Four Things I Wish My 17-Year-Old Self Knew

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me, you can do nothing.” John 15:5

Oh child, you believe you’re so grown and that this is all there will ever be. The fantasies in your head about the future you might have one day seem all so distant. As you go through motions of your everyday life, don’t bask too long, because I promise, the best is yet to come.

Of all the ups and downs, highs and lows, that we’ve gone through, there is four things I wish I could you knew:

Spend More Time with Your Friends

Don’t spend so much time working. Yes, you’re making money, but you’re losing out on precious time to spend making memories with the friends you still have. Those are rare bonds that will eventually fade away with time, and that will be missed dearly. So, ask for more weekends off, have more sleepovers, go see more movies, sit out under the stars a few more times, have a few more silly string wars and drink too much soda. Just do it. Those are the good times that you don’t want to miss out on.

CrossCountry

Stop Craving Attention

As a great man once said, “Boys are SCUM!” Especially in high school. You are a gem, and you don’t need verification of that from any boy who looks your way. He might make you feel special, and like you’re the only one that really gets him, and that you two are gonna grow up and get married and yada-yada. Spoiler alert: That doesn’t play out. Trust me, I know. I can tell you, that boy won’t “love” you more after you give him what he wants. It’s highly doubtful he’ll love you at all. Don’t be afraid to say no.

Listen to Mom!

I absolutely can’t stress this enough. Listen to Mom! She might drive you crazy at times and get into your personal life more than you would like, but guess what? That’s her job! Realize that it is her job and her mission to keep you safe and make sure that you know you’re loved. At this point, you should know that it is because of her that you have even half of the self-esteem that you do. Because she always knew how to build you up and make you see how important you were. That being said, listen to mom. She’s your greatest asset, your truest friend, and without a doubt, one of the best people in your life (even now).

Momma

It’s Okay to be Sad

On most days, you are an almost annoyingly happy person. You’re pretty much an extrovert that always tries to see the positive side of life. However, you’ve had a plethora of incredibly awful times, more than one your age should have dealt with. I know you feel like it’s not fair, and it’s not. You’re absolutely right, it is not fair at all. But that doesn’t mean that it’s going to go away. It’s okay to be sad about the things that have gone wrong, and about the very dear people you’ve lost, as long you know that you can’t stay that way. You can’t stay at the bottom of the barrel, feeling broken and down on yourself. You have to learn to get up, splash some water on your face and keep going. God isn’t through with you, not even close.

I am so blessed by all the amazing things that God has done in my life. I know that all of the hard things put in my path only made me stronger and shaped me in the woman I am today. God knew that I would make some really stupid mistakes, but He also knew that He put some incredible people in my life that would help show me how to turn those (self-inflicted) lemons into lemonade that is oh, so sweet. I have come to realize that some of my greatest blessings wouldn’t have come had I not made some of my greatest mistakes.

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