I will be 40 in a few months and I might be having a bit of a freak out. I am not sure why because I have an extraordinary life, wonderful things are happening, I think it is just the number, is my life really half way over?
A group of girls from high school are meeting up in April (unfortunately I have a conference I am speaking at that weekend so I can’t go) and it made me think back on high school, where I have been and what I wish I would have done differently. Of course, all the choices I have made led me here and God has had it all planned from the start. But, have you ever thought if you could go back and write a letter to your high school self what it would say?
So, as I approach the big 4-0, I have enough experience, wisdom and now a little clarity to give myself advice had I known then what I know now. Here it is, a letter to my peppy, fun, spastic high school self.
Dear Park Wife (you will figure that name out, but it will be years from now),
You will look back on growing up in this small town with fond memories, and the good news is that you get out, live all over the South, travel all over in your jobs, and at the age of 40 have a beautiful life in a wonderful place.
You are a good friend to people from all different “cliques”, continue this (even though you are chastised by the “in girls”), you will be happy about it when you look back. Right now you are a good friend to someone that has trouble being friends with people. Continue to be her friend even when she is not a good friend to you, this is training you for relationships in the future with bosses, family, and friends that have to be dealt with. You can not always walk away from people that are not like you nor nice to you. You will have “sandpaper” people in your life, this is to make you better, it is not really about them.
When you put on your cheerleading skirt this Friday night, enjoy it, this is the best you will ever look in a skirt that short. Do a few extra back flips too, after you have kids those stomach muscles are not the same.
I know your mom and dad drive you crazy sometimes, but know that they love you and sacrifice for you daily. Spend more time with them on the weekends rather than cruising around with your friends trying to “fit in”. They are your biggest fans and you will miss your dad’s hugs, jokes, eating Chinese out with him, and his endless sacrifices for you. Thank him for loving you as if you were his own and never treating you like you weren’t. Memorize every step as he walks you down the aisle and holds your first-born.
Be who you are, you will spend many years worrying about what everyone else thinks about you. Stop it, they aren’t, they are too busy thinking about themselves and worrying what others think of them, putting on a show not being who God created them to be. Use your energy for good, be authentic, you are a pretty cool chic.
High school boys are a waste of time, your love/relationship training ground will not start until college. There are guys that are put into your life for a season and definitely for a reason. You will learn many lessons that will prepare you for the incredible man God has planned for you. He will be SOOOOOO worth the wait. He will be your true companion, the love of your life, more than you think you deserve. The two of you will be blessed with two of the most extraordinary gifts, be diligent as this is your legacy.
Don’t be afraid of being “normal” because you crave the attention of being exceptional. I’m not saying don’t be exceptional, I’m saying don’t crave needing to be recognized for it. This will be your greatest obstacle.
Don’t eat fast food, you will not believe what they put in that stuff, wear sunscreen when you live in Destin, wear your retainer, big hair and a thick gold chain is not something that you really want to have in your high school portrait, you will never like ironing or putting up dishes but you will be a great keeper of the home, asking questions is more important, and honest, than having all the answers.
Try to secretly learn a lot about the Internet. Then, start an online community where people can join, create profiles, post status updates, give virtual thumbs ups, and poke each other. You’re confused? Don’t worry, you’ll get it someday. Oh, and buy stock in Google, trust me on these two.
Know that everything you go through, every experience you have will add to you. God will use the good times and bad to teach you, strengthen you and bring you closer to Him. Soak it all in, write it all down. Don’t stress about the future because no matter what you envision as your future it will not turn out how you imagined, it will be more than you could have ever asked for.
Take the time to write a letter to your high school self and share with us all!