I’m the big 3-0 today! Over the past few days, I have done a lot of reflecting on the last 30 years and especially the last 10 years. Things have changed so much and honestly, I am not really mourning the ‘loss’ of my 20’s. While there were so many great things that happened in my 20’s, it was a time of learning and huge changes. I’m looking forward to my 30’s and can’t wait to see what they have in store for me! As I went to bed last night and said “good night” and “goodbye” to my 20’s, I started to think of all the things I wish I could tell my 20 year old self.
A Letter to My 20 Year Old Self
Dear Sweet Girl,
I wish I could tell you all of this, but instead I’ll just write it in a letter. You have NO idea what your life will look like in 10 years, but I am here to tell you: it’s better than you ever could have imagined.
As you turn 20, you say goodbye to your teens and hello to your 20’s. Everyone has told you that you will love your 20’s. I’m here to tell you that yes, you will…but there will also be difficult at times.
That boy that you’re dating? Honestly, I can’t even remember his name. You will have your heart broken a few more times before you meet the one that God has for you. When you do meet him, your brother will introduce you to him and you will honestly think nothing of it. You will become best friends with this guy for close to a year, and you will fall in love with him faster than he falls for you (or at least faster than he realizes it). You will also have to decide between the guy who is “perfect on paper” and this guy who your heart is pulled to. Trust your heart. I promise you, even though he is a bit immature currently…he truly is your best friend and he is your soul mate. I don’t use those words lightly either. Not many people will understand it at first and when you get engaged, it isn’t a fairy tale and huge parties like you thought it would be. A lot of people have questions and that’s ok. Stand your ground. Trust your heart. In 10 years, that boy will be your entire world. He will be an amazing husband and a hard worker. He will support you in your craziest dreams. He will be the BEST daddy that you could ever dream of for your two babies. He is the one who will stand by your side during the toughest times of your life and he will never waver. He loves you and trust me, those boys that you are currently fretting over…they are nothing in the big scheme of things. Enjoy your days with your family and friends and ignore the drama that the dating game brings.
Speaking of friends and family, the ones that you are closest to right now…they are going to be the constant ones by your side over the next 10 years. You all may grow up and move to different cities and states…but, they are there. Your brother and cousin are still your best friends all these years later. You three are still the ones that laugh at the silliest things, have the best inside jokes and your group will grow by a few people over the next few years. That doesn’t mean things change, it just means that you gain even more best friends.
In the next 10 years, you will experience sorrow and death on a level that breaks your heart and sometimes your faith. You will lose two grandparents. You will lose not only your uncle but also a sweet, dear friend within 6 months of your wedding and very unexpectedly. These events will test you and your faith. They will be some of the darkest months of your life. Even though you are a newlywed, your heart will be broken and you will question a lot. You will also learn that God does have a plan and you will keep going back to Romans 8:28 – He works EVERYTHING for the good of those who love Him. These losses will teach you so much about yourself and those around you. You will learn to lean on those that you love the most and to let the tears flow when you need to.
You will experience healthcare crises that you never imagined you would. Your mom will be diagnosed with cancer. You will be completely blindsided by this news and terrified. She will be ok. She is now a 5+ year cancer survivor and going through this will make you two even closer.
You will also have two sweet, precious pregnancies that both end in difficulties. Both of your babies will end up on oxygen within 24 hours of being born. Both of them will be in NICU and you will again be completely blindsided by this. You will learn what it means to not be able to help your children through their suffering all too soon. Your mama bear instincts will kick in immediately and you will learn that all of those things that you worried about at 20…21…22, they don’t matter. What matters is family. You will mourn the loss of the birth experiences you thought you would have and you won’t get to experience the ‘normal newborn bliss’ – but, that’s ok. Embrace your story. Embrace the fact that even though they both have really difficult times at first, your babies are as stubborn as you and they are fighters. They are healthy and happy now, and most days you don’t even think about the heartbreaking times they were sick.
Speaking of those two babies. They are your entire world. I know that right now you aren’t sure if you even want kids. Trust me, you are made to be a mama. Your heart will be so full when you watch those little ones. They may make you a bit crazy, but each day is a joy and you will know more love than you ever thought possible. Stock on up sleep now, because when they enter your world, sleep basically goes away. But…it’s OH so worth it. When you hold that first little one, your life will be changed. That job you knew that you wanted to go back to? It doesn’t really matter anymore. All that matters is, you want to be at home with this baby and be there for him. Don’t question that desire for a second, when your husband tells you to quit and that you will make it work together…trust him. Stay with that baby and never look back, because he grows so fast and you don’t want to miss a second of it.
You will be amazed at the career that you have when you are 30. Right now, you are in school to finish your business degree. You are also working full-time at a place that you love so much. Those people that you are working with now will become lifelong friends and even though you aren’t still working there, they texted you this morning to wish you Happy Birthday. The career you have at 30 is so different than anything you could have ever thought, but you are so fulfilled AND you finally own your own business.
Stop being so up tight and just go with the flow. You don’t have to have it all figured out now. The plans that you are making now will change so much over the next decade. One of the biggest lessons that your husband will teach you is to take a leap of faith. When you do take those big leaps over the next several years, you’ll end up moving to TN, buying a house, having babies, and starting your own business. You are still a bit up tight at 30, and of course a planner…but you slowly learn patience. You also learn that you don’t have to have all of the answers, just a good amount of faith and a ‘sort of’ plan. Things tend to work themselves out even better than you could have planned.
Cherish these years. Whether it’s that trip to see your Mamaw, spending a few extra minutes with your brother, listening to your dad’s advice or laying on the beach with your momma. Do it. Your responsibilities are minimal right now. Enjoy that. Travel. Love. Stop and look around. Some of your most precious memories will be made over the next 10 years.
Love yourself. I know, you have a few extra pounds you want to lose. While eating healthy and working out is important, make sure you take care of and love yourself first. Sometimes loving yourself means laughing until midnight over a slice of cake with your best friends. In 10 years, your husband will love you exactly as you are. He will have seen you at your worst and at your best and he will love you regardless. Your babies will snuggle into those few extra pounds and fit perfectly in your arms. You will have a few gray hairs and honestly, won’t even have the time to worry about dying them because your days are so full with love and chaos. When you stop to look around on your 30th birthday, you’ll realize just how much you do love yourself and your life. You are so blessed and have come so far from that girl that you are now. Enjoy the ride, love yourself and cherish those around you.