Dear Teenage Self:
First, the essentials: Please stop trying to tan. It’s not working. At all. But one day you are going to turn thirty and the area around your eyes is going to resent every ill-fated attempt. Oh and take heart, straighteners are about to get BIG. This will change your life.
And some encouragement: that feeling of constant awkwardness…wrong shaped body, overuse of big words, a lot of that goes away. Some of it never does. But you’ll learn to embrace it. Oh, and this Swing Dancing Craze that’s all over the place right now? It will pass. And no, you will never be good at it. But that’s okay, sometimes wisdom is knowing which trends to wait out…
You have a lot of answers right now. This will change. One day, it will feel more natural to sit with a grieving friend in silence than to offer the right words.
You will learn this. It will take a while, but you will learn.
Soon your faith will become a struggle and you will fight waves of violent disappointment…Your faith is still a struggle, but it’s not disappointing any more, it’s alive.
Teenage Self, You are kind of a jerk to the people who love you most. This will be a lifelong affliction. Be aware of it. Get over yourself.
You know that sense you have every once in a while that you have the GREATEST FRIENDS? You were right. And they are still your friends. You even married one of them. Be a great friend. Get over yourself.
You always wanted to grow up fast. Don’t rush it. You will get there. Along the way, you will make messes, and have regrets. You will leave issues unresolved and be constantly distracted by a terminal case of selfishness.
Oh and you aren’t really going to get much better at driving.
But you know the truth of it, Teenage Self? Sometimes I miss you.
Sure, your theology was narrow, and your opinions slightly askew.
But I miss your passion and your earnestness. I miss your desire to change the world and your belief that everyday you were.
I miss the way you saw constant opportunity – to do good, to love hard, to spend yourself.
You were innocent, and idealistic, at times dogmatic and definitely too sure. I bet you annoyed some people.
But when I remember you, I worry where I deviated from BIG and BEYOND to there’s never enough…enough time, enough relational energy, enough courage, enough faith.
Probably somewhere around the time I began having to purchase new ovens, pay for four kinds of insurance, and live through disappointment.
But you, Oh Teenage Self, sought abundance, believed abundance, received abundance.
You thought anything was possible.
And for that…I might even trade my straightened hair.
Emily over at Chatting at the Sky started this series to celebrate the release of her new book, Graceful. I will be linking my letter up with the others tomorrow, Sept.14, so it’s not too late to join in!
Coming Monday…Jessica Smith Jewelry Giveway! Check back for details…