Recently I was catching up with another mom while we were waiting on our kiddos about life and chatting about things we were living through with each of our families. I mentioned that someone at work had said they wished they were in their 20’s again. I shared that I had absolutely no desire to be 20 again! We laughed about how we had much different perspectives as middle age rock stars than we did in our 20’s and it really got my mind thinking about what I would tell 20-year-old me. I thought I’d jot some of that down, because it seemed really relevant to where I am now and the prices I’ve paid for inexperience.
Dear 20-Year-Old Me,
Hey beautiful! This is your moment. Seize it, study hard, listen well. Take that extra drive to see your grandparents. They won’t be here long, and you’ll spend the rest of your days hearing them in your head. Grasp every ounce of knowledge before it slips away. Watch black and white movies and eat the green vegetables and take the extra earring out of your ear when you visit. Just let them wash over you and be attentive.
Those girls that you eat pizza with, cry over guys, and drive over an hour for a cup of coffee with are your people. Twenty years from now your heart will still leap when they text and you would still walk through water to be at their side. Let the little things go. Love anyway. Forgive each other immaturities. For real, I know how this turns out, they are your ride or dies.
Wash your face, and take care of your skin. Listen when someone says drink more water and stop celebrating your extra five dollars with a run through the drive thru. It’s really not worth it, trust me!
Dance like nobody is watching. Do yourself a favor. Try out for the play, sing with the group, spend 20 more minutes on piano lessons because you will wish you had when the busyness of life sucks your creativity dry. Wear the quirky outfit and smile when they stare. Enjoy who you are, because it is beautiful and you will battle to keep from being stifled until you explode.
Don’t worry about what your peers think. Do not steer your ship based on the preconceived notions of others. Gain wisdom from what you observe and listen to the experiences of your elders. Do not allow yourself to give up anything as simple as a pair of earrings or as imperative as chasing your dreams based on what others decide makes you fit in. While we are talking about fitting in, please stop. There is nothing to gain from being a total conformist other than the dull gray safety of a predefined normal established by people you will soon enough realize don’t really care.
Listen to your heart, use your mind, and pray without ceasing. Study what is going on around you and see how you can make it better. Love without abandon, my sweet. You are going to get hurt and you will be scared but you will get strong and you will find the most amazing people if your eyes are closed and your heart is open. Stop judging people by the color of their skin, the size of their bank account, or their level of acceptance with others. Love as Christ did with genuine passion, honesty and integrity.
Take a walk before you respond. You are going to get some great advice but here is sneak peak. Write it down, leave it 24 hours. If you are still upset then respond. Most of the time you’ll forget to even look. Be honest with yourself about what is your perspective and what is truth. They differ sometimes and you are not good at distinguishing fact from your heart when you’re emotional. Most of the time, you just need to let it go.
Someday your little sister will be your best friend and hold your whole heart. I promise, it’s true. She is wearing you out right now but someday you’ll long to talk to her more. Love her where she is. Your time is coming. You guys will cherish each other’s children and one another soon enough.
Most of all spend more time in prayer and don’t let blood drive your choices. Choose your path based on the belief and faith you hold dear. Forgive yourself a little, grace is for everyone. Whatever you do stop chasing normal. It’s overrated!
Love you forever,
Middle Aged You