Just for Me
A Letter to 16-Year-Old Me
I heard someone say “If only I could be 16 again”. I quickly replied “Oh no, I wouldn’t want to go back there”; not because 16 was such a bad place, I just think 44 is a pretty good place. The conversation continued with them saying “yes, but if I knew then what I know now I would do things differently.”
Not long after our conversation I heard Brad Paisley singing “If I could write a letter to me”. That prompted me to think about my own life and what I would tell 16-year-old Karla that would not necessarily change the past but would assure me that 44 year old Karla would be okay. If I were to write a letter to my younger self it would go something like this…
You’re 16 and at the brink of adulthood. Over the next few years you will begin to discover who you are and who you want to be. It will not be easy and at times you will feel that your world is crashing down on you. Those feelings are both natural and necessary. You will find love and believe that it will last forever. Do not be surprised when you heart gets broken and you cry yourself to sleep wondering what you did wrong. Trust me when I tell you that it is not your fault. It is obvious that this is not the right relationship for you and your heart will heal.
As a matter of fact, a few short years from now you will meet a man, fall in love, marry him and start a family. He will be the right one. You will know that this man will never hurt you the way others have. He will be your rock. He will never walk in front of you because he will always be by your side, ready to catch you if you fall.
You will find that you make friends relatively easy however you will discover that a lot of friends are not necessary for happiness. Some of these friends will leave your life for legitimate reasons while others will need to be “excused” because they are not good for you. Know that it is okay to “purge” your friendship list from time to time and if those purged get angry that is okay too. Your heart will know and guide you through these difficult times and by the time you are 44 you will know who your true friends are. You will also reconnect with a few from your past who will bring you so much joy that the only regret you will have is that you let them stay in the past too long. Embrace these relationships; nurture and cherish them because they will be your lifeline.
You will become a mother and think that nothing will ever separate you from your children. Life will not be sunshine and rainbows with them; you will hurt them and they will hurt you. There will be a few surprises along the way; some that will bring you to your knees. You will find that this hurt is necessary for you to dig deep into your soul and figure out who you really are and what you really believe. Up until then you relied on the teachings of your own childhood to carry you through. These will be challenging and rewarding experiences and the end result will be renewed relationships and a stronger family.
You are going to be called to do things in your adult life that right now seem outrageous and unreachable and will be met with resistance and conflict. Remember to hold on to your faith and allow yourself to make decisions based on your own needs and those of your family. Never lose sight of who you are and you will find that being 44 will give you great joy.
Karla, as your children grow and begin to leave the nest your heart will hurt not for them but for you. You will miss them terribly but you will begin to adjust and realize that now is the time for you and your husband to embark on the next phase of your life journey. Know that as I write this I do not have a crystal ball and cannot predict the future. Know that you will continue to have ups and downs because that is just the way it is supposed to be. Those ups and downs are like the blobs of clay that a potter uses to mold and shape into beautiful art. Allow yourself to be molded by life’s challenges and you will continue to grow more beautiful than you already are. I look forward to meeting you at 44 and continuing on the journey of life…
44 Year Old Me