I have just recently joined the 30's club and am feeling nostalgic (mixed with some hormones) for times and events of my past. I decided instead of writing a typical post about what it feels like to turn 30, I would write a letter. If I could write a letter my 15 year old self would receive, it would go a little something like this:
I am writing you today as I turn 30 years old and want to share a few things I've learned thus far. Looking back on experiences and what my life has measured up to, there are just a couple of things I would point out and maybe scream out as loud as I can in a letter.
High school is something that you'll never forget and will bring experiences that begin to build your credentials for a future career. Although interests and tastes change over time, true passion never fades. When you begin to express yourself through fashion and style, hold on to that, and understand it is an art form to emphasize. It may not seem like it now but it becomes a huge part of your life, career, and passion. Don't overlook how minuscule you think it is. Express yourself kindly, and tastefully and you will have a bright future. Two more things to remember in high school, your first double date with Morgan will be one you will remember the rest of your life. That waitress accidentally drenching him in Coke will be a story you can't wait to tell your children. Also, wear those white washed, torn AE denim jeans a lot more than just that first date because they're Morgan's favorite. :)
When you get to college and are so strong willed that you have two jobs and maintain your grades, save that money rather than spending like there's no tomorrow. You work hard, study hard, and you will graduate. There will be so many parties, dinners, and late nights, but all of that can still be experienced without spending all of your money on a new wardrobe every time. You do not need a different outfit every single day. Learn the importance of thriftiness as early as you can so your clothes and fashions last longer and you have all your money to save. You think you have bills now, just wait until you are 30! Create a nest egg that you do not touch, because down the road there will be unforeseen expenses that are more stressful than they really should have been. While you're in college, find a focus and study something you truly love that inspires you and explore that as much as you can while you have the resources. Not like when you are older the resources disappear, but in college you are on a path that builds your future and this is the time to explore deeper into personal passions.
Start turning your journals into a blog as early as you can. Let your voice be heard because you never know who is listening, reading, and who could relate to exactly what you had to share. Truly connecting with people is a priceless commodity. Be genuinely you, and not afraid of what others may think. I know putting yourself out there can be scary, but the reward of finding networks of people who love what you have to say is life changing.
Don't let social media rule your time and attention. Let it be an extra to your day, or a stop for your newest post. Do not dwell on what you don't have compared to other images you see on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest. At the end of the day they're just images, staged, perfectly lit, and choreographed. Don't try to be the "perfection" you think you see. Too much time is spent dwelling on what you want to look like, do, or be. God has a plan for you and your gifts in this world. Be your own "perfection." Of course I say that knowing that no one is perfect, but God's plan for you was laid out a long time ago, so know now that you are special and your perfection will show in time. Spend time on experiences and create your own social encounters. Become your own version of that beautiful Pinterest picture that inspired you and create more of your own. Go after that solo you've always wanted instead of living in fear of peer rejection. Nothing is more honorable than courage in a vulnerable situation. So start doing while you are young. Social media will always be there, but your health, that mountain you want to climb, or that beach you've always wanted to visit may not.
Moving back to your hometown is not the end of the world. Little do you know now but many of your friends live there, even your bestie! You reconnect with family, and get to watch your nieces and nephew group up because you are right down the street. You will also be led to an amazing church family that will bring you and Morgan closer than ever, and make you feel happier then you have felt in a very long time. Invest more time in the Bible Grandma and Grandpa Hines will give you when you go to college. Don't stop reading it after you open it for the first time at the end of your first semester in college. Spend more time reading your bible and getting a better understanding of why you believe Christ is your Savior. You open it because you are feeling down and a little lost, and reading it on your own at that time may not feel fulfilling, but truly invest time in understanding why it is so important and how God wants it to move you. I am learning a lot now, but wish I was further along in my general knowledge of the Bible. There's no time like the present to become closer to God.
Now that I am 30 and moving on to a new chapter in my life, motherhood, I can feel myself changing in many ways, with new perspective and aspirations. Passions are still the same, but I am finally not afraid to go out and grab them. I am vowing to continue this stage in my life in that manner. To know what it is I want and create the passage way to achieve those goals if that is where God leads me. I will not let ideas remain fleeting thoughts anymore. I will be having a baby girl very soon and I want to teach her how to not be afraid and have faith that things will work out the way they were meant to. I am learning that fact a little later than I wished but from now on I will no longer let that fear stop me from climbing the completely achievable mountains I've always convinced myself I could never climb.
So that's it. Those are my words of wisdom. Everything else will fall into place as it should and you will come out very happy, no matter how lost you feel at times along the way. Remember, Mom is always there for you, she kinda becomes like your best friend and semi business partner. She has A LOT of wisdom you roll your eyes at now that you'll be repeating 15 years later. Just remember, be kind to everyone, be obedient to God, and do not be afraid, and you will be okay.