may the lessons to come shape your, I hope your heart remains open and vibrant.

With all the love in the world,


1 Comment

May 21

Beautifully written. Can't wait to see all the amazing things she accomplishes! ❤️ Kelly M

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