Last week, my husband and I visited our alma mater. We buckled our two children in the backseat for our “road trip” and set off on the 45-minute drive. We drove through the city and cruised up and down the busy college streets, musing about what had changed. We stared out the windows, me snapping pictures of the renovated campus and both of us pointing out landmarks and places where we used to live when I was my younger self. Suddenly it dawned on me that it was ten years ago that I graduated from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. Wow. How could it have been a decade since I strolled the streets of campus and went down fraternity row? I reflected on the last decade of my life, and there are a lot of things I’ve learned. This is what I would like to tell my younger self:
10 Things My Younger Self Should Know
You’ll still talk to your very closest friends.
Yes, it’ll be different than it is now; most of your friends will live hours from you, some even several states away. You won’t have much time to talk on the phone between jobs, children and other obligations. But luckily, you’ll keep in contact with those you are close with because you’ll make it a priority. High school and college are different – you get to live within a few miles of most of your closest friends. Right now, enjoy your evenings out dancing, having drinks, going to the movies and watching TV on the couch with your friends. Rest assured, ten years from now, it’ll be very different, but your closest friends will still be there for you even if they are miles away. That’s one of many things to love about life: gal pals.
|Spending a fun evening out with
two of my best friends.
You will easily be able to keep up with friends, even those that you have grown apart from.
You see, you’ll keep up with your friends and family on this online social networking site called Facebook. It’s genius, really. This guy named Mark Zuckerberg will invent it soon. It is a neat way to stay connected with a lot of people all over the world and a place where you can share your pictures and keep up with your friends, near and far.
You’ll marry a pretty amazing man.
That blurred face you see in your head when you imagine your wedding day will be a handsome one. The guy who will become your husband has a great smile, likes to make you laugh, and does what he can to always make sure you are happy. He’ll be a great dad, too.
Yes, you’ll have kids – and you’ll be a wonderful mom.
Pregnancy was made for you. While that may seem surreal now, it’s the truth. You will love feeling your little ones move inside of you. You will be one of the lucky ones who can bask in the miracle that is pregnancy.
The children you can’t envision but know you want someday will be everything
you have dreamed of, and more.
Your little boy, he will be strong willed. He’ll be a great big brother. He’ll have a love for airplanes and hot air balloons. He will have huge brown eyes and eye lashes that go on for days. He will make you proud. You’ll have a little lady, too. She’ll be a mama’s girl, sharp as a tack, stubborn just like her brother. They get that from you. She won’t have the blue eyes you thought your little girl would have, or the blond hair. She’ll look just like her daddy, though — chocolate brown eyes, dark skin and lovely. Those children will make you laugh every day. They will both make you feel like the most special person in the world. They will remind you what it’s like to live life through the eyes of children.
Quit worrying about your career.
Of course you want to be successful. You’ll work a few jobs that introduce you to great friends and experiences. But you’ll get your wish: you’ll be a mother, and get to stay home with your kids while working some side jobs that you enjoy. When the time comes for you to return to the workforce, something perfect will work out for you. Don’t stress.
You will miss your hometown.
Of course you were excited to move away and go to college. You wanted to be grown up. You wanted to be in charge of yourself, instead of having your parents tell you want to do. But Warsaw, the place where you were born and raised, is a pretty cool place. It’s the place that holds memories of tubing on the lakes on those fun summer days, of snowmobiling in the fields by your childhood home, of amazing times and lots of laughs with your best friends to this very day. Visit often. Tell your parents you appreciate them and all they have done for you. Spend time with your grandparents, too. You don’t have much time left with them. You’ll miss them something fierce when they are gone.
You will miss Ball State – a lot!
Good ole Muncie. You’d better believe you’ll miss this college town! Live in the moment. Don’t rush to get away from college so quickly. In ten years, you will look back at your college years and love the memories you have from these carefree days of making new friends and enjoying late nights out. Go ahead and dance on a stage to Outkast and Usher. Have fun. You are only responsible for you right now, and it won’t always be that way.
Don’t be so afraid of rejection.
Life is full of the word “no” and it’s a hard word to hear. I understand. But it is so important to give things a try. Apply for the job that seems out of reach. Tell someone you love them. Try out for a sports team. Don’t sell yourself short. Someday you’ll look back and wish that you had pushed yourself outside of your comfort zone. It’s okay to fail. It’s okay not to be good at everything. BELIEVE in yourself. Take a second to find some ways to increase your confidence; it will take you far in life. After all, if you don’t believe in yourself, who will?
Your life and heart will be more full than you ever could have imagined. Despite your younger self days with fewer responsibilities, little worries and fun with your friends, you’ll be happy in ten years. You just wait and see. No, you won’t eat lunch every day with your friends. No, you won’t spend your Friday nights putting on belly shirts and glitter. However, you will eat lunch next to your toddlers. You will spend your Friday nights playing “restaurant,” then watching movies with your husband once your kids are in bed. You’ll hear those little voices say, “I love you.” It will be grand. Will you miss the old days? Of course you will. But you’ll have the memories in your heart forever. I promise, younger self, in ten years you will know that you’re right where you are supposed to be. Life is funny like that.
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