Tonight I’ve been thinking about me way back when. Maybe it’s being back home, going through things that are markers of our childhood and growing up years, I don’t know. Whatever it is, it’s got my thoughts going back and wishing I could tell Then Me a few things that Now Me has learned as time went by.
What I wish I’d known thirty years ago–
that it’s never that serious.
that of all those things I worried would happen, most never would.
that my body was absolutely okay. The best it was going to be. That I was beautiful, and the voice in my head talking about my weight or my ears sticking out too far or my elbows….it was lying to me. None of that mattered. I was beautiful. Just like I was.
the brand of clothes I had…..or didn’t have…..did not matter as much as those who did have the “right” brands would lead me to believe.
my parents were smarter than I thought.
they really did love me.
they really weren’t the meanest people on earth.
and I am glad they were my parents.
one day they would become my best friends, and one day a while later I’d miss them with every breath.
a stick shift is cool to drive, and one day I would miss having one.
one day I would miss our house and home…..and all the people in it.
one day my siblings would be among my best friends.
no boy or guy or man is worth compromising what I believe. Or shutting others out. Or worthy of all of my time and attention.
no friend who really loves me will tell me just what I want to hear.
no job is small. Every job is worth giving your all. One day I would be glad I did.
the worst mistakes I would ever make wouldn’t be the less than satisfactory grades or the accidents I had…..they would be the words that came out of my mouth that I couldn’t take back.
my parents were way smarter than I ever gave them credit for, and they were dispensing wisdom I wish I paid more attention to.
my favorite color would change. Often.
my favorite pillow would not.
the lady in England whom I met was right. One day I would come to love planting flowers and thinking about which ones were my favorites.
clotheslines are cool.
one day I would miss the smell of sheets dried on the clothesline.
the number of times I rolled my eyes at my parents would come back to me in spades.
the music my parents loved and the shows they watched would become my favorites too.
when my friends asked me what I thought about this boy or that fella, I should have kept my mouth shut.
I would fall in love three times with people who couldn’t walk or talk or speak my name.
old people are the best.
old cars are the best.
old roads are the best. Forget about the interstates.
old houses are the best–new ones feel a bit pretentious sometimes.
I would travel the world and never find a place that brings me comfort like the places I grew up–my Granny’s, my Great Aunt’s and home–Blackberry Flats. Ever.
my faith is not static. I should not be afraid of my evolving beliefs and growing questions. It’s all part of growing up and learning about the world and all we believe.
it’s the little things I would remember the best. I wish I had spent more time on the little things–like taking walks with my brother and playing games with my sisters.
if I want to be a writer, write. If I want to be an artist, create. If I want to be a storyteller, tell stories. I need to make my own magic. Not sit back and dream and wait. Dream and then do.
in fourth grade, if I don’t tell the teacher why I put the quotation marks there, I will carry that for the rest of my life. Stand up and speak out. More. At all. Make my voice heard. It matters.
sticks and stones, well yeah, but words. Sometimes they hurt most of all.
no matter how bad things were that I went through or dealt with, I would do it all again to keep my children from having to go through that pain and hurt.
the drive away from home in frustration and anger when I was a teenager was way shorter than the drive back as an adult when one of my parents was sick.
I wish I would have spent more time loving me and less time looking for someone to love.
More time swinging under the tree and dancing beneath the stars and less time worrying, “What if…..?”
I wish I had shared more grace and light and spent less time being afraid of the dark.
I wish, I would have, If only…..
but for tonight, I’m thankful for the journey I have had. Thankful for the ones who guided me on it, who very likely spent much time in prayer over me and my ways. I give thanks for friends who don’t just tell me what I want to hear and for my parents whom I miss more and more each day (especially today). In the midst of looking back at what I wish I knew then, I am very glad to know what I know now. Which in another twenty years (Good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise) probably won’t look like much in hindsight either. We’ll just have to see.
Until then, love to all.