For this month’s blog, we are going to continue the letter writing series, but I decided to take a different approach and write a letter to myself. At times, I believe as important as it is to write to others, we must reflect, learn, and grow, so, this blog is to myself and what I wish I would have known at a younger age about my faith, my career, my relationships, my dreams, my life, etc. Hope you can catch onto the spirit of this blog, something I write resonates with you, or perhaps it inspires you to write your own letter to yourself. Then at the end of reading the “Dear Younger Me Blog” – let’s all share our own letters, learning, questions, and feedback.
Dear Younger Me,
I can still imagine you in Spain by the riverfront with a huge smile on your face and like the Nutcracker you had sugar plums dancing in your head. Such dreams. Such aspirations. You didn’t know what you didn’t know.
Well, I must admit I still look back at this time and it inspires me. Must admit – not everything I wrote in my journal that day has come true, but can say some dreams died for others and new dreams were hatched..
There are times I miss the innocence and spirit you had when you were younger, but do appreciate the wisdom I have gained. Now I know a lot more of what true love is, how hard you have to work for what you want, how nothing comes easy, and faith has to be at the core of it all or you’ll just drown at every life test thrown your way. Your mind is a powerful tool. Back then, you thought you could conquer the world. You had no clue of the real world. Now you know things such as anxiety and stress can easily seep into your brain. One day you’re confident and another day you have to get up by your boot straps and say you’ll be confident again.
Who knew you’d fight such battles such as miscarriages, layoffs, infidelities, rejections, a child with ADHD, etc. At one point, you were naïve to think you could have a life of rose bushes without thorns. You dreamt of being the Leave It To Beaver Family and everything would be perfect. The house with the picket fence, the dog, 2 kids, the picture perfect career, and a doting, handsome husband. Then real life hits. Not to sound too pessimistic because dreaming is what keeps us getting up in the morning. Without dreams and aspirations, we’d die and we’d never grow. However, life will never be the Cinderella story we imagined as little girls. You can be the princess and have a castle, but you’ll still have moats with alligators and soldiers to fight.
Younger me this is not to scare you. If I were going to have a conversation with my you, I am not sure I’d change being young because those years of frolicking, finding myself, and freedom were a blessing and some of my best years, but I would have told myself to seek my faith quicker, to believe in myself more, to not always have taken the trodden path, to have realism in my back pocket as much as I had dreams, and to make a plan. I would have done many things the same such as having time to live by myself, traveling the world, and being picky on boyfriends and everything that comes along with it. I would have held tightly to many lessons I learned in life such as treat credit cards like money, only date who you would be willing to marry, and don’t burn bridges because it’s a small world.
What I might have liked to have known sooner is – build work experience early because even entry jobs want experience, know the pros and cons of what work you’d like to do, learn to be good at networking and speaking to people because this is the magic potion, take advantage of every opportunity (don’t turn your back on learning), listen to your inner voice, don’t expect your children to be you, learn your spouses love language early, no amount of nagging will get you what you want, learn what are your must have’s and what you can put up with, don’t be willing to settle, don’t hold onto grudges, character is huge, don’t let anger get the best of you, don’t try to control what you can’t control, find out your purpose and live it, stop making excuses, learn to like yourself, learn from your mistakes, find out how to have joy in life even in the hard times, and don’t fret the small stuff because there’s the big stuff to fret.
Of course, many of these lessons sound cliche’ and I can almost hear you, my younger self, laughing at some of these lessons, but they’re true. If I think what has worked or has not worked in my life – it is when I invested myself into people and purpose. It is when I was Jesus’s steps on this earth that I could hold my head the highest. When I truly helped people or made a difference is when my world shifted. As my father once said – there will always be people richer, better looking, and smarter than you and if you spend your life concentrating on this fact you’ll never be happy. This is probably what I’d mostly tell my younger self if I could. I concentrated too much on trivial things when I was younger and now what I care about is leaving a legacy. If I were to die tomorrow – how would people think about me? Did I accomplish what I wanted to accomplish? Did I care about others along the journey? Was I smart in my decisions? Did I bring positive change to this world?
The biggest barrier I continue to fight even today is to not try to control what I can’t control. Not everyone is going to like or appreciate you. Some doors will close, but you have to believe others will open. Life is not always fair. Life will not always give you what you want. My husband and I found out this lesson rather quickly through our miscarriages. We could have thrown in the towel. Yet what we learned is when all else fails, prayer can give you hope. Sure, life can really suck at times, but for me there is only one answer. In the past, I leaned on what I thought was my understanding, but now have to lean on something greater. I would never wish the pain or fear I’ve endured through miscarriages, marriage woes, layoffs, etc. to anyone else, but also would not have given up these experiences because it made me stronger in myself, my marriage, as a parent, and within my faith. I had to endure dark times to ever see the light and to understand what is important.
Anyway, I know not everyone reading this post will agree with my views; which is ok. I know faith is a personal journey for everyone and you have to walk your own journey. All I can say is I continue to be on a path of learning. I’m happy I can embrace my younger self for who you are and I’ve grown to be who I am now. Some lessons would have been easier as short-cuts or not lessons at all, but happy the lessons are learned experiences and I am moving forward. I am sure in 15-20 years there will be new lessons I’ve learned that I wish I knew now, but for now I will say Namaste and keep reflecting, growing, having faith, and walking on this crazy journey called life.
Love My Older Self