Today I was driving down the road across from our local high school, when I passed an old red jeep with two young girls behind the dash…their hair was long and wavy and they had their shades on. Instead of perfectly matching outfits and sensible winter coats, they wore layers of brightly colored hoodies and tank tops, skater style. They were living it up, cruising down the road like they had stolen a piece of freedom and were taking it for a joyride, grinning from ear to ear…
They made me smile as my thoughts drifted back in time. It wasn’t long ago that I was seventeen, and when driving around with a friend riding shotgun was the most exhilarating feeling. Those were the days when a little makeup and a cup of coffee could quickly hide the fact that I had only slept a few hours the night before, and greasy diner food was always on the menu, but never on my hips. I remember feeling like the world was at my fingertips, and I was most certainly invincible in my Ford F150.
Fast-forward 5 years…now my only requirement for a vehicle is if the door will open wide enough to remove a baby carrier in a crowded grocery store parking lot.
Wow, how quickly things change…
And I thought, do I miss being seventeen, and having no responsibility? Heck yes. Would I trade kisses from my husband, and smiles from my baby for that time back? Heck no.
I do, however, understand better the old expression, claiming, “Youth is wasted on the young”…
So in true Brad Paisley style, here’s what I would tell myself if I wrote a letter to me at seventeen:
Be more adventurous…go bungee jumping in Costa Rica and then call mom and dad to tell them all about it…do not listen to your sister when she tries to talk you out of it. In a few years time you will be responsible for the lives of others and will not be able to pull any crazy stunts…
Do not waste a single minute standing in front of the mirror, asking, “Do I look ok? Are my thighs getting big?” YOU LOOK FINE… APPRECIATE YOUR YOUTHFUL BODY, you will look back at pictures and wonder who that skinny girl is wearing your smile… remember that you are your toughest critic…
Also, do not waste a single minute loving someone who you will not know in years to come…someday soon the man of your dreams will come along, and you will wish that all the “I love yous” you had ever said would be snatched back out of the past and shoved back in your mouth and spoken only to him.
Do not lose sight of the Lord in your pursuit of pleasure. I know life seems exciting now and it is hard to sit down and contain yourself, but trust me, there are far more exciting things in your future…things that are miraculous and life changing… If you seek God’s will, not yours, these things can be yours at a far lesser price.
Also, remember, GOD IS YOUR FATHER AND HE LOVES YOU MORE THAN ANY PERSON ON THE FACE OF THE EARTH. Rest in that knowledge and stop being so antsy.
Put all that bottled up energy to good use. Build something, go overseas, join a cause, INVEST IN OTHERS.
RESPECT your parents and love, love, LOVE them. Someday you will look back and realize that they did a far better job than you thought. Remember they are human too, and that perfection is not the goal, humility is. Trust them. Hug them. THANK THEM.
And finally…SLOW THE HECK DOWN!! What’s your hurry anyway? You will grow up, you will get married, you will have a house, and you will be a mom…so come up for air once in a while and BE CONTENT where you are…before you know it you will be rocking your little boy to sleep and singing lullabies, wondering where the years went.
Know that you are blessed beyond compare and that you are surrounded by people who love you. THANK GOD FOR THIS.
I know there is a plethora of other things I could add to this list, but my hubby is in bed waiting to snuggle and my eyelids are all droopy (come on now, its not like I’m 17… sheesh;) so I will leave it at that.
What about you? Every think about what you wish you knew when you were younger?