When Cara asked me to write this post, she said the prompt was simple: “Think back to a time in your life when you wish you could have had the perspective you have now. What would you say to yourself?” Simple? Ha! That’s the type of essay question they use to weed out college applicants.
I went round and round trying to decide which former self would benefit most from a little perspective. I thought of the words of warning I could share, the advice I wish I would have heeded. Each “me” was so very needy in her own right that I may have enough material for my first book.
Here are a few highlights:
Sometimes when you tell a hard truth it feels like you’re screaming but it’s actually a whisper. Speak up.
Wear sunscreen. Sure, the tan looks cute now but wrinkles most definitely do not.
Go to counseling. If you think you’ve got it all sorted out, make another appointment.
Those things that come so naturally that you don’t have to work at them? They’re gifts. Work harder at those than anything else.
The Bible. Read it. Over and over and over again.
All things I wish I had known or done long ago. But here’s the truth about those pearls of wisdom: I wouldn’t have listened to them. (And I don’t only say that because Back to the Future is my favorite movie and I know that people start fading out of photos when you wear your Calvin Klein’s into the past.) It’s just that the girl I wish I could speak to was so focused on surviving, she wouldn’t have time to listen to yet another old lady’s advice.
So if given the chance to sit face to face with those younger selves, I’ve settled on this:
I would hug each one tight and say, “Slap on some sunscreen and get going. You can’t imagine how much joy is waiting for you.”
Living on your own. Road trips with your best friend. Falling in love. Cramming for exams. Seeing him on bended knee. A salaried paycheck. For better. For worse. Buying a house. Selling a home. The silence of a mountaintop and the roar of ocean waves. Community. Lullabies with only the moon as witness. Tiny feet running across hardwood floors. Forgiving. Forgetting. Texas, Virginia, Hawaii, California, Oregon, Colorado, Florida, Alabama, and Vermont.
“So much joy is waiting.”
A simple mantra. A reason to hope. Deep down in my heart of hearts, that’s all I needed back then and still all I want right now. To be assured that there is always more beauty to behold, more blessings to count.
The mercies really are new every morning. All you have to do is greet them.
You never know who is going to marry into your family. It usually turns out to be a good deal for everyone, but sometimes, it turns out to be an especially good deal. Sometimes, it means you become related to someone you admire, even adore. That's how I felt when Jeannie married my cousin. She's pretty amazing and today she is contributing a handful of meaningful words to our little series on perspective. Thank you Jeannie!