This morning I read the most fascinating blog by Amy Jo Martin titled “A Letter to My Younger Self” After reading her entry, it made me think of what I would tell my younger self, and so .. here I am .. writing a letter to my younger self.
Dear Young Heather Isabel,
As I write this letter – I can’t begin to tell you what an interesting future you have to look forward to. So, I’m hoping that my advice now will help you navigate and understand why things happen the way they do – everything really does happens for a reason – you will learn this (probably closer to your mid-twenties) but I’ve thought about it all day, pondering experiences yet to come, feelings & emotions that have led my heart to so much more. And, so – these are my words to you, Young Heather.
Don’t ever get too comfortable with your surroundings. You’ll live in many different houses, attend quite a few schools and meet all sorts of new friends. You’ll get used to being the “new girl” – and being stared at, whispered about, because you are the “new girl” – and you’ll grow accustom to this. And, as soon as you’ve finally started to fit in, it will be time to move again. Don’t be too shy or care about what those mean girls say … because years from now – those same girls will have a fate of their own, and you’ll outshine each and every one of them.
You’ll make many lasting friendships throughout Junior High / High School and you’ll even succeed in keeping them – leaving some of these friends behind will seem so devastating, but just know that you will be reunited with some of these friends – most likely when you are an adult, but you’ll have such a close bond with them, time won’t matter – you will pick up right where you left off and reminisce about those crazy slumber parties and watching reruns of 90210, getting ready for dances, prank phone calls and endless games of “Truth or Dare” and talking all about … BOYS!
Speaking of boys — You do have a few crushes as a teen.. although, your family tends to move in the most remote, rural areas .. the selection is pretty minimal especially since you are definitely NOT into Wranglers, Ropers or COWBOYS… but, don’t worry – there is always “one” you are smitten for – you’ll have the most amazing dance .. to one of the longest slow songs ever “Wind of Change” .. You’ll fall hard for a blonde hair / blue eyed boy who lives clear across the country (Well, Texas) – You’ll think (even at 16) “He is the one..because he said that he loves me” – but, he’s not “the one” Don’t get discouraged – you have plenty of time to find your Prince Charming – but it won’t happen until you have all the pieces to your puzzle.
There will be lots of times where you will feel absolutely alone.. because even though you are not being neglected, you have a roof over your head, parents & siblings.. you will still always feel like there is a part of you missing. There will be many nights, you’ll spend by yourself, looking at the stars .. asking questions you don’t have answers to. Don’t stop asking those questions. You might feel alone right now, but there are so many friends / relatives that you have yet to meet – who love you & haven’t forgotten about you.
Your 20’s are filled with many trial & errors… along with quite a few “firsts” – your very first serious boyfriend.. 2 years will seem like such precious time lost (when it doesn’t work out) but, you will learn what not to look for in the next relationship. You’ll also finally get those braces & a $3,000 smile and even a drivers license, your first car (a 1990’s Honda Civic)… all of which were a long time coming! You’ll have choices to make .. choices that often come with ultimatums. Be true to yourself, and when you meet your father – consider everyone who will be affected by this decision, but more importantly – be true to yourself. You’ve waited your whole life to meet him, and you deserve this – this is the last piece of your puzzle you’ve been missing. And when you see your Uncle Tim, give him a big hug for me – make sure and really get to know him – cherish those visits with him and your dad together. Don’t forget about the few times you’ve spent with him, visits at his house – because your time with him will be short and end quite abruptly. I wish–I wish I would have known more about my Uncle, who he was – his smile could light up any room and his laugh was contagious.. I never knew about the pain he suffered and the hard life he quietly lived.. January 2nd will never be the same for me again.. so enjoy the time you have with this guy, your Uncle Tim.
Although you would love to live in a world that is black & white… because that is how you operate best and there is no grey, it’s not always that simple, and sometimes – there is grey – the parts of life that just don’t have easy answers. Don’t be hasty or quick to judge – stop and think about how you’ll respond before acting out of anger, sadness, or any other emotion…because, words can hurt .. and once they are said – you can’t take them back. These hurtful words, they won’t be forgotten..in fact, there will be some days that you’ll be reminded of those times you felt so small..you’ll remember the screaming and the yelling..and the hurtful words that were inflicted on you…and in that moment, you’ll take every single word to heart…you’ll blame yourself for the decisions others have made, you’ll feel responsible for broken relationships. When you find yourself at that point – just know that (truly) this isn’t how your story ends…and sometimes your world must fall apart before it can be put back together. But, learn from these experiences – No, the world is not always black & white and sometimes there is more “grey” than you’d like to acknowledge. It’s okay, because if you just breathe, step away from the situation at hand, and remember that He has a plan for your life, He always has.. you’ll figure it out, and all the pieces will come together in God’s time.
There are many experiences that you’ll try to shy away from – mostly out of fear. Please, don’t be afraid to travel…outside of the United States..you won’t visit Europe until your in your 30’s – but once you do -you’ll immediately have the Travel Bug, and you’ll continue to look forward to your next adventure. Don’t be afraid to try new foods..and Chinese & Mexican food don’t count! You’ll move to Seattle for awhile, and you’ll get schooled by your 3 year cousin Isabel as she requests Indian food for her Birthday Dinner.. and you (at age 25) have no idea what that even entails! Don’t be afraid to get lost – you are actually very good at this (but it scares you to death) and inherently “directionally challenged” But, don’t worry – a nice little device called the GPS will do it’s best to help you find your way. Don’t be afraid to try new things -go back to school, learn how to ski or snowboard (you’ll like skiing more!), try out a few different careers until you finally find the right one, try anything that is out of your comfort zone – because that is what helps build confidence. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes .. we are all human and we are not perfect. You are your worst critic at times, and you WILL learn from these mistakes, you’ll come out a much stronger and wiser person from these lessons learned.
Most importantly – Don’t be afraid to (really) fall in love.. fall in love with the places you visit, the people you meet, the many sunsets and sunrises, the first sight of falling snow, and the last leaf that turns gold.. and when you spot that empty aisle seat while walking onto the Crimson Rooter Bus, don’t even hesitate – just sit next to him.. because that 2 hour drive to Seattle will change the course of your life and you will really fall in love.. this is where your story begins.. you don’t know this yet, but you’ve just met the man of your dreams – the man you’ll marry, the man you’ll spend the rest of your life with.
It’s a good life and all that you’ll endure .. the good .. the bad .. the uncertain.. it will be worth it in the end – I promise. Your future is bright and I believe in you – so don’t give up on yourself just yet.