Category Archives: age

A Letter to the 22 year old me.

A Letter to the 22 year old me.

I wrote this a few years back, and while revisiting it this morning, I tried to think of what I would add… I have a 22 year old daughter right now, so it makes it even more of a reality than just a post of reflection.  I think I will add just a couple; 🙂

 

I’ve seen some blog posts lately that were the letters from the authors to themselves at a much younger age… The, “if I knew then, what I know now” wisdom posts.  So, to be a “follower”, and to impart some learned lessons, I thought I would have a go at it too…

At this ripe old age of 44, I can look back at myself at 22, and see a completely different person.  I’m actually amazed at the work God has done in my life thus far! If I could write a letter to myself at 22, I would say;

Dear Jennifer;

I know you feel like you have the world on your shoulders, and you can handle it.  I know that you think perfection is expected in this life of ours, and I see how you strive for it in almost everything you do. You worry too much, and care too much about things that aren’t going to last…  You clean too much, and expect too much from everyone around you.  The time spent trying to earn approval and love is in vain my friend.  So, to save you a few wrinkles, and a couple of prescriptions, I have some advice…

God loves you. Period.  He created you, and cares for you like no other.  He really is all you need – I know that sounds silly, but when you spend time with Him, you will see… All peace, comfort and joy – as well as acceptance, can be found in Him… So, open that Bible more, and get on those knees… heck, start talking to Him all the time!  HE hears you all the time and He cares… Don’t be too shocked when He answers you either – expect it.

Humans were never meant to be “your everything”… No man, woman, friend, parent or even your children were designed to fulfill you completely.  The only person that will complete you is Jesus Christ.  The sooner you grasp that, the easier the let downs and heart breaks will be.  No one is perfect, and don’t expect them to be.

Marriage isn’t about warm fuzzies and romance all the time.  It’s about commitment. It’s about remembering that the word love is a verb, not a feeling.  Your marriage can be more than warm fuzzies and romance, if you have Christ in the middle of it.  Seriously.  When you can pray with and for your spouse, it takes the marriage to a new level.  When you share the spiritual, as well as everything else – everything rocks…  When conflicts arise – and they will – take it to Christ – It’s pretty difficult to harbour resentment and anger when you hold hands before the Lord together… Really.

The Bible is relevant! Anything and everything is in there!  It really has instructions for life, from the Creator of life!  Don’t ever think you know more than the one who created you… His ways may seem restrictive sometimes, but it’s really for your own protection! You’re greatest blessings will come out of obedience… I promise.

The grass is never greener.  Just water yours and plant some flowers… Then yours will not only be greener, but it will be prettier and smell good too.

Pets are a full time commitment.  Dogs are even a bigger one…if you can’t feed them well, afford the vet or have time to walk them, don’t get one… It’s not fair to them or to you.

Don’t wait till you can afford kids to have kids.  That will NEVER happen.  When you finally have the kids, your priorities will change, and you will be amazed at how you will spend your money.

Enjoy your children when they are little! Don’t rush the walking and talking thing!  (Potty training – you can rush) Don’t hurry your babies through, and wish for them to grow up fast… I know it’s hard in the middle of the night, but try to relax and just ENJOY it.  This all will be gone in a flash – and parenting young adults is WAY harder…

You really don’t know it all.  I promise, you will be embarrassed when you get older and see how much you really didn’t know, but thought you did… Really.

Don’t drink too much.  It’s really a waste of good money and brain cells.  It doesn’t make you cooler or more popular, and it can be pretty dangerous for you, and for others.  Money is better spent on clothes, books, coffee… missions…

Life is short and no one makes it out alive … Try to think ETERNALLY.  What kind of legacy are you going to leave behind? Stop thinking you have plenty of time to do those “grown up” things… NO one is promised tomorrow.

Cherish Every Day.  Every single morning is new shot. A do over. A brand new shiny opportunity to try again.  Actually, every minute is new too.  We never get one back – time is the one fleeting thing that can’t be bought, borrowed or stored.  You have been giving this minute right now…

Everything matters.  People matter most – more than jobs, houses, entertainment, technology, sports and even shoes… When the stranger in the coffee isle starts telling you her life story, listen, because she matters.

Self control, patience and humbleness are a few of the greatest qualities you can have, so strive for those… It will bless your life, and be a blessing to others.

Wear sun block.  Just do it. Trust me.

Communication.  This is the key to all relationships. Knowing when to be quiet, or share the truth… Don’t assume someone knows your intent.  They rarely ever do, even those closest to you.  Be clear or be quiet – always.  This issue has never been more prominent than in this age of texting.  A text message doesn’t convey emotion, no matter how may emoji’s you use.

Date Intentionally.  Whether it’s intentional for marriage or for just friendship… those are the only 2 acceptable reasons.  Know someone’s spiritual identity, friends, family, temperament and goals before you even kiss… saves you from kissing too many Mr. Wrongs.  Sounds near impossible in todays culture right? Well, you were made to stand out, not blend in…

Last, but not least, Pray. Pray as often as you can.  The more comfortable you are talking to God, the easier it will be for you to hear Him answer you.

Growing up isn’t that bad.  You’re going to like it. Really.

 

What would say to the 22 year old you?

 

 

 

 

Am I really a grown up already?

Am I really a grown up already?

I spend a lot a time talking about parenting, and how my kids have grown, but last night, while watching my 13 year old try to take out his new contact lenses, I got a sudden “chill” of realization that I’m grown up. Maybe remembering being a teen wrestling with my own new contacts caused this “familiar” revelation… I don’t know if you know what I mean, but every now and then, out of the blue, I realize that I am a real adult, and it’s weird.

We spend our childhood wanting to be older, and our teen time wishing the years away.  Then one day, all of a sudden, we notice we have responsibilities, debt, and lots of lists…   Do you ever stop and ponder that for a second, or am I just on my own with this one?

I remember watching the premiere of MTV, now I watch the news, and care. I remember big hair and bell bottoms, and mocking my little brother for wearing parachute pants.  Now, comfort trumps style, always.  We really did come in when it got dark and no one was worried about it.  Now, I always know where my kids are playing, and I check on them periodically.  Kids talked on the phone, and didn’t mind being connected to a wall.  Now, the art of actual talking is fading into the land of abbreviations.  We used to wear our “Sunday best” to church and liked it.  Now, it’s all about looking relaxed, because apparently, Jesus loves us no matter what we are wearing.  Too bad a potential employer doesn’t share that philosophy… Fast food was a luxury, and dinner around the table was the norm… Really…My kids think fast food is a way of life.   I used to dream that I would marry Shaun Cassidy and I loved Donny & Marie… I married someone way better than Shaun, that exceeded my dreams, and no one has yet to replace Donny & Marie… Life just seemed easier.   This world that my kids are growing up in, is a very different place than the one I experienced.  I like to believe that this generation is made for such a time as this.

Sometimes I feel like it happened so fast!  When did I become this “responsible” parental kinda girl in this seriously material world?  I think I’m just too young to be this old… But then I look around at all my blessings, shake off the “chill”, and smile, because I am. Really.

Carly Simon put it this way-

I remember a time, rompin’ through the woods

Sun against our skin instead of clothes
When we felt hungry we would eat, when we felt glad we would dance
And whenever we felt drowsy we would doze

It was so easy then never takin’ any stands
It was so easy then, holdin’ hands

I remember a time when our fears could be named
And courage meant not refusing dares
I remember when we took such cares to step never on the cracks,
No only on the squares
Or else we’d be abducted by the bears

It was so easy then never makin’ any plans
It was so easy then, holdin’ hands

And now we are grown, with debts and regrets
And broken hearts and sentimental schemes
Now every tender failure seems to overthrow old dreams
Love can lead a normal woman to extremes

It was so easy once, holdin’ hands without a plan
It was so easy once holdin’ hands
Just holdin’ hands

 

My Birthday

My Birthday

My birthday was last week.  Let’s just sit on that for a second and think about your own birthday.  Are you one of those who lie about their age or never wants to tell anyone?  Or do you just smile and blurt it out to anyone who asks?  My mother-in-law is 39, even though she lived though the depression and has great grand-children. (I’ve been advised by my counsel the ramifications of that sentence. I’m hoping her sense of humor has grown with age)

I must admit that I have always been shy about my age.  Not because I’m old, but because I’m young.  Crazy huh?  I think it comes from having children so young, and having that “you’re tooooo young” response.  The 2 weeks between my son’s birthday and mine was always the time I prayed that no one would ask my age, because if they did the math, they would figure out that I was 15 when I gave birth, instead of 16…like 16 is so much better? Anyway, I’m 43 and you’d think I’d be over it by now.  I am for the most part. But I still have my days.

I wanted to add a top ten list to this post about birthdays.  I thought the funniest list I could come up with would be “top ten worst gifts from your husband” but then I thought that wouldn’t be fair, because my husband has only given me a few really bad ones and this year, with the help of my daughter and friends, he outdid himself. So, given the awesomeness of this year’s celebration, even if I know the helpers did all the work, I don’t want to throw my man under the bus, so I will go with the “top ten ways you know you’re getting older”…

  1. You can’t focus on conversations in the car if the radio is too loud. (or even on in some cases)
  2. The radio is always too loud, unless you’re alone, and you’re trying to stay awake or you’re really in a praise and worship mood, and then you don’t care who sees you singing your heart out at a red light.
  3. Dinner and a movie are rare date nights, because after the dinner, you’re full and ready for bed.
  4. Eating fast food really does make you feel like crap.
  5. Jumping out of bed in the morning is a thing of the past.  Now you stretch, snap, crackle and pop before you roll on out.
  6. Your friends are not all getting married and having babies, now your friends kids are graduating, getting married, and having babies.
  7. You’ve realized that recreational and school sports are just games.  The outcome will not permanently affect anyone’s life.
  8. You realize that PBS & the History Channel do have some good programming.
  9. You check the weather forecast regularly. (although I still don’t know why)
  10. You’ve realize the importance of listening, sharing and patience, and that time really does fly, and you don’t want to waste any of it.

So there you have it.  I know this list could really be a top 100, but I can’t sit here all day.  I love growing up. I don’t even mind the gray hair coming in.  God was so sweet to put these verses in His Word for us;

Proverbs 16:31 (NIV) “Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained by a righteous life.”

Isaiah 46:4 (NIV) “Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”

Isaiah 46:3b-4a LB I have created you and cared for you since you were born. I will be your God through all your lifetime, Yes, even when your hair is white with age. I made you and I will care for you.”

If you have something to add to this list, please do!  Thank you for reading and may you be blessed, whatever age you are…