We all have things we wish we could take back.
Every single one of us.
Even those who (like me!) say “I have no regrets”.
You may not think you regret any huge, monumental decision you made,
but there are tiny, seemingly insignificant moments, that, when thinking back over,
maybe even tens of years later, you think “Goodness, I wish I hadn’t said those words, in that tone.
It’s not a huge regret, but it is a moment you wish you could undo.
We are twelve+ years in since losing my sweet dad, who passed away (from cancer, in 2010) and, as always in the month of May, I find myself thinking about him, how he lived his life, the impact he made, and still continues to make, on so many people.
I hope to leave the same positive impact, when my time on earth is over. I’m sure there are people, somewhere, who didn’t adore my dad, but truly, in all my life, the only people I was ever aware of not liking him, were people who tried to take short cuts,or do things not entirely above board.
My dad would not stand for anything like that and would tell you so in a heartbeat.
The past couple weeks, I have been thinking a lot about several “kids” I know, and have watched grow up from birth, who are graduating high school, and about to begin their life as an “adult”.
These are kids who had (many of them!) dirty diapers changed by none other than ME!
I would love to pull each of them aside and have a loving, heart to heart about life, love, and countless other mysteries I am still working to figure out and accept. However, I know they would be less than thrilled at my “graduation gift”…. why?
Because I would have politely listened, and then walked away, rolling my eyes, if someone (even someone I looked up to!) had tried to do the same thing to me, when I graduated!
Like I said, you live and you learn…
Instead, I would love to share this “letter to me” full of realizations, truths and hard lessons I have learned. I hope you kids that I have had the pleasure of watching grow up into amazingly beautiful, talented, handsome, good adults, will, at some point, close the door to your bedroom, open your phone, iPad, or whatever other gadget all the cool kids have nowadays, and, when you don’t think anyone is looking, or will EVER know that you DO actually care what an “older” adult has to say, read this. =)
Dear ten year old Kristy,
Life is hard.
I know it doesn’t seem so, now.
Right now, life is full of baby dolls, barbie cars, bikes (when I was a kid, no helmets or knee pads were EVER used, by the way!! You know, the whole “I walked 10 miles to school, uphill both ways” stories our grandparents used to tell us, and all…) and carefree days full of kool-aid and cookies.
But, get ready. It’s coming.
Oh, hello middle school! You know that boy in 8th grade who wants to kiss you, and you are terrified? After all, it’s your first kiss. You’re afraid you’ll ruin it, because you have absolutely no idea what to do. It’s all going to be ok. He’ll say it was “the best kiss, ever” (What, has HE even kissed anyone, before you?!?) and you’ll feel AWESOME. Don’t feel TOO great about yourself, just yet. You’ll break up with him in a couple months, and it will crush him.
But, it was the first of many lessons about not doing something just to please everyone else.
DO NOT EVER COMPROMISE YOUR HAPPINESS, FOR SOMEONE ELSE’S.
(These are good words to remember through a lot of difficult moments in life)
It seems you just fell asleep for a moment, and you woke up, realizing you are now in high school! You are SUCH hot stuff!! People are going to look up to you, because you are super cool, now. Oh wait, you’re only a freshman. Don’t get too cocky.
(This is good to remember your first year of college, as well. You’re still JUST a Freshman. Doesn’t matter if you’re on a scholarship, an athlete, cheerleader, etc or not)
Life finally starts to move a little more quickly. Though, never fast enough. If you could JUST turn 16, life would be SO much better….
Because your super ridiculous, stupid, lame, old fashioned parents, who NEVER, EVER had to live through what you are currently going through, and who JUST DO NOT EVER UNDERSTAND have made you mad, yet again, and if you were ONLY 16, you could take those car keys, leave the house, and not answer your phone when they call 100 times, looking for you, just to show them!
(Yes, I know it seems crazy to think I EVER had thoughts like this, but I did. Remember, this is a letter to ME. I’m just letting you read it, as well.)
Freshman and Sophomore year go by, and finallllllllllly, towards the end of Sophomore year, you meet the BMOC (Big man on campus. Yes, this is what we called the popular, jock-type guys, who EVERYONE had a crush on) and he LIKES you! You start dating, but before you can even wrap your head around the fact that he likes you, he moves on to the new, new girl. You’re heartbroken, and you don’t understand. Don’t let it get you down. He wasn’t worth the effort.
You know the baseball game you wanted to attend, that summer? Don’t go. It only leads to nightmares.
There will be boys you like, and who like you, and you’ll feel special, but you hold onto your heart. Those who matter will be willing to wait on you. Those who don’t want to wait, aren’t worth it.
(Girls, I cannot stress how important this is)
**Don’t give into a moment of illusion, what can become a lifetime of regret.**
The remainder of high school will be full of friendships, moments of laughter, memories you will carry with you for a lifetime. But, don’t be afraid to let go of tarnished relationships/friendships. Very few people you know in high school are people you will still know, after college.
Speaking of, college brings many instances where you realize you really are an adult. There is no one around to tell you what’s right and what’s wrong. You are finally “free” to “do whatever you want” and have no curfew, rules, etc. But, you will realize now that you are able to do anything, your moral compass will (hopefully!) kick in. You DO know right and wrong. You DO know what you SHOULD and should not be doing. Those “big” decisions (you know, like whether or not you should go to the party, or study) aren’t going to seem so big in just a few, short years, so enjoy making them, now, whether you make the right choice or not. You WILL make mistakes. You WILL fall down, but dust your knees off and keep walking. Walking across that stage to get the degree you spent four years (longer, for some of you, ha!) working for, is TRULY the beginning. It’s the beginning of true adult-hood. For most, there is no more school, no more studying, no more partying. You graduate, go into the work force, and realize you now have rent or a mortgage, car payment, credit card bills, etc.
You sit on the floor of your new apartment, in a new city, where you know no one except the people you now call “boss”, and realize you have no clue what you’re doing.
You’re not sure you can do this.
You have bought new towels, new furniture, a spatula, whisk, mixing bowls and maybe your first skillet or crock pot, toaster oven, etc.
But, that was just going through the “fun motions”.
Now, it just got REAL.
There is no going back.
Mom and Dad are supportive; they “know you can do this”.
If only you believed them, too.
you really can.
It seems so scary right now, but before you know it, you’ll look back and high school will seem light years away. High school friends will have disappeared, a few college friends remain, but you’ve made a whole new life.
At the end of the day, so many decisions that seemed monumental at the time, now seem so insignificant.
The boy you cried over for days will have gotten married, had a kid or 2 and may not even remember your name.
The girl who broke your heart has a home, job, family, and barely remembers the first date you took her on. The test you bombed (or aced) matters not one bit, now. (Still, study….)
The car you thought you HAD to have, but your parents wouldn’t buy…well, now it’s “old” and you can’t believe you EVER wanted to actually drive a car like that!
And, as you grow older and look for a person you want to spend the rest of your life with, ASK QUESTIONS.
Don’t be afraid to call out someone when they tell you something you don’t believe.
Don’t waste your time with liars.
Don’t let one loss, whether it be from a job, relationship, friendship, a race….DO NOT let it define you.
People will suck.
Pick yourself up, don’t dwell on the past, and move foreword, better than you were. There IS someone out there, who is looking for you just as earnestly as you are searching for them. When you find them, don’t over-analyze. Don’t let what happened in the past hold you back from a wonderful present, and future.
See, life is like the palm of your hand…
There are some things you hold with your hand open, so they can be looked at, turned over, admired, talked about for a moment.
But, eventually, they disappear…
There are other things which you hold in a tightly closed fist, never to let go of, never to forget, never to lose.
the family vacations….
the sand castle you spent hours building with your dad,
the barbie house you played with for countless hours,
the first pizza you ever made with your mom,
the first trip to Disney World,
the first time you met your baby brother or sister,
the family photos,
the hugs and kisses your parents always made you give them, in front of your friends,
the endless car trips, tears, laughter, jokes, stories….
The very last time your dad or mom ever told you they loved you and were proud of you.
Well, those are simply things you just cannot let go of. Ever. As you grow into your own person, develop your own thoughts. Know what you believe, what you think about things, whether religion, politics, music, art, movies, or whatever…
Have your own opinion, and know WHY you think the way you do.
Don’t allow society, social media, etc to form your opinions for you.
Be kind, generous, brave, thoughtful, willing to take risks, overuse “I love you”, use your knees for praying, And lastly, love like crazy.