I guess it is my turn. I have had a few entries over the last year that women in my life have submitted under this category of “What would you tell your younger self?” This thought for me is constantly changing. It is usually shaped by whatever I am going through at the time or certain things I have observed. My life experiences have varied and I have been a witness to happenings that even as little as five years ago I could have never imagined. Therefore, let me say that by no means is this all of the advice I could give to my younger self, but it is what I feel I can share today. I hope that through this blog and through what I have written below, you can find comfort, similarity in your life or that of a friend and feel like you are not alone. I do not think that I live with regrets, but if I was given the chance to change a few things, I think I would. I have faith that I was destined to be wher
e I am today and that I am destined to be wherever I am at the end of my life, so I do not worry that changing things in my past will have affected my end result like some people do. I am happy with where I am and I am so blessed with those in my life. And so I begin with a letter to myself…
You always thought about what it would be like to be 27 years old, but you never could really picture it. You thought you would be married, which you are, and you thought you would have kids, which you don’t. The only person you really pictured yourself as at this age was Barbie, and well…you were a little off, but that’s ok!
There are some things I wish I could have told you, but it’s a little late for that. Instead, I will share these tidbits in the hopes that someone else might feel a connection and take something from what I have to say. But don’t worry Jessie, you are doing just fine and those you love and look up to are still standing by you, 100%.
What I would tell my younger self:
-Everything mom and dad told you was right! I know you have to learn for yourself, but remember that there is a good reason (or two!) that they say the things they do.
-Be happy you don’t look like everyone else. Here are some compliments people will give you about those odd little things you are not sure you appreciate: “I love that you have these moles (pointing to my shoulder, chest and upper lip). I like them.” (friend in high school); “You have the best neck.” (husband); “You remind me of a young Ingrid Bergman. You have the same sparkle in your eye.”(shuttle driver in California); “You’re thick in a good way.'” (athlete at school). Some of those compliments may seem silly, but everyone appreciates something different so be you and let people figure out why you’re great on their own.
-Never sell yourself short. In high school, you let school take a back seat to your social life. Frankly, looking back, I think you could’ve had a social life, played sports and still earned straight A’s.
-Don’t let one thing, like having a boyfriend, run your life and forget about everything or everyone else. The first person you date will most likely not be your last!
-Friends always want to be there for you. Let them. Be loyal to them and never say anything about someone behind their back that you wouldn’t feel comfortable saying to their face.
-Be kind. Always. Remember how it hurts when others tease you. Don’t take for granted that you have supports – seek out lonely people and befriend them.
-Drinking can be fun, but so can not drinking. Know your limit so that you stay true to yourself…and thank God facebook and twitter did not exist when you were in middle and high school.
-Do not dress for others to notice you. Dress for yourself. Your skirt does not need to be shorter and your tops do not need to be tighter. The right boys will notice you for you – not how much skin you show.
-Don’t lie to your parents.
-Respect your teachers and your coaches. Even if you don’t agree with everything they say or do, respect them. ***Side note – I never disrespected my parents by yelling at them or belittling them. When I see kids talk back rudely, curse or act condescendingly to their parents (I am talking about good, kind, appropriate parents) it makes me feel sick. Do NOT do that to your mom and dad. It does not make you cool and it will not get you very far in life to treat others like that. You can never replace family so don’t push them away.
-Don’t be afraid to be silly!
-Dance at the school dances.
-Throw “the rules” out the window! If you want to go out with someone, ask them. If you want to dance with someone, ask them. The worst that can happen is they say, “no,” and you move on. Don’t wait around for someone to call you – if you want to talk to them, call them!
-Hug your friends when you see them, and hug them goodbye if you want to. Everyone wants to feel wanted. Show them you’re happy they showed up and that you can’t wait to see them again.
-Tell people what’s on your mind. If you want someone to know how they make you feel, tell them. If you want to tell someone that you are proud of them, tell them! No one can read minds and it feels so good when someone let’s you know something intimate like how you’ve impacted their life.
-Do not live in fear.
-Make decisions that you can be proud of.
-Know that when things don’t go the way you planned, everything will still be ok. You are who you are, and you can do anything.
-Make yourself indispensable in everything you do. Work hard and you will be noticed.
-Don’t doubt yourself and always trust your gut feeling.
-Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
-Don’t forget that you are loved.