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a note to my younger self

Steve and I, 1990. I was nearly 21.

Have you ever thought about what you’d go back and tell your 20 year-old-self, if you could? (for those of you who are 20-somethings, maybe go a bit younger!)

I’ve read several blog posts lately along these lines, and it’s set me to thinking. I am not the same person I was when I was 20 (thank heavens). I doubt you are either. Other than the tight bod and unwrinkled skin, I would not trade places with that girl! What would you go back and say to your younger self? For a start, here’s what I’d say:

Don’t worry so much about what people think. There’s always going to be someone who can find fault with what you’re doing, so just go ahead and live your life. You can’t please everyone, and you’d probably be a little boring if you could.

Embrace the new. Yes, you had a great upbringing surrounded by loving family, but don’t be afraid now to step out of that circle. The reason you are able to fly is because of that nurturing. You’ll be ok.

All those places you’ve dreamed about visiting? Yeah, you’ll see Paris. And Hawaii and Rome and London. And you’ll snorkel the Great Barrier Reef, ski in the Alps, travel in Europe, and live outside of your own country for at least 4 years. Get ready, girl!

Be sure to recognize true friendship when you see it. Some of your best friends will have lives with no resemblance to yours and that’s ok. That’s how you grow, and honestly it would be a little bit redundant if your friends were exactly like you. They will be older and younger than you, have different beliefs maybe, but you’ll be blessed to know them. Stay open.

Know your faith. It’s what is going to get you through your tough days. You are going to face heartache and pain. That is life. Be prepared for it by laying the groundwork now. Spend time in prayer and with your Bible.

Don’t expect your husband to be your ‘everything’. It’s not fair to him or you. Only God can fill that place in your life. You will have a much happier marriage if you put God first in your life. You’ll be amazed at what a marriage can truly be when you take that pressure off your husband.

You will not always be a nurse. You are actually going to spend years at home, raising children and (gasp!) homeschooling. I know, that one’s hard to believe, isn’t it? So silly, you, a homeschooler!! You were going to have a career. You don’t even necessarily like kids that much, right? It’s laughable. Get ready for the most overwhelming rush of love you’ve ever felt when you hold your first baby. I would try to describe it, but you would think I was exaggerating. I’m not. It will change you forever and how you look at the world, what’s important, and what your priorities are… when you become a mother. I’m not even going to tell you yet how many kids you end up having, because you’d probably run screaming in the other direction. 🙂

Take care of yourself.  It’s so easy to let all the tasks you need to accomplish take over your day. But like your Grandma used to say, You’re a human being, not a human ‘doing’. Give yourself permission to relax, read a book, take a walk, soak in the tub. The world will not stop turning if you rest, trust me!

Enjoy the small moments. Don’t always be looking ahead, wondering about what is to come. Take in what is going on around you right now. You will lose some of the most important people in your life, your children will grow up and set off on their own, and you will wish you could go back and enjoy those small moments again.

And that’s where I’ll end….what you think are the small things now are what you will remember most later on. Drink it in, girl.


This is a blog post I found archived from about 2010. It still applies!


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4 Responses

  1. Beautiful letter to your younger self.

    “Be sure to recognize true friendship when you see it. Some of your best friends will have lives with no resemblance to yours and that's ok. That's how you grow, and honestly it would be a little bit redundant if your friends were exactly like you. They will be older and younger than you, have different beliefs maybe, but you'll be blessed to know them. Stay open.”

    So, so true!

  2. I love your blog and these thoughts about what you would tell your younger self. One thing I would say is you are going to meet a curly-headed fellow in college who will be sitting behind you in one of your classes. Cherish him….he is going to make you laugh and fill your life with love! Take time with him and bring him as much joy as possible…don't always be a Martha where he is concerned….be a Mary too. You do Martha pretty well….Mary, you have to work on. Sit down with him and delight in his presence! That dimple when he smiles….try to make it appear as often as possible.

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Hi, I'm Jen!

As a military spouse of three decades and now the mom of an active duty son, my hope is to support you in your own military life. You’ll find help for your military marriage, deployments, PCS moves, and more!

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