I have always loved the song “Letter To Me,” by Brad Paisley. People can say that they have no regrets and that may be true but for me I know I have regrets over at least some small things in my life. I wish I hadn’t missed my great-grandma’s funeral for a basketball game and I wish I hadn’t thrown a shoe at my sister’s head on a family roadtrip. However, I also love the thought that, even in retrospect, we wouldn’t change certain things.
This week I saw a YouTube video that really made me think. It had people of various ages offering advice to their self one year prior to their current age; for example, a 10-year-old counseling their 9-year-old self. It made me ponder what my 26-year-old self would tell my 25-year-old self. I decided to try it out.
Dear 25-year-old self,
Calm down. I know that you just got home from your mission and you want to continue to progress but reading your scriptures for an hour a day was never realistic. It seemed like a good idea on the airplane on the way home but you have to cut yourself some slack.
You’ll lose your mission weight too so stop stressing about that. The tortillas were worth it and the people you ate them with changed your life.
Stop comparing yourself to other people. God has a plan for you just like he has a plan for them but the timing will be different. Be happy for your friends’ happiness and know that they will be happy for yours.
Speaking of your friends, you have hit the friend jackpot over and over again. You’ll hit it again this year. Cherish your old friends but make room in your life for new ones too. Sit on the grass and talk about life. Play with sparklers in the backyard. Go on hikes and slide down snow-covered mountains. Dance even when you feel insecure and sing songs until way past your bedtime. In one word: live.
You’ll soon learn that money isn’t everything and you’ll learn the hard way. This lesson is important and it will even affect your dating so that job at the charter school where you’ll make bank but be miserable, it’s necessary. Don’t be afraid to take a 50 percent pay cut and walk away, you’ll never regret it.
“Sometimes when things are falling apart they may actually be falling into place.” A friend sent us this quote this week and I realized that is a lesson that we keep learning, you and I, but then we immediately forget. A lot of things will seem to be falling apart for you this year but a lot of things will also fall into place. Look for God’s hand and be patient if you can’t see it immediately.
You will be set up on a million dates. It will be exhausting but you should probably still go. You’ll learn that funny is important but not as important as someone who is kind. You’ll learn the hard way that just because someone says they like you after kissing you doesn’t mean they’ll ever call again. As much as I would love to tell you that guy’s name and warn you not to go out with him, I think it was actually good for us. So go out with him and put your heart on the line.
You’re probably mad at me right now and wondering why I won’t tell you. Let me explain, remember on your mission when you would go teach one family, a family with whom you had shared sacred, precious experiences and out of nowhere they would break your heart and tell you they didn’t want to learn more? You were crushed. It literally hurt.
But then five minutes later you would knock on the door of a family you had never taught before and you offered your heart to them like it had never been broken, just hoping that they would accept what you were offering? That is what you’re going to need to do in dating this year. You may find love and you may not (wouldn’t you like to know?) but your mission softened your heart and made you vulnerable. Don’t give it a chance to become hard again. Pick up the pieces every time, piece it together and give it to someone else. You will lose nothing by loving. And God will heal your broken heart every single time.
“Have courage and be kind.” You’ll hear these words in the movie "Cinderella" (which you should definitely go see because it is magical) and it’s true. This is what your life will require in the next year. Don’t let anyone or anything keep you from taking risks and from being kind.
You’ll experience a lot of change this year and we both know that change is hard on us. You had a hard time when you first went to college but then you loved it. You struggled at the beginning of your mission and then you struggled when you came home. This year will be full of change. You’ll move four times in a little over a year. You’ll switch jobs multiple times. And you know how our parents are always talking about how they would like to move? This year, they are actually going to do it. All of this change will be difficult but just remember that change has brought about almost all of the best experiences of your life.
I would love to tell you that this will be the best year of your life but the truth is, just like every other year, it will be what you make it.
Messages of Faith
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