Dear high school me,
Hey there! It’s me..er..you – from 10 years in the future. That’s right, my 10 year high school reunion is happening this year. In a few months actually. Do I feel old? Some days…but really only when I think of how close 28 is to 30. Thirty years old still seems pretty old to me, but we have a few years till we cross that bridge.
A LOT has changed in 10 years. Pretty much everything actually. The whole world looks a lot different from age 18 to age 28. We have a husband (he is pretty awesome, I don’t even know how he puts up with me), and three beautiful children (like you don’t even understand how amazing they are), we have owned a house and sold it, we have so many bills (bills suck), you own a business (yea its as strange as it sounds), dad passed away (it’s still rough to deal with 5 years later), you gain a bunch of weight, you barely get to read anymore, you are vegan (that means you don’t eat meat or dairy…yea, you are still overweight so cut back on the sweets), you started two blogs, your most important relationship (with God) is a lot stronger than you could even imagine, and some pretty awesome things happened after you gave all the mess to Him.
Life looks very different, and priorities have changed tremendously. To be honest I feel like a completely different person…still pretty flawed, but better in a lot of ways. God put together a lot of broken pieces to make this person I am today.
I’m writing you because I have the honor of working with some pretty amazing high school seniors with this business that I mentioned before, and with my reunion coming up, I started thinking about all that has changed in 10 years and wondered what I would tell the 18 year old me to help her prepare for this next phase of life. This is what I came up with:
- School may not always be fun, but enjoy it. Learn all that you can while you can do so without other distractions. Later you will have a job, or eventually a spouse and kiddos, and its a lot harder to focus on learning new things while juggling other responsibilities.
- Make good friends, be silly, laugh, and encourage each other.
- Participate in activities – but don’t put too much on your plate. Make time for fun and rest. You will have plenty of stress come your way later down the road, don’t pile it on while you don’t have to.
- Don’t wrap your emotions around a boy. Don’t do things you know in your heart you shouldn’t. If your relationship isn’t bringing you closer to God, then he isn’t “the one.”
- Anticipate change. Welcome it and adapt.
- God loves you in your ugly, broken and confused…and He is right there waiting for you. But don’t confuse His waiting with His acceptance of what you do in the meantime.
- Be kind to your parents. They tell you ‘no’ sometimes, but its because they love you and see a bigger picture. Being a parent is rough and if they are mean and fuss a lot, they probably need a hug.
- Practice good money habits now while you don’t have bills to pay. Bills are no joke, and once you get them you will be paying them for pretty much every day after. Learn to save money and say no to loans. The Bible teaches us “the buyer is slave to the lender” and its true. Slavery is real and it is thriving under the alias of ‘student loans’. Save money, do good in school so you get scholarships (money you don’t have to pay back), work on campus – some organizations will pay your tuition per semester if you hold a high position (president or vice president). If you do get loans only use what you need – they give you way more than you need per semester!
- Pay attention to what is going on in the world. People are making uneducated decisions that will probably affect you one day, if they don’t already – so be aware of what is going on as best you can.
- Look up and get out. There is such a beautiful world outside…go soak it up.
- Do your chores and find some kind of joy in there somehow because you will have to do chores forever (and if you have kids – multiply your chores by 100).
- Make healthy choices. Take care of yourself – your future self will thank you for making healthy habits.
I won’t lie, being a grown up is hard. You have to make hard decisions, and since I am a mom I have to make them pretty often. Life at 28 is way different than when I was 18, but I’m thankful to be here. I’m thankful that the Lord loved me enough to pick me up when I made bad choices and teach me how to make better ones. I’m thankful that although I never in a million years could see myself owning a business with my husband, the Lord lined up our lives to cross paths with some pretty amazing folks that we get to celebrate life with. High school me, you have a lot to learn. I wish I could come hold your hand and tell you which parts to dodge and which parts to turn immediately away from…but I can’t go back. I can only look at the now, adapt, and pray for the future. God is with us, that’s the most important part. And because He is here – I’m positive we have some more pretty awesome adventures to look forward to.
Your future self