Today’s NaBloPoMo writing prompt is a nice ‘meaty’ and practical question (in my opinion). If I could go back in time and meet my sixteen year old self, what three things would I tell myself?
Well, first of all, there would certainly be more than 3 things to tell myself, but having lived a great deal of my life, made many mistakes, and then to go back and be able to give warning and advice would be awesome….(hey, isn’t this kind of like wishing too??) …..BUT, the problem is, I would be a sixteen year old kid and would not listen, right? Anyway….
At 16, I had been uprooted from the only life I knew growing up in suburban New Jersey. My parents had just divorced and Mom moved us to Florida to be closer to her parents. I experienced a great deal of culture shock but was basically the same person from New Jersey to Florida….one very lost little girl. I had no dreams, no hopes or goals. I just drifted along and what went on in my life came from the relations I had at school and that was not anything to write home about. I didn’t have any academic aspirations other than making it into the next grade. Maybe one of the things I might tell myself is to stay in school and plan for a career or further education, but….I was scared of doing anything like that. I could not even go and register for school without my big sister holding my hand. I had low grades for reasons that had nothing to do with my capabilities. I often think back on these times and wonder how my life would have been different if I had pursued academics more rigorously, but you know, everything in my life unfolded just the way it was meant to be. I was destined to learn in the school of hard knocks. So the first thing I would tell myself is….you are going to learn things the hard way, but you’re going to make it!!
The second thing that came to mind was all the times I was seeking love and affection from the wrong people for the wrong reasons. How do you tell a sixteen year old girl, who experienced constant rejection from two of the most beloved males in her life, that she is worth so much more than what she has to offer to a mirror or a boy friend? This is where it gets really ugly for me. Let’s just say I don’t want to blame anyone for the hard knocks I had to take before I met my beloved husband. Had I not been thrown away like a piece of trash over and over before Chuck came along, I never would have known what a wonderful blessing he is in my life. So I guess the second thing I might tell myself is that I am going to be loved by a wonderful man.
The third thing I would tell myself is that each child I give birth to is a gift from God. Many times, as a mother of 8 children, I have struggled with thoughts of overwhelming depression when I think of the responsibility of raising so many little replicas of me. In my humanity, the mistakes, the character flaws, the sin nature; all of these things perfectly mirrored in 8 of ME walking around. It is a sobering thought to bring a life into the world. I learned early on what an awesome task it is to teach and mold a child. But I also learned that they don’t always do exactly what you want or intend for them to do and….sometimes….they even do better. So I might tell myself, no matter what you are thinking or feeling concerning your children, they are a gift from God, on loan to teach you about yourself.
1. You are going to make it through by learning the hard way-
2. You are going to be loved by a wonderful man-
3. Your God-given children are to teach you about yourself-
These are the three things that may have helped me just a little. I would not change my course or try to warn myself to do things differently. Hey, I was sixteen and would not have listened anyway, right? I believe everything in my life has happened just the way it was supposed to, no regrets and thankful for so many blessings along the way mixed in with the trials and tribulations. Life is good but God is better.