Over the last little bit, I have found myself doing a lot of reflection on my life and the things that have happened to me throughout it. As another birthday comes on the horizon, I cannot fathom that I am old enough to be thinking about kids, to have a career or to be in a relationship that is almost 15 years long. So, I got thinking about what I wish I knew when I needed it and how much I have learned and grown since I was a teenager. What would I tell myself when I was younger and not as wise? Well, I would tell her this.
I write you this letter as you come upon your 19th birthday and start to develop what it is you want to do with your life. This is a big year for you. You are going into your second year of university, dating a man who is just joining the military and living on your own for the first time in your life. You are developing your desire for lifelong learning and building relationships with people who are going to be in your life for years to come. Enjoy this time. You are young, energetic, sexy, fun, and ready to take on the world. The fiery personality that you have right now is going to be needed in the next decade as you stand at the precipice of a lot of changes. I am writing to you at this point in your life because I want you to remember this feeling right now. Remember what is means to be young, in love and wanting to change the world. You are going to do things that may not change the whole world but will impact most of the people who meet you.
The most important thing that I need you to know as you move into your young adulthood is that life is unexpected and scary, but man does it have some good parts. Your desire for control and need to plan everything may work against you because your life is not going to go even remotely to your plan. This is not a bad thing. It will feel like a bad thing as it is happening but remember that when you let go of your plans, surprising and delightful things will have room to happen. Events happening in your life right now are going to set the stage for some turbulent and severe times and I want you to be mentally prepared. It is going to be hard to manage when you are going through it but trust me when I say that you will be better for it in the end.
God and life are going to throw things your way that are unimaginable and that will test your understanding and your patience of humanity and all that it entails. It is going to feel like things are hitting you from all angles and you will be at a loss as to how to cope with them. Yet, even through all the heartache that is heading your way, it is going to show you a deeper level of your own strength, resiliency, and courage. You will be able to take all the emotional pain, fear and upheaval and use it to completely change the path you have in life. You are going to learn to love deeper, hold on to stronger relationships and develop a sense of forgiveness that is unmatched. You will be become a healthier daughter, sister, wife, and friend.
Most important of all, you will have a wealth of knowledge that the people in your life will rely on to help them navigate the hard times in their lives as well. Your choice in career is going to switch drastically and you will spend your days working with people who society tends to ignore or judge harshly. These daily interactions are going to not only challenge you but also give you a sense of satisfaction and restore some of your faith in the world. You will treat all the people you meet with a level of respect and dignity that you wish you had gotten when it was needed.
You are a fighter. You are a force. You are a powerfully loyal woman who will protect those she loves with a fierceness that is insane. Be proud. Be proud of the woman you are now, and the woman you are going to be. I am.
Maybe I will reconnect with my past self again in another 15 years when I am again older and wiser….
“I’m not telling you it is going to be easy. I am telling you it is going to be worth it.”– Art Williams