August 17, 2011

Advice for Me at Eighteen

Kristen and I were discussing the perks of marrying the "unlikely" guy. You know, like her company's IT guy who takes his wife out to a cupcake cafe once a week. (Come on, who doesn't love sweets?)

My mind wandered to how far-fetched that situation would have seemed ten or twelve years ago.

My Facebook feed is full of bright-eyed college students giddy to be back in their stomping grounds. (And plenty of moms lamenting their kids' first day of school. An odd dichotomy, right?)

And when you're in that college bubble, who cares about thoughtfulness and cupcakes when you can focus on cool? Or, better yet, cute?

I could write an entire self-help novel to myself circa the turn of the century, but I'll spare you the details. Instead, a few bullet points I'd love to plop into a time capsule and send backwards a decade:

1. You're cooler than you think you are.
2. And come to think of it, there's no shame in being
uncool. Most of your favorite people on Earth would profess to falling into that category.
3. The clunky shoe phase is overrated.
4. Sleeping more than 12 hours a day is
not a stroke of good luck; it's a sign that something's wrong.
5. It is possible to disagree politely; sometimes it's necessary. You'll never be
great at this, but you need to stop being terrified of it.
6. If he shows you his true colors, believe him. There's a time and place for grace, for forgiveness. When it comes to your heart, though, that forgiveness is best given from a distance. I wish it wouldn't take you six years to learn this lesson!
7. Remind your friends it's better to marry the nerd than the cool guy. Obviously you'll never look at your husbands as nerdy, but a man who thinks of
himself as cool and tries to live up to that ever-elusive adjective doesn't have half the worth of a guy who thinks of himself rarely.
8. Marry the man who makes you laugh. Better yet, forget about marrying altogether and just spend
time with the man who makes you laugh. And think. And takes you to church. The rest will figure itself out in time.
9. You learned that JOY stands for "Jesus first, yourself last and others in betweeeeen." It does. But in order to be joyful, you cannot be a doormat. It's okay to put some needs of yours aside for a greater purpose, but
one person's happiness isn't that purpose.
10. You'll never regret the simpler outfit.
11. You'll never,
ever regret skipping the belly-button piercing trend.
12. You'll be thankful your whole life to have spent time abroad.
13. You'll wish you did it sooner and longer. Forget the boy (see above); take a semester for you.
14. When someone speaks a truth so painful you can barely listen to it, don't imagine it was easy for them to say. You probably needed to hear it.
15. Go ahead and order those party pics. What you see as a chubby face is what everyone else calls the glow of youth.
16. When a friend calls with an offer to do something,
anything - do it. Walk and talk, catch up over lunch, study together, work out, go to a (gasp) different fraternity's party. Meet new people. You'll never be in such close proximity to thousands of your peers. Take advantage!
17. Listen to the little voice. Is there a word of encouragement on your heart? A sweet note you feel like leaving? Something nudging you to call the girl you're really not that close to? You never know what people are walking through. Let God use you. It's worth the chance of being the "awkward girl" (you'll be this girl forever) to know you've made a difference at just the right time.
18. Don't be so scared. It's all going to come together beautifully. God's weaving a mighty big story in you and it's going to take us decades to see the full story. 'Til then, let's just trust that He knows what He's doing.


What would you add?

7 comments:

Angela Duke said...

Thank you so much for posting this. This is so true, and I definitely needed to read it.

The Wife of a Fisherman said...

Love this. Thank you. Shoe part made me laugh! But it is all so true!!

Domestic Diva In Training said...

Number 12 was my favorite...for obvious reasons. They were all wonderful and made me start thinking about all the things I wish I could go back and tell myself.

Amy @ Forever 29 said...

Such a great post! I would say that the only regret I have in life (so far) is not studying abroad in college. Life only gets more complicated as you age and spending a few months in another country is something I can only dream for in retirement...

meghan said...

Loved number 11! :)

Blue-Eyed Bride said...

i love this whole post. and you!

Smiling in the South said...

Love, love, love this and love you!

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