No matter how old you are, Taylor Swift is a pretty solid role model, and not just because of her squeaky clean reputation. She's essentially a living angel — so good and pure of heart that it's hard to accept that she's real — but I'm so glad she is. Not only is her professional resume ridiculously impressive (four number one albums, anyone?) now that she's conquered the entertainment world, but in the past year, she's been making strides for feminism and showering her fans with unexpected gifts at every opportunity, so I'm probably not the only one who wants to grow up to be Swift. But what I love most about her? She's a moral compass all her own, which means that if you ask yourself "Will Taylor Swift be proud of me?" before making any major life decision, you can never make the wrong choice.
It's been close to a decade since Swift first hit the scene with her debut self-titled album, and in those years, she's both unknowingly and knowingly dropped so much wisdom on us that she should probably start writing self-help books on how to be more like her. Most of us may never be as inspirational or as tall as Swift, but many of us will be better people because of her.
Just by being herself and living her life as authentically as possible, Swift has taught us so many important lessons about life that, without her, we might have had to learn the hard way. Thanks for looking out, girl!
It's important to be kind to people
Swift is famous for her thank you cards, going out of her way to make her fans feel appreciated, and throwing birthday parties for members of Fifth Harmony just because she heard Camila Cabello didn't have anything planned for her special day. It's easy to look at the way Swift spreads the love to the people in her world and be inspired to do the same for people in your life who you appreciate, even though it'd be way more fun to give my friends presents for no reason if I was getting Swift-sized paychecks.
Trust your gut
If you've been following Swift's career for awhile, you know that she was discovered by Scott Borchetta at her label, and since then, he's served as a guiding force behind her music. But when Swift decided to make the change from country to pop with 1989 last year, he was hesitant about it and asked her to please include a few country songs on the album so she could stay in the country genre. But that didn't settle well with her, and even though Swift was nervous about shifting gears, her mind was already made up, and she went all pop. The record sales obviously speak for themselves. When you know in your heart what you need to do, you should follow it.
We don't need to make people like us
Swift has learned firsthand that fighting to get people to like her just doesn't work, and as she told fans at this 2013 concert in Nashville:
It’s not our job to make people like us if they don’t want to. It’s not our job to change people. That’s beyond our control. But what you CAN control is how you respond to it.
And obvs, when people don't like us, Swift's clear advice is just to shake it off, duh.
As women, we have to lift each other up
Over the past year, Swift has been all about pointing out when the media has treated her and other women unfairly because she's a woman, and I'm so glad that she's been on top of calling that kind of sexism out. On Canadian talk show Tout Le Monde En Parlein 2014, she said:
Females are kind of pinned up against each other. For example, you’ll never see online "Vote for who has the better butt: this actor or this actor." It’s always this female singer or this female singer. It's every day [for me].... In order for us to have gender equality, we have to stop making it a girl fight, and we have to stop being so interested in seeing girls try and tear each other down. It has to be more about cheering each other on as women.
It's cool to be a little old lady
Swift's favorite hobbies: Spending way too much time watching Law & Order, playing with her cats, making jam, and needlepoint crafts. And she's one of the top music artists in the world. So you tell me if there's such a thing as an embarrassing hobby. Nope! Do what makes you happy. And speaking of making yourself happy...
Just do you
While doing press for 1989, Swift announced that her most recent life changes are happening because one day, she made up her mind that she was going to stop holding herself back because she was worried of what other people might think. As she said in an interview with Access Hollywood:
People say all the time, "You need to spend some time to yourself and figure out who you are" and I never really understood it until it happened to me. I woke up one day and I just realized I'm in New York because I want to be in New York. I cut my hair short because I wanted to. I made a pop album because I wanted to. There was absolutely no one else influencing me and that was something I was very proud of.
Of all the life lessons Swift has taught us, I think this is the most important. Make yourself happy first. Take the risks you want to take. The rest will fall into place where and when it's supposed to.