October 13, 2012

Day 13: Dear 17 Year Old Me...

Do you ever forget how old you are? When you are little you say things like "when I grow up..". You talk about growing up like it's something far away in the future and those who are already grown up really seem to have their stuff together. This was the case for me, at least, with my parents and grandparents being the prime examples.

But, when do you transition between "growing up" and "all grown up"? I feel like somewhere along the way, it happens, but not quite as you imagine when you're a child. You expect to feel wiser and more capable, responsible and successful. I think the big secret the grownups in our lives never shared with us is that no one really knows what they are doing. To a 17 year old, do I seem like a grown up who has it all figured out? I know that when I was 17 years old, 27 seemed very far away and very grown up. If I could go back in time and give some words of grown up wisdom to my 17 year old self, it would go a little something like this:

Dear 17 Year Old Self,
First, let me just give you a big hug. You do not yet feel comfortable in your own skin, and although it will take a while, you'll get there. Do not be so hard on yourself. It's okay if your hair isn't perfect or that boy you have a crush on doesn't feel the same way. Your love is coming.

I know you care a lot about what your friends think about you right now, but stop doing that, too. Your best friends now are going to love you forever and are even going to be in your wedding. They just want you to be you, so try hard to do that.

EAT!  Life is too short to eat like a tiny rabbit. You will go to Spain and Italy in college and come back with a new found love of fresh food and cooking. You'll actually be pretty decent in the kitchen and will have fun, too. You'll still be a health nut in the next years, but you'll prepare foods that are good for your body, not just your waistline.

You've always wanted to be a teacher, and you will actually become one. You'll love teaching but will get frustrated with the "other stuff" that comes with it. Keep your mind on your purpose for being there, which is to teach those young minds. All the other stuff doesn't matter.

Listen to your parents. They are, always have been, always will be your greatest fans and biggest cheerleaders. You don't know everything, because you are 17. Trust their advice to you and thank them as much as possible for everything they do and will do for you in the future.

You and your sister will continue to grow closer the older you both get. You'll be the maid of honor at her wedding and she'll be the matron of honor at yours. You will be the best friends you always hoped you'd be growing up. Your brother will still try to protect you and make you laugh and you'll get to travel Europe together in college.  Both of your siblings will be there for you in ways you can't imagine in the future.

Right now you're excited to finish high school and go to college. In college, you'll be ready to graduate and become an adult. Slow down. When you're out on your own you won't wish you were back in college, but you'll appreciate those carefree days.

You're going to go through some frogs before you find your prince. Keep holding your expectations high, and he will waltz into your life when you least expect it. Your heart will feel fuller than it ever has before. Your love will be magical and will feel like a fairytale.

Don't sweat the small stuff. You tend to get stressed out about small things because you want to do your best and want things to be perfect. They will not be perfect and you won't be either. The sooner you accept that the less crazy you'll become.

When you say your wedding vows, the "for worse" will come sooner than you expect it to.  You will be a mommy, but not in the way you imagine now. You will have five children by the time you are 27 but you won't have held any of them in your arms yet. It's going to rock your world but your marriage will remain strong through every storm. Hold onto eachother and communicate. Respect the differences between you and your husband and know that you'll handle each trial uniquely, and that's okay. Be gentle with eachother and gentle with yourself. Don't forget to take care of you even when that's the last thing you'll feel like doing. Have faith that you will have a house full of your babies someday soon. That part of the story still isn't finished yet.

You are not above sorrow. You are not above tragedy. It will happen to you but you need to remain thankful for the gifts in your life you do have instead of focusing on what you do not. Count your blessings. Every. Day. You will grow stronger in your faith in God through experiencing heartache. Be thankful for that, too. Know that your relationship with Him will not be perfect, either. Sometimes you'll get mad at Him and question His purpose for your life and he will love you through that.

Laugh. You have to keep laughing! Don't take everything so seriously. And, laughter will help guide you through some of the oddest and toughest moments. If you feel like laughing, do it. Don't worry about if it's okay to laugh. You can feel sad and laugh at the same time. Seen it. Lived it.

Hang in there, girl. You are loved and you have a big life ahead of you. There will be many joyous moments and some very sad ones, too. Believe in yourself and remember that you are strong, capable, and determined. Keep a positive attitude. You still won't have it all figured out 10 years from now. Not even close. That's okay. Just take it one day at a time and be grateful for every moment you have. And, don't forget to laugh along the way.

Love,
27 Year Old Self

1 comment:

Jerimi said...

How beautiful! I love this idea, and am so glad you've shared it. Thank you.

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