ON MY 39TH BIRTHDAY - A LETTER TO MY 16 YEAR OLD SELF
Dear Beautiful Girl Yes, you are beautiful, inside and out. You may not think so right now, but oh, believe me when I say this. All these things that you don't like about yourself now, you will long for in the years to come. That flawless complexion, your radiant health, your bright eyes and those skinny minnie legs. But you will also learn to embrace your imperfections, your scars, and your quirks, because that's what makes you, you. And there is no one like you.
You will learn a lot of things, girlie.
You're so eager to get out and find your place in this big wide world. Your glory box is filling up and you're hanging out for the day you get to experience freedom, make your own rules, be independent and have a go at adulting. You think time is going waaaaay too slowly. You have imaginations of what uni and having your own house will be like and it all can't happen soon enough. Patience girl. One day you'll wake up and you'll be 39, and you'll be wishing those years back.
The same things your Mum worries over you about, you'll worry about over your children, but tenfold more. Yes, your children - they will come at the right time, don't you worry. You're as clucky as a duck but it's just your hormones. I know you have a crush on someone new every month and your heart panics when you see them - it's significant enough to mention in your diary, in morse code. I've read your diaries - I have them all, and I know your language too. It's okay though, because I am your true friend, and I will never betray you. I'll be with you every step of the way in this journey of life, as you navigate freedom and restraint, overwhelming challenges and immeasurable success, the lowest pits of hell and the highest mountains of pure joy.
You think about your childhood sweetheart all the time, and wonder what could've been had he replied to your letters, or you'd had the courage to tell him how you felt when you saw him last year. Little do you know he never got your letters. Little do you know that one day, when the time is right, and when you least expect it, you will be brought together. Little do you know, that your dreams will literally come true, and you will marry your childhood sweetheart. Have faith.
Your primary school teacher told you that you could be whatever you wanted to be in life, and you took her seriously. You will achieve more than you could ever have dreamed. You will be highly successful and win awards and accolades for your work at a young age. Stay humble.
You'll be driven to achieve more and more, and you will live a life of creative entrepreneurship. It will carry you off at times to places you'd never dreamed of, and opportunities will abound. Stay grounded.
You'll experience people's true selves, especially when there's money or fame involved. Don't ever sell yourself short. People are only in it for themselves, and you're the only person you can trust. Stay true.
I wish I could tell you that life will be perfect. But life is not. There is a season for everything - including winter. You'll go through many winter periods, and face many challenges, but you'll always come through to spring. Always. You'll experience tragedies that are so great you don't think you could possibly survive - the pain is too much. Believe me girl, when I say you will survive. The scars from these tragedies will always remain with you, and will flare up every now and then in bad weather, but serve as a reminder that life is real. These experiences shape you, and your truth. Don't be afraid. You will get through. I promise you.
You'll begin to realise that it doesn't matter how good a person you are, tragedy does not discriminate. No one on this entire planet is immune to tragedy, or loss, or grief. Good or bad, happy or sad, tragedy strikes where and when it does. Still, be a good person. Be kind. Live your life to the full, and make every day count. LOVE your family. Appreciate your siblings. Even when your brother teases you about the way you run.
You'll achieve amazing things, girl. You'll fail and you'll fall, but you'll always get up and try again, or try differently. You'll learn to live in the process of creativity, and in doing so, learn what's important to hold onto, and what to let go of. Your life will start to get lighter once you start to shed some of the material things that are weighing you down, especially once you drag everything from one house to the next....to the next....to the next.... Yes, you will get your house. Be patient. And keep the diaries.
You have an inbuilt homing beacon, and no matter where you are in the world, you will always know where to find home. Trust the process.
You've got so much to discover, and so much is being discovered around you. You're entering into an age of technology and one day you'll even have your very own cell phone. You don't even know what the internet is, because it hasn't been invented yet. The world will be at your fingertips and it will excite you so much. You'll want to do everything and be everything, but you're also susceptible to burnout. The perfectionism trait within you is strong and you're either all or nothing, perfect or zilch. You'll learn to loosen up, because burnout ain't fun. And you'll start to appreciate the concept of perfectly imperfect. Live in the calm.
As you get older, you'll start to hear about being authentic, being true to yourself. And you'll realise that a big part of who you are as a person, is actually your faith. It's not something you talk about much. You stopped talking about it years ago when you were laughed at. But it's strong, and is a big part of how you got through all these things. People believe in whatever they wish to believe in. You also can believe in whatever you wish to believe in. You know personally what is real, and what you have experienced. You can't see love, but you will definitely experience it and know it is real. You can't see anguish, but you will one day know this to be real too. Likewise, you can't see God, but you will know Him and experience Him in ways that you cannot deny. There will come a time where you cannot walk, for the pain in your heart is too great that your legs are numb, and He will bear you on eagles wings. No one can take away anything that you have experienced. You know your truth.
And one day, you'll wake up, and you'll be 39 years old.
Your kids will bring you a coffee in bed, homemade cards and presents, and look at you with wonderment and excitement - these beautiful human beings that you grew and nurtured and brought into this big scary world, calling you Mum.
And you'll wonder how is it that you got to 39 so fast, and what you could have done differently in your life.
Nothing. Life is what it is, and will be what it will be. Make your days count. Even the ordinary days. And especially the extraordinary ones.
Learn the secret to contentment. It's not achieving everything you want, and it's not success. You've had all that, and you still weren't satisfied.
You and I both know there's only one thing that can fill that void place deep within your being.
Philippians 4:11-12 Not that I speak according to lack, for I have learned, in whatever circumstances I am, to be content. I know also how to be abased, and I know how to abound; in everything and in all things I have learned the secret both to be filled and to hunger, both to abound and to lack.