Dear 16 year old Amy,
Could you spare a few minutes from your new boyfriend to read this letter? I know it will be hard. You can’t seem to take your eyes or hands off of him, but I know you’re smart and really want to do the right thing so listen up.
That boy that has stolen your attention? You’re right–he’s a keeper. He’ll make you crazy and you’re gonna go through some hard things together but he’s worth hanging on to. So enjoy all those kisses, the glazed over eyes and yes, even the cheesy poems and letters. It doesn’t last forever.
But the waiting? It’s worth the judgment and the explanations and all the no’s. Your wedding night is awkward and painful and not anything like the movies but it will be all kinds of good and right and you do get better. So much better.
Quit worrying about that cute boy at church who said you were ugly. He’ll grow up and still won’t be able to take his eyes off himself long enough to realize he was wrong.
And that girl you want to be just like? She’s beautiful and great and all. But so are you. I wish you’d realize you just need to be you instead of a poor carbon copy of some other girl.
Stop obsessing over your waistline.
Relax, please. I know your mom wants you to do your best at school and you do too but that doesn’t mean you have to do THE best. Study a little less and spend time with your friends and family a little more.
Those moments you have with God where tears drip on your Bible and you hug your pillow tight? Trust those. He’s really real and He’ll keep meeting you over and over and saving you over and over.
And on that note, quit trying to be so perfect so He loves you more. No matter what you do, He’ll still be there. Give yourself some grace. I’m not telling you to purposefully screw up, but don’t be scared and fearful when you do.
And more than that, quit expecting everyone else to be so perfect. You and your friends are just kids right now and for goodness sakes, you’re all just human. No one ever really figures life out and gets it right. The best thing you can do is love with abandon and not judgment.
But that love you feel for the ignored and the hurt? Follow that more. You’ll still feel that way later and it will lead you down the right paths.
Let go of the fear. All of it.
Appreciate your parents even more than you do. You don’t realize it but not everyone has parents like yours. Say thank you more, hug them more and don’t complain so much when you have to wash dishes.
Please pay more attention in English. You think you’re a math whiz, but it turns out you kind of like that writing business.
Now if I know you and I think I do, you’ll make this in to a checklist and try to follow it to a T. Don’t. Just throw it away. Throw all your lists away and just enjoy life a little more. Maybe you’ll help me finally learn how to let go.
34 Year Old You
This post was written in part for the launch of Emily Freeman’s book Graceful.