Monday, August 26, 2013

Letter To My 28 Year Old Self

Today I watched this hilarious little comedy sketch* where a peppy little late 20's girl sings a song about her (love) life whilst sitting alongside her future early 30's self--a now bitter soul. The video was a perfect example of what a difference two years makes--especially when you're a single woman straddling strategic decades.

Younger version sings about feeling so happy about her life--how she's finally come into her own, feeling like a confident, beautiful, grownup with "plenty of time" left to find true love. Late 20's grins with much hope as she strums her innocent little ukulele and dreams about the bright future ahead.

Twenty seconds later, the scene shifts...

Slightly older version ditches the cute ukelele, instead opting for angry screamo. She proclaims obnoxiously, through a myriad of expletives: "THERE'S NOBODY LEFT! I'M ALL ALONE!!" Depressed and jaded, "31" resents her younger self for being so "naive" and optimistic, whilst she sadly counts each day that passes with no prospects in sight.

Art imitates life? Yes, indeed. I've been here: At the crazy crossroads of hope and bitterness, trying hard not to succumb to the sarcastic temptations of the "older version" of the beautiful girl.

The truth is, there was and is wisdom in both seasons. Over the last two years, I've forgotten some very important lessons (or decided they were somehow untrue of me now that I crossed the threshold into my 30's) I once knew, but I've also learned some valuable truths my more "innocent" 28 year old self had yet to discover.

If my former and present selves were to sit down next to the other and offer some timely life-stage wisdom to the other, it just might come out like this...

What my 28 year old self should have been told by older, wiser, present-day me:

-Don't judge those who are older than you and still single. Don't think you could never be one of them...

-Consider your guy friends--young, single guys are a dime a dozen in environments like YWAM, but the numbers decrease drastically outside "the bubble" of Christian colleges, camps and missions orgs. Years down the road, you start to question why exactly you passed by those great options in favor of something more shiny and new.

-Don't get too focused on one guy, assuming that one day he'll "come around" and realize how amazing you are. Don't compare everyone else to him and thus ignore any other prospects. Remember that if he hasn't pursued you, he's just not that into you. This is okay! You're young and you still have time (note: late 20's is not old!!). Move on and keep your eyes open!

-Go out more and get to know more people. Have fun and make the most out of being young and single. Don't be passive about your "waiting."

-It's okay to flirt. Try it... ;)

-Someday soon, people will start calling you "Ma'am." Sorry sweetie, this is inevitable. Try not to be offended, as it is not a personal reflection on you, merely that store clerks and Starbucks baristas are getting younger and younger and they've been (mistakenly) taught that this is a term of respect to anyone older than 24. But don't worry, this unfortunate occurrence is made up for by the fact that you will still often get carded and catch the eye of younger men when you go out. Because of your fun and youthful personality, revealing your real age will continue to shock people time and time again :)

-Be open to new possibilities when it comes to your "type." As much as it may shock you now, in the next few years, you'll suddenly find yourself interested in men in the military, guys with blond hair (or no hair!), dudes with beards...and (gasp!) even a few hipsters. It's okay; go with it. Enjoy the variety while you're still single...before you need to settle down with just one :)

-Don't commit too quickly. Take your time getting to know guys (especially online). Are there any red flags? Like, legitimate deal breakers that you won't even tell your family or girlfriends about because you know they will tell you to break it off. Hmmmm. Yeah. About that... Kill it now, girl. Don't even go there. Seriously. Regret sucks...

-Lastly, remember how sexy you feel right now. In two years, you will look nearly the same. Turning 30 doesn't somehow age you more drastically than normal. You will still be attractive 2 years from now. Don't let age define how you feel about yourself.

What my 30 year old self needs to learn from the younger, innocent dreamer me:

-Be hopeful and trust that God is working...especially when you feel the worst and don't see any glimpse of change. Remember that God has always been faithful to you. He's always provided...

-It's true what people say: You get better with time. Just two years ago, you loved who you were and how you looked. You were thankful to have found your own style, to be living out of your strengths and to be confident enough to enjoy your youth. You are getting better, not worse. Believe it...

-Don't be jealous of your friends getting married; be happy for them...keeping in mind that you will be that girl one day! :) Trust that God is preparing a love story for you that is equally (if not more) amazing.

-Don't settle. Don't let another birthday compel you to cross a deal-breaker off the list.

-It's okay to flirt. Seriously. Pure and sexy CAN by synonymous.

-Don't long for a 21 year old body (remember what it felt like to be 21...your view of yourself was far more paranoid than pretty. Don't let the photos deceive you...). A 30 year old body (with it's accompanying 30 year old mind) will have more grace on itself and learn to see itself as more gorgeous with each passing year.

-Look in the mirror. You have a wonderful smile, gorgeous eyes and nice...ahem..."feminine features." Believe it. You are a gift.

In short, if present and past me were to convene, the consensus would seem to be "Prepare to be surprised." As 30 would say, Be open to what the Lord will do...and as 28 would remind, trust that God is at work.

It's never too late when God is involved.

*I have to give credit where credit is due. The video I'm referring to is called "29/31" and is by a band called Garfunkel and Oates. You can look it up if you'd want, although I couldn't bring myself to put a link here (handful of F bombs and the C-word. Yikes!). Funny and idea inspiring, nonetheless! So,'ve been given proper citation...and warning! Do as you will.

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