Last week, I was at a church event and got to talk to a childhood friend that I haven’t spoken to in over 10 years. Both of us — now mothers — talked about our kids and our hobbies, our husbands, our jobs, what we’ve been doing over the past decade… And then, we talked about the people we were before. We were so amazed at how we’ve both changed and matured. It was such a sweet conversation reflecting on our past and exploring how much motherhood has turned us into completely different women.
This meetup caused me to reflect a lot on myself this week. I’ve been thinking a lot about the decisions I’ve made and the views I once had, who my friends were and who they are now… I’ve realized that I am not even close to the same person I used to be. I almost wish I could go back and re-meet everyone I once knew, just so they could meet the “new me.” I know this isn’t possible, although I wish it were. There’s so much I’d like to say and do to show people how I’ve changed. Not that I was a terrible person, but that person isn’t me anymore.
So, while I can’t quite go back in time and change who I was — not that I’d want to — I CAN write a letter to my old self.
Dear high school me,
It’s you! A much cooler and more mature you…well…maybe that’s a bit embellished, but a much more comfortable and confident you, that’s for sure. There are a few things I want to talk to you about before you enter into the “real world,” so listen up.
You’re not as smart as you think you are. You’re not as perfect, either. Actually, you can be quite judgmental at times. Which is odd, considering how self-conscious you can be. Take a moment to look at the people around you and see that they’re people. REAL people. And just because they aren’t like you, doesn’t mean they’re wrong or scary. Give them grace and show them love. Don’t criticize them for the decisions they make; you’re going to make some decisions and take some actions that you never thought you would. And that’s ok. There’s going to come a time when you will have to swallow your pride, admit you were wrong, and change your mind.
While you’re at it, show yourself some grace, too. You don’t need to place your value and worth in what others see in you and say about you. Your worth comes from who created you, not the opinion of others. Stop looking for approval in finding a boyfriend, making the best grades, or having the most friends you can; half of them won’t be around in the next 10 years, anyways. You’ll find out who your true friends are when you start to see value in yourself. Your real friends will be there for that discovery, supporting and encouraging you as you grow. And don’t worry about the boyfriend thing; wait for the one that checks all the check marks; he exists and he is perfect. Don’t settle. Know your worth.
You’re going to experience some things you didn’t think would ever happen to you. Miscarriage, loss of some precious family, depression, anxiety, and quitting your dream job to be with the cutest tiny little humans that ever existed. Sometimes it will seem like more than you can bear. Sometimes it gets so overwhelming that you don’t see how you’ve made it this far or if you can keep going, but remember who is in control. You’ll find so much more strength, comfort, and confidence when you embrace your faith for your own, not something you were raised believing.
For a while after becoming a mother, you’re going to look around and not recognize the person you are or the life you’re living. It will seem like someone plucked you out of one book and dropped you in another. You will feel alone sometimes, like you’ve lost yourself. But then something beautiful will happen: you’ll find the new you. The you that you became when you were busy living life. The best part about losing yourself in motherhood is finding out who you really are.
I wanted to write to you to let you know it’s all ok, it works out. There are so many amazing things that are going to happen to you. I know sometimes change is uncomfortable. I mean, I remember when you used to cry as a child because you knew that one day people you knew would die. You’ll even cry the night before your wedding because you “won’t live with your best friends (mom and dad) anymore.” The unknown and the inevitable changes of life have always been scary for you, but I promise the change is worth it.
Just a little sneak peak to let you know how “worth it” it really is: you’re going to have the life you never knew you wanted. Giving up your career to raise two beautiful kids, spending the rest of your life with your best friend, and even selling your house in the city to homestead on the mountain. I know, crazy right? The girl that used to get her nails done and shopped every weekend is now processing her own chickens and blowing up volcanoes in the yard with two wild babies. It seems wild, but it’s truly beyond your wildest dreams.