Saturday, June 11, 2011

Dear Me: Two Decades of What I Know Now

How many times have people said, "If I had only known then what I know now..." and finished with how they would have lived differently?

It's almost too easy to look back and think how things should've been done differently, how we should've changed ourselves, how we really should've lived.

And what if we could? What if you went back and told yourself how to respond, how to act, how to live; how would that change your future? We like to think it would make a positive difference, and perhaps it would, but really, we'll never know.

All we know is, there is a path we each took, one step at a time. For better or worse, it has gotten us to where we are today. And if where we are isn't where we want to be, all we can do is change our present to dictate our future.

Nevertheless, here are a few letters I would send to the me from yesteryear if I could.

Dear 3-year-old me,
You're going to be asking for a sibling for a while. Don't worry that it's not going to happen any time soon, just keep asking. Eventually you'll get your answer.

Also, you're making a really big decision to give your heart to Jesus this year. (Yes, this does mean the angels are throwing a party in heaven.) This is really the best year of your life just because of that. Never forget it.

Dear 5-year-old me,
This year you're going to Colorado for the first time, to a camp in the mountains. You're going to love it, so just enjoy it while you can. Make the most of it, because you're going to miss it more than anything in 10 years. And oh yeah, you'll be living here in about 18, so falling in love with the mountains is a good idea.

Dear 7-year-old me,
This year you're going to start writing. At first it's going to be pretty lame and you're not going to like it. You'll draw more pictures than write. But mom is going to make you do it, and when you get into high school, you'll be really glad she did. Just keep with it, because farther down the road it's all you're going to want to do. And you will have the opportunity to touch lives with it, so practice while you can.

Dear 9-year-old me,
It's really not a good idea to wear jelly shoes while bike riding. I think you should reconsider. You should also reconsider trying to beat your dad in a race, he'll probably just let you win (if not, losing is okay). Also, wearing a helmet is smart, so keep doing that. Oh and the skin on your elbow will get some sweet looking scar tissue that you will later be proud of. Fortunately, your face will not.

Dear 11-year-old me,
Life is about to get really crazy, so just enjoy the simplicity while you can. I suggest soaking up the last bits of childhood with your neighborhood friends while playing with your American Girl dolls and Beanie Babies.

Dear 12-year-old me,
First, there's not much you can do for the awkwardness, and everything feels like a huge deal because you haven't had these feelings before. It's okay, and it's normal. Also, the best thing is to not tell anyone when you think a boy is cute. And you're going to suck at basketball, but just keep at it because in a few years you'll be kicking butt at it in college.

Second, remember when you were three? Well that prayer is going to get answered. And he will grow up fast, so don't worry, he won't be driving you crazy forever. (Oh and dressing him up in fun little outfits won't last very long either, so take lots of photos.)

Dear 14-year-old me,
Good job on the conflict resolution, that will serve you well in the future. Oh and this year, you're going to get some really hard news. The best thing to do is enjoy your last year with your best friends and to embrace what's to come. Keep remembering what you told God that you wanted to do, this will be your chance.

Dear 15-year-old me,
This year is going to be the hardest one of your life so far, so please keep a few things in mind. First, it will be over in three years, then life will be amazing. Second, you're not ugly, you're just a wallflower. You won't really understand this until later, but trust me, high school boys aren't worth your time. Third, family dynamics are going to change this year, but don't forget that your parents really, truly love you. Finally, you shouldn't be afraid to talk about your faith. In a few years, you won't give a rip what people thought of you. You might as well do something useful with your time instead of trying to fit in.

Dear 16-year-old me,
Don't be afraid to do what you have to do. Be strong, don't back down, and trust God. You will do what other people cannot, and you will be victorious.

Dear 18-year-old me,
This is a great year, you should (and will) enjoy it. Graduation is going to be the best feeling ever, you're never going to look back. Going to college is going to be wonderful. Say hello to freedom, lots of great friends, and college basketball. Oh and your first kiss with a guy you've liked since junior high. Yeah, that'll be the icing on the cake.

Don't forget to write in your journal. You're going to miss being 18.

Dear 19-year-old me,
You're going to struggle a bit this year. I can't tell you why, but you should just be careful, and maybe reconsider what you are wanting to do before you do it. Don't be afraid to tell people no, you will be glad you did.

Dear 20-year-old me,
Keep being yourself, keep living it up, and don't worry about what people think. People have been spreading rumors and they will keep spreading rumors. Just keep your good friends close, only their opinions really matter.

Also, don't worry about not having a roommate in the spring. You're going to get someone who is better than anyone you would've picked for yourself. And you will become best friends.

Dear 22-year-old me,
Don't be in too much of a hurry to get done with school, you will miss it so much in a few years. Keep loving on the people who need you. You need them too. Also, don't be too quick to push away those you are close to. You will miss them before you know it.

Oh, and if you want to put off joining eHarmony, that might be a good idea. I know you're doing it as a joke, but it will go up in flames in about a year. Just a thought, but you do what you want.

Dear 23-year-old me,
I can't really tell you to not do what you're about to do because I don't want you to live with regret. Well, I suppose no matter what you do, you will end up regretting something. Just know that if life was hard before, life will be even harder now. First it will be great, then it will be terrible. Just remember that it won't last forever. Eventually you will learn your many lessons and be back where God wants you.

In the mean time, stay strong. Tears aren't a sign of weakness, they're a sign of humanity. And if you have to mourn, at least you're in Colorado. You've always loved Colorado.


camille nicole said...

I love this.
And you. :)

Jess said...

And if you had never come to Colorado for a boy.....we would have never become such good friends....maybe that makes it all worth it cause let's face it. I'm amazing. bahahahaha. LOVE YOU!

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