Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Ode to 17 Year Old Me Then and Now

I am excited to finally be jumping on the Blogtember train! I knew I wasn't going to try to blog my way all the way through, but there were certain prompts that caught my eye. Today's was the first one that really jumped out at me, mainly because I had actually done something similar when I first started this blog. I thought it would be neat to go to the beginning of it all, see where I started, where I was at during that time in my life and where things have come. 

Today's prompt asked us to write a letter to our 16 year old self and while my original letter was to my 17 year old self I figured it was close enough that I could break the rules a little (I have been known to do that from time to time, just ask 17 year old me). I figured I would share my original post and then build on the letter with what I have learned in the 2.5 years since it was written. The original letter (or ode really) read as follows... 
__________________________________________________________________________________________________
Then
Ode to my 17 year old self
You think life is only going to exponentially get better and you think adulthood is some fairytale; Ha! Try again; life ain't no joke kid.  

You think that you will go off to college, be wild and crazy for awhile and then settle down; Ha again! You stay in your hometown for college (something you swore you would never do) by choice, you will get married as soon as college is over, after having spent the majority almost all of your college life acting as if you already were. 

You think that after getting married you will start a family right away and all will even out and be as it should; Ha ha!! You actually partake in some of that crazy college-like life that you didn't have about a year after getting married and realized that while fun, life happened as it should, you personally didn't miss out on much and had you actually done said "full-blown-crazy-college-life" you would not be where you are (God knew what He was doing).  You will also realize that as much as you assumed jumping right into having said baby would be a wonderful idea you had to learn to be a good wife first. Good wives set good examples for children down the road (or so you are now assuming). And you now know to think, "Life as it should be? What does that even mean?"

You will not even think about the things you will have lost along the road to where you are; please make sure you have told the people you love how much they truly mean. 
You will find comfort in the fact that you think she knew how much you loved her, but it will not make missing her all the time any easier. 
You think that things have gotten as bad as they can get with issues involving your brother; I am really sorry (for him and you and everyone) that that is just not true.  There is grace thrown in there though. You will learn how to play your part and when it is time to just bow out and realize that the best help you can give is to not try to fix everything.  You will learn to focus more on yourself and the things in you that need fixing. 

You assume that because you have stayed on a pretty good path you won't be tempted by anything "bad"; Oh contrare.  You just realize that temptation takes on different faces and while at 17 you would have never considered certain things "bad" they can still be just as damaging to your world if you let them be. 

You think that there may be the possibility of marrying the man in the picture next to you; yay for you! This one actually worked out for you (though there were times, due to your own ignorant head, that you could have wrecked everything).  Thank heavens the person next to you was already well on his way to being a stable, level-headed man and not some dumb boy who would have actually let you let yourself just walk away. 

You never think about how much said man in the picture will teach you; Oh my dear young soul; things; profound things (and not just laundry).  Remember to be thankful for him and not to take him for granted.  You do it far more often than you should; stop!


Oh the list of things I could continue to tell you about yourself and who you were and who we have become.  We are still changing.  We do not like change by the way (at least for right now), though I think I remember you did (does that mean that 26 year old you is scared of 17 year old you? Oh help us, maybe it does).  So I guess for now that is all I will leave you with, but please remember to be grateful always.  You have never had it all that terrible (and that is an immense understatement). 
__________________________________________________________________________________________________
Now
Oh the feels I get when reading that now. There is so much that has changed and at the same time so much that hasn't. I think the biggest things I would add are... 

At 17 you don't know how broken the world can be, you had glimpses, but nothing to prepare you for the utter destruction that can hit a heart this side of Heaven. But you also don't know strength. Not yet. But you learn it, you watch it. You watch yourself and others pick up pieces that can't fully even mend on this Earth, but you pick it up at carry it. You carry yours, you carry others, and others help you lighten the load. You learn that this world is full of things that can trip you and take you under, but you learn that is also so very full (full to the brim) of Grace and Love and a community of people who understand that we need to have one another's backs in order to make life work well. It's the same community of people who supported you and shielded you as you grew. But now you are old enough to help them with that burden, a burden that becomes lighter as you work together. 

At 17 you don't know what losing a sibling can do to the inner workings of someone. But unfortunately you learned. You know that it can shift so many things inside your soul, but that you can still stay the same person all at the same time. You know that it can take you to the darkest of places, but that through that darkness there is a Light that only grows stronger in weakness and that shines in a different way now. 

You still take that boy next to you for granted too much, but there's a deeper appreciation for the man he is and the way he helps you follow your dreams! Praise the Lord you are learning to get a few things right in your old age. The man God gave you as a partner is so much better than you could have ever dared dream for, you've learned that along the way and you are still reminded of it all the time. He has taken the turns of life with you, the changes to your heart, and loved you solidly through it all. He has supported new dreams and held your hand as you worked through letting go of old ones. He, and your day-to-day life together, is your biggest adventure to date, don't ever forget that! 
Oh and guess what?! You have learned to embrace change! In fact, in some ways you have returned to your 17 year old adventurous soul. When your whole world changes in an instant you kind of have to roll with it. And you literally are. As in you bought an RV and plan to take the open roads by storm. You are dreaming of crazy things now, of changing the path your adult self had planned for your life. It's doubtful that you will really change it completely, but you aren't afraid to anymore. It's freeing really. You aren't as afraid of risks and change (part of you still thinks you should be), but instead the idea just incredibly excites you. 

And on that note I guess we will check back in in another 2.5 years. As which point this blog post will need to be written into a novel because it has just gotten way too long... 


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