May 31, 2017

My Birthday Letter: Dear Younger Me

It’s the last day of May which may be just be another day for you but today is my birthday (whoo hoo)! And friends, I love to celebrate and I’ll celebrate anything. Heck after we moved here, I came home and celebrated after I made my first friend. So yes, I like to celebrate.

But today I drafted a letter to my younger self, many birthdays ago, to celebrate this day. Join me…

Dear younger Laura, 

I write to you today- another May 31st, another year older. Here I am, 35 years old today, with some wisdom to share with you, younger self, a couple decades later. As a young teenage girl, I realize the future can be blurry, unknown, and confusing. Let me share with you- it still is. But there’s no need to hold back, despite challenges and fear (that will be experienced regardless), you are in for a fun ride with faith and courage.  Let’s celebrate!

In years to come there will be times of struggle, fear, vulnerability, loneliness, anger and confusion. There will also be joy, love, contentment, gratitude, adventure & travel, and so much laughing that your face will hurt. It’s a wild ride, and it’s only just begun, but clinging to God through the highs and lows will guide you in the journey… because there is joy and thankfulness in everyday. There’s reason to celebrate everyday. There is so much good in the world. Celebrate it!

As a teenage girl spending all your time with your best friend down the street, know that many years later you are still just as close to this best friend even though after high school you’ll always live at seemingly opposite ends of the country. You’ll develop friendships that will be priceless as you age. Know that the relationships you make and maintain will still be one of the most important things you cherish.

As a teenage girl involved in sports/activities for the friendships, exercise, and to be healthy (not really for the competition), know that in years to come that will still be the same. Except you will marry a wonderful man who gives hard work, passion, and competition a whole new meaning to you. 

As a teenage girl figuring out how to take chances, know that you’ve just got to do it- even when you’re scared. I know that taking the leap of faith is scary and uncomfortable, but it’s always worth it. Take the chance, pursue the dream, and keep talking to God in times of doubt. These leaps of faith end up being milestones in your life that give you most joy. You’ll be able to travel to different places and open your eyes to the beauty around you- even just in your backyard. You’ll be reminded of the kindness of others- even as you live in different states and work at different jobs. Celebrate the opportunities. 

As a teenage girl navigating self image, know that you are beautiful and to avoid comparing yourself to other people- the money they have, the way they look, the vacations they take, etc. That stuff is meaningless. “They” are navigating their own journey too- even as adults. Know that confidence and humility make leaps of faith and memories a joy. Twenty years later, these are things that I now reinforce to my children (and myself).  

As a teenage girl figuring out your voice and how to speak up, know that people want to hear your voice. Even though many years later you are still dealing with Voice Volume Control Issues (#truth, the struggle hasn’t ended yet), take comfort in knowing that your voice matters. It will always matter. Even when you hesitate, speak up. Do it afraid. 

 

 

When I reflect on past birthdays on this day, I remember…

  • Family parties with balloons, colorful party hats, goodie bags, games, and lots of singing. I remember cousins coming over to celebrate and even having some friends over. 
  • Gathering with friends… either a relaxing by a campfire, going out for dinner, a surprise birthday party or two, etc. These are some of my favorite birthday memories. 
  • Sometimes having a day off of school because May 31st is so close to Memorial Day. I mean, birthdays and BBQ’s are practically synonymous!
  • The official kickoff to summer!

 

 

As for my birthday this year…

  • It’s not about the gifts, it’s about the people- Actually I recently got together with friends in Minneapolis and the time spent with these lifelong friends was irreplaceable. By car and by plane, we gathered and it was the time we made to spend together that mattered. It’s about the people. And today, I’ll be spending it with my little family.
  • It means joy spent with my little family- If there’s one thing I am ultimately thankful for, it’s my little family under the same roof. I am sincerely joyful when we are all together- and I don’t even care what we’re doing, where we are, or anything. I am more reflective than ever each year I age, and spending quality time with my little family always comes out on top. Now as a mother myself, I am reminded of how precious life is and how quickly it goes by.
  • Happy & content- in our Midwest community, I have discovered that the beautiful sky goes on for miles and miles (literally), I swear it’s sunnier here than in the Northeast, and small town life brings you back to the basics of life. It’s not about the rushing and traffic, and hustle and bustle. It’s about slowing down and being in the joy.

So here’s to another Happy Birthday! Eat the cake, continue to laugh loudly (as usual), and take leaps of faith with courage- even when you’re scared.

The road is good. Enjoy the ride. It’s time to celebrate!

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