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Gracie and The '13' Project

Teen Gracie Doran recently reached a milestone and wanted to share it with Patch readers in her column called "Days of Grace."

Recently I celebrated my 13th birthday.  I am very blessed to have parents who threw me a wonderful party. Right before my birthday cake was served, my mom revealed a very special birthday gift.

The month before my birthday my mom posted a request on my Caringbridge site and sent out an email to friends and family. She asked everyone to write a letter of advice to me, she called it the “13” project. My mom asked them to write a note of advice to their 13-year-old selves with information they wished they knew then, but know now. My mom wanted to put it all together and make a very special book for me.

They received many emails and letters. The principals from my elementary and middle schools contributed.  Dance teachers, school teachers, friends and family all wrote advice. I even got some advice from my Uncle Mike, I guess it was a boy’s point of view! I was so touched that so many people wrote in. My best friend’s mom even wrote a three-page letter, she had a lot to say.

There was so much good advice. Most people said to stay true to myself and don’t let other people determine my happiness. That it is OK to say no, and not to grow up so fast. I can’t pick any favorites, but here are some I really liked:

  •          Love God, and love people who need it more than you;
  •          Take care of your body, wear sunscreen;
  •          Live life to the fullest;
  •          You have two ears and one mouth, use them in proportion;
  •          Follow your dreams;
  •          Listen to you parents;
  •          Travel;
  •          Be courageous;
  •          Never give up;
  •          Quirky is cool; and
  •          Be the star in your own life, not the co-star in someone else’s.          

Thanks to everyone for contributing to this special book. I will treasure it forever. If you have any “13” advice for me leave it in the comments section and I will put it in the book.

Joy Robinson July 31, 2012 at 05:43 PM
Gracie, the future is bright with girls like you leading the way! My "13" advice: While traveling along the road of life, pursue your dreams and goals with vigor. But keep an open mind, as sometimes a dream turns out to be a stepping stone to something even bigger and better, leading you down a path of discovery wherein you find your true voice and life's passion. And that's an exciting path to be on :)

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