Sit down for a minute and read this. It’s a letter from the future you. Don’t skim it and scan it and roll your eyes. Read it, okay?
Your birthday is in 10 days and you will be 25. You probably think that the perfect birthday celebration would be to have a party or hang out with Ben in some swank city restaurant in a bustling city. But let me tell you, in 10 years, your perfect day will not include extravagance and excitement at all. You’ll wish for simple things, like a house that is clean from top to bottom (all at the same time), laundry washed, dried and folded and put away, and peace and quiet to read a good book, think and write. You probably think that sounds boring, and that’s precisely the point.
Can I share with you some wisdom from your future?
- Take advantage of this season of your life where your time and attention are not split in a million different directions. Write more. Journal your thoughts so that your 35-year-old self won’t have to try so hard to remember the details of how you used to think.
- Get rid of your TV and learn to limit the time you spend online. The emails, instant messages and TV shows (The Young & the Restless, Oprah, Sex & the City) that seem so important, urgent and satisfying right now will mean NOTHING to you in 10 years. Keep it all in perspective.
- Don’t judge mothers who have crayon writings on their walls or cheerios on the floor or piles of laundry sitting around. Instead, ask the mom if she would like a babysitter so she can have some time to herself for a couple of hours.
- In 10 years you will live in the exact same house you live in right now, but with 3 kids. Don’t have a heart attack. Yes, you will live in Keene again. I’m telling you this so you can convince Mami to change the wallpaper in the Master Bathroom now, or it’ll be on your to-do list in 2012.
- Don’t eat so much sugar. Stop putting sugar in your yogurt and cereal. And stop living for cake and cookies and brownies and pie. Carbs are not your friend, so go easy on the bread. I know you have no desire to eat meat right now, but you will one day, so stop being so self-righteous about it now.
- Use your free time, …wait, let me tell you, you have LOTS OF FREE TIME RIGHT NOW….even though you may not think you do, you do. Use your free time to learn to garden and live a more sustainable life. Take classes in this. Soak it all in, even if you can’t envision the purpose right now.
- Next year you’ll decide to start reading the Bible all the way through for the first time. It will change your life in ways you can’t even imagine right now. So, why not start now? Go ahead. Open up, … I don’t know, Galatians, Hebrews, Romans, Colossians … start reading and start asking God questions. Your co-worker, Melissa, will be the one to invite you to the church where you’re a member now. Yes, I know…Melissa is not Adventist and she doesn’t attend a black church. Ha! Trust me. God’s got this all figured out. Don’t try to make sense of it now.
- In 10 years you and Ben will still be married for 8 years. He’s a great husband and father. You’ll have a 4-year-old boy and 2-year-old twin girls. Can you believe it? You’ll still look at Ben and see the same guy that you have fun hanging out with now. Only your love and respect for him will have gotten deeper and more meaningful. He’ll still be the guy who wants to make Delina happy. Start showing him now, that you will always support him no matter what.
- Here’s some more good news. You’ll weigh the same in 1o years than you do now. Here’s the not-so-good news: Your shape will have changed considerably (you will be pregnant twice, carry twins and breastfeed for what will seem like forever). You won’t ever be able to wear the clothes that you’re wearing now, so don’t hang on to them or spend too much money on them now.
- Caroline will still be your best friend in 2012, remember that when y’all have the fight of the century. Your relationship will evolve and grow up. What a gift it will be to have a friend who knows you, warts and all. Treasure her now. And take her advice, stop being so judgmental.
- Your nephew will be born this year. All you will feel like doing is playing with him and hugging and kissing him, but give your sister a little love too. Support her in her new motherhood. Don’t tell her that cloth diapering is gross. Go make her life easier and support her decisions. She’ll do it for you in the future and there will be no way to return the favor.
I guess I could tell you which companies to buy stock in, or what lottery numbers will win…but that would not necessarily make your life easier or better or more satisfying. The only thing that matters in life is faith, relationships and love. Don’t let anything or anyone stand in the way of you expressing love to those around you. No matter what bumps in the road you face, remember that God is faithful. I wish I could explain to you how cool God is, how REAL He is, how amazingly good He is. I wish I could articulate GRACE in words that you would understand. If I wrote it out to you right now, you wouldn’t even get it. You will experience a lot in the next 10 years and every moment will be designed by God for you to “get it.” Rest in that. Do you even know that that means? Feel peace about it. I know you’ve felt peace about things before. You felt peace during your first week at UT. You felt peace in your decision to move back to Texas. Peace with God is like that, only it doesn’t go away….ever, and it’s not because you’ve finally got your act together.
Which brings me to my next point. You’ll never have your act together. And that’s okay. Don’t kill yourself trying to attain the unattainable. Just keep plugging along. Pour yourself into the things that God puts on your heart. Be kind to yourself and those around you.
You’ve been talking about writing a book, Life Sucks and then You Die…but at 35, you’ll want to change that title to Life Sucks, but God is Good. Hang in there.
p.s. Here’s a snapshot of your life in 10 years. I won’t show you the cereal on the floor, the sticky counters or piles of laundry…but here’s a day when everyone showered. This is what you have to look forward to: Love in abundance and happy family life.