Thursday, July 25, 2013

What I'd Tell Myself if I Were 22

I looked down at my phone today and saw the date...July 25, 2012.

I realized that in 4 months exactly, I will be 38 years old. It seems crazy! I was just explaining to someone the other day that inside I don't feel nearly 40 years old. I feel more like 22 (haha...intentional Taylor Swift reference there).

Have you heard "22" by Taylor Swift? If not, here's the video...

Granted, I wasn't a single girl partying with her friends on the weekends and "falling in love with strangers" when I was 22. But I can identify with the lyric, "happy, free and confused." I had been married nearly a whole year when I turned 22. It was so fun to be out of the house for good, in a new city with my best friend and new husband. We had great times! But we were also feeling around in the dark a lot of the time, just trying to find our way. Everything was so new and yet so terrifying!

Us now...

What would Angie and Bobby in their mid-30's have to say to the two young love birds below?

Me and my honey, so young and in love.
 I was probably right at 22 here and he would have been 20.

Listening to that song got me reminiscing. I can't speak for my husband, but I do have a few things I'd like to say to my 22 year old self, 15 years later!

-I'd tell her to forgive herself NOW. 22 year old Angie was carrying around a lot of guilt and shame for mistakes from her past and had a hard time letting it go. I'd tell her that God loves her unconditionally and that the sooner she gets that, the sooner she can move on and live in the freedom Jesus died for her to have.

-I'd tell her that she was not a screw up. 21 year old Angie quit school and left her friends and professors in a pretty shameful way (just a few voice mail messages to some people who really cared about her...they deserved better). I would tell her that she was young, immature and while she knew she was being a coward by just taking the easy way, the truth is, it would have been too painful to look at the disappointment in their eyes, so she chickened out of doing the right thing. I'd tell her that it's okay, to let it go and to do better next time.

-I'd tell her NOT to trade in the paid for car from her parents for a shiny new car with a big ol' car payment (even though it was an awesome car!). That the less bills you have, the better!

-In that same vein, I'd tell her that credit cards were the devil! I'd tell her that she could trust God for what she needed and if she didn't have the cash to pay for something, she didn't really need it (I'd also tell her that student loans follow you around the rest of your life, and to try to pay for classes with cash!).

-I'd tell her to really, really, REALLY treasure her husband and start treating him with respect because he was just 20 years old and really struggling trying to figure it all out and needed that extra boost of confidence from her.

-I'd tell her not to use sex as leverage in her marriage. I'd tell her that those games caused deep feelings of rejection that would take years to heal.

-I'd tell her not to scramble, panic or try to figure it all out. She was always in a panic trying to get things done and trying to figure out the future. But there was no need for that. I would tell her to start learning to wait on God and seeking the Holy Spirit to let Him do the leading.

-I would tell her that she REALLY should start taking care of herself and making diet and exercise an important part of her life. I'd tell her that at 22 all she needed to lose was about 30 lbs, but at 37, she would need to lose 110! All because she has a bad attitude toward health and fitness. I would tell her that her 37 year old self would thank her for sparing her from joint pains in her knees and hips from being obese and carrying too much weight, from feeling exhausted all the time because she ate right and exercised. I would tell her to START NOW!

-I would tell her that she should NOT quit singing for anything! 22 year old Angie got discouraged and quit singing for the most part after she quit school, but I would tell her not to give up on her passion. I would tell her that if she keeps plugging away little by little that by the time she's 37, she would most definitely have a viable, thriving singing career.

-I would tell her that she's not disqualified! That although she made mistakes in her past, her past does not define her and that she can move forward with the dreams and goals God placed in her heart. 22 year old Angie thought that God was mad at her and took all her dreams away as punishment, but 37 year old Angie would tell her that is a lie and to cast that down!

-I would tell her that she has an enemy and that she has to stay vigilant a recognize his schemes and lies. That this enemy seeks to destroy her and her family, but that God has a better plan and through Christ, she is always the winner!!!

-I would tell her that she should finish college as soon as she can! It took 8 years to finish after she went back, but I would tell 22 year old Angie to make it a priority to just go full time and get it done!

-I would tell her to SAVE, SAVE, SAVE! As a 22 year old, she didn't save money EVER, but I would tell her that her older self would thank her because she had gotten into the habit of saving and had a safety cushion when hard times came. I would tell her that she would have a LOT of hard times and would be grateful for having put back some savings!

-I would tell her to grow up and take care of her business now! Young Angie never really kept a budget or knew what was going on with her finances. She didn't keep a detailed checkbook and spent money without thinking. I would tell her that these bad habits would get her into a lot of trouble and that she'd experience a terrible fleecing of her money...that it would always filter through her fingers like sand if she didn't get her house in order!

-And I would tell her that her husband really is a gem and will be by her side through everything and that Jesus is her best friend. I would tell her that they will go through a lot together and that her husband is her biggest fan and that he loves her more than anything. I would also tell her that Jesus is her reason for living. That she will never be satisfied until she gets one on one with Him and makes Him her everything. I'd tell her that Jesus is her promised land and the sooner she realizes this the better off she'll be because it will save her from wandering around in the desert searching for something that is already there.

And do you know what's funny folks? Reading through these, I'm thinking, "I bet the 52 year old Angie (52? Yikes!) would have a few things to say to 37 year old Angie. And it would be a shame if it was the same list!

I know what I do NOW will either serve me down the road, or be a detriment to me. Not taking care of myself is one example. What will my health be in 15 years if I continue the same way I am now with no change? I feel tired and run down, I can only imagine how much worse I would feel at 52 if I don't get it together! And money issues? I can either start saving NOW or be in a really bad place 15 years from now, getting older and older and older with less time to prepare for our retirement years.

So as I jot down some things the 37 year old Angie would tell the 22 year old Angie, it begs the question, "Will I learn from this so the 52 year old Angie doesn't wish she had taken better steps 15 years earlier?"

Gotta keep reminding myself that small changes over time make a GIANT impact!!!

What would you tell your 22 year old self? Or if you're still young, what would you tell your teenage self?  Are you still repeating the same patterns over and over, or have you learned some lessons along the way?

It's a good exercise in evaluating where you've been, where you are now and where you want to be.

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