Sunday, May 27, 2012

Dear 15-year-old Me: What I Wish I'd Known

When I married Matt, not only did I gain an amazing friend and spouse; I gained a new family.  His family became mine, too, and his beautiful niece is a part of that package.  She spends a lot of time with us and I adore the heck out of her.  Maybe it's because the youth director in me relates really well with teenagers.  Maybe it's because she is an amazing big cousin to my littles.  Or maybe it's simply because she is an awesome girl.  Yep- clearly, that is it.

Our beautiful Madison just turned 15 this week.  When I think back to being 15, now that I am months away from double that, there are SO many things I wish I'd known.  There are so many things that I wish I had taken to heart; so many things that if I'd been able to view my teenage years through the lens of my 30 year old self, I wouldn't have beaten myself up about or taken so seriously.  In light of these thoughts churning through my head due to Madison's 15th birthday, I present to you a letter to my 15-year-old self.

Dear 15-year-old Alison,
Hi.  This is you.  Future you.  What?!  So creepy, right?  That's ok.  15 years from now you'll think this is a great idea.

Here's the thing... the girl that you are now is only a tiny piece of the puzzle that God is constantly snapping together.  Each day, a new piece is being added.  You don't do many puzzles, and you never have, but if you were to pick up one of those 1000 piece monsters and really examine each piece, there is something to be learned in every image on every piece.  Some pieces are really beautiful all on their own- colors, textures, and all things pleasing to the eye.  Some aren't that exciting... plain, boring.  Some may even be down right ugly... awkward angles.  Unappealing colors.  But they're necessary to make the whole puzzle complete.  Every piece is important.

If you haven't picked up on it yet, that is a metaphor for your life.  Each day, each moment, is an important piece of who you are now and who you will become.  You're going to have some amazing times coming your way.  You're going to get your heartbroken, too.  And that's ok... that is what life is about.  I could write a novel to you, but instead, I'm just going to give you this little list of things I want you to know.  From almost 30-year-old you... trust me; I know a lot about you.  And I've been there.  No- literally, I have.

* Those tears you shed in the dressing rooms of Wet Seal and whatnot are so not worth it.  You're beautiful just the way you are.  
* You'll be so glad you decided you were ready to be baptized.  It'll be the beginning of something really, really big.
* Mom is totally not overprotective!  You are going to be doubly crazy over the safety of your kids one day!  
* You get a husband and kids, so stop being so worried about your future.  God's got this one under control.  
* I'm proud of you for sticking to your guns and not getting sucked into drugs or alcohol.  You're going to make some really good decisions when it comes to friendships in the years to come and they'll be the ones you keep forever.
* Don't be mean to that girl during your junior year.  You're going to really, really regret it later.
* Look at your computer and giggle... in a few years you'll have a phone thats way cooler than that.  Weird, right?
* 30 isn't old.
* Be confident in who you are... turns out, you're a pretty cool kid.
* Don't wear the leopard print cowboy hat to senior prom.  Just.don'
* That said, don't stress so much about your clothes.  You're never going to be fashionable, but that isn't why the people who stick with you are around anyway.  The friends that will stand outside the door the night you deliver your first baby couldn't care less about that stuff.  They love you for you.
* Write stuff down... 30 year old you forgot stuff!  That's why I'm writing stuff down now... so that 60 year old us can look back and laugh at 30 year old us.
* Stop sassing your grandpa.  Kiss him every day and tell him you love him.  You cannot possibly grasp how much he has loved you and done for you {and will do for you}.  In 15 years, you'll be sitting at his bedside, watching him prepare to leave this world, crying your heart out and wishing you'd never taken a tone with him.  You'll have some scares along the way, but none of them will have hurt the way this one will.
* You're not going to "get" the extent of Mom and Grandpa's love until you see Kathryn's face.  Who's Kathryn?  Oh, you'll see.
* The man you marry will teach you a lot about yourself... and those lessons will be what prompt you to write imaginary letters to a younger version of you.
* Don't worry- you're not crazy.  You've got it pretty together, in fact.
* In light of that, enjoy this time in your life... despite how it feels right now, it's just an instant in your life.  A tiny, tiny piece of that puzzle I was talking about.  You were talking about...?  We were talking about...?  This is getting confusing.

All that said, enjoy every moment.  Every memory.  Don't worry so much.  Have faith in yourself and dive head first into God and the community of his followers.  Your puzzle is going to be breath-taking when it is done... so live with JOY!

29-year-old you.


  1. I LOVE this...I seriously want to copy you...I just of these days...then maybe our daughters will read this one day :) hehe

    1. Do it, Michelle! I hope our daughters read it. Except for the cowboy hat part... ;-)

  2. hahaha! i loved reading this! (did you seriously wear a leopard-print cowboy hat to prom?!)

    1. I totally did. Who does that, right?! We all make bad decisions. Mine was just impeccably tacky.