Dear Heather Ann,
Let me introduce myself, I am you in 20 years. I hope you don’t find this too forward of me but I am heading home tomorrow and started thinking about you, my 16 year old self, and I felt compelled to write.
This weekend I will sleep at the Conwell’s (yes, your friendship with Chrissy survives and thrives into the adult years) and I will take a well-earned trip down memory lane with my daughters (you will be glad to know you finally got those sisters you always wanted, you end up with three daughters).
It struck me today that there are some things I wish I would have known back then; I wish I could have told you.
Now is my chance, so bear with this middle-aged women for a moment as she shares with you some well-earned advice.
1. You are strong. Just because you didn’t make the cheerleading squad freshman year does not make you weak. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Spend more time believing in your abilities and you will find what you need.
2. I know you desperately want a boyfriend. Boys are great. You will find many to love and be loved by over the years. Choose wisely and be patient. The right ones will come, don’t manufacture them in your own head and settle.
3. Spend more time with your parents. Ask your Dad to write down his words.
4. You have a great group of friends. Know they love you and will be by your side for years and years to come.
5. That semester abroad you will take- stay the year. Life in the states will be here when you get back but you may never have the chance to travel like this again.
6. Stand up for yourself. Spend less time trying to please others and more time allowing your voice to be heard.
7. Really, don’t drink in high school. No good can come of it (Mr. Conwell probably has some idea you all are stealing swigs of the hard liquor he keeps in the garage).
8. You are beautiful. You may not think your bangs are high enough or your legs look good in those new Guess jeans (which by the way are so not worth the $80 you made your parents spend on them), but you are stunningly beautiful. It will take you years to understand that.
One final piece of advice, spend less time wishing away these days and making plans to “escape”.
You will leave home.
You will spend years chasing down dreams in other cities.
But, one day you will long to come home again.
You will want to share this place. You will need your new family to understand how it shaped you.
So soak up your home. Enjoy all that is has to offer and don’t wish these years away….