Advice I’d Give to My Younger Self

Cynthia Herron Snippets of Life 7 Comments

I recently connected with a dear friend from high school. (If you missed that post, you can read about it here.)

It’s been a joyful time.

We’ve texted and played phone tag. We’ve reminisced and walked down Memory Lane, and we’ve made plans to spend time together toward the end of the month.

I can’t wait!

I’ve not seen *Beth in about 25 years—since the last reunion we both attended. (Goodness gracious—how is that even possible?! We should still be wearing our bell bottoms and Farrah Fawcett hair and dancing to the Bee Gees at our favorite dariette!)

Ahh.

Well, as cliché as it sounds, time does march on.

Because of my dance with the past, this week’s been filled with poignant memories—some bittersweet and some laugh-out-loud funny.

And then there are those moments, too, that have pricked my heart as I’ve learned of other classmates’ loss.

I’ve thought about how short life really is. How one year melds quickly into the next the older we get.

Why did it take so long for Beth and I to reconnect?

We were good friends in high school.

We shared similar interests.

We laughed at the same silly jokes, liked the same songs, moved in the same circles.

Hmm.

I suppose we lost touch because our lives went in different directions for awhile. I did the education route first and family second, and for Beth it was the other way around.

Regardless—I’m thankful God reconnected us.

(Besides Beth, my longest enduring friendship is with my best friend from college. I’m very blessed.)

The great thing about the passage of time is the opportunity it affords us. We can watch it slip by or we can mature and grow.

Thankfully, I’ve grown.

I’ve tried new things.

I’ve stepped past my comfort zone.

I’ve adapted to change and I’ve adopted resiliency because of it.

Somewhere in my late 20s I realized there were certain things I wanted from life, and I began to plan. I made goals and I wrote them down.

I visualized outcomes.

Since I’m not one to sit back and linger on the sidelines too long (I’m a doer) that active mindset has served me well.

I’ve moved beyond the constraints of circumstances and explored the what ifs.

While many people view aging as an inhibitor, I’ve found it freeing. We’re not bound by the same level of expectation that we are when we’re younger so our societal (and self-imposed) bubbles no longer inhibit.

We still have obligations to meet, but we also avail ourselves to options.

It sounds incredibly archaic, but I wish I could tell today’s youth not to focus so much on living for the moment, but to live for the moment with purpose.

As teens and young adults, we’re just not thinking in long-term yet. Our world is our now. Because we don’t have many life experiences to gauge our future by, we make choices judged on our present.

Seems like the rational thing to do, right?

But the reality is—in our youth, we don’t think as clearly.

We’re rarely rational. Our brains are still guided by raging hormones and the sleepy fog of adolescence. It takes time to outgrow those necessary (and normal) checks and balances of nature.

God knew what He was doing when He created transitional life points. (Seasoning periods.) In other words, He knew a variety of experiences—good and some not so good—would be necessary as we climbed and mastered each rung of the maturity ladder.

I think if I could step back in time, I’d tell my younger self to appreciate the moment more…

To relish knowledge and never lose passion for desiring more.

After all—“more” is the perfect word when you frame it by God’s standards and what He wants for us.

***

(*For privacy considerations, not Beth’s real name.)

What are some things you’ve learned as you’ve matured?

Any advice for our youth today?

PLEASE SHARE

The perfect word when framed by God’s standards. (Click to Tweet)

Don’t focus so much on living for the moment. Live the moment with purpose. (Click to Tweet)

Blessings Always,

Comments 7

  1. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    I wanted to be a pilot when I grew up, until I learned I couldn’t do both. So I went flying.

    Seriously, advice? No, none at all.

    We’re creatures of eternity, and the time we spend here – and the time of lessons that defines our youth – is a necessary part of the maturing process.

    It’s something that may loom big as missed opportunities from the perspective of a life of threescore and ten, but on God’s calendar it’s nothing. No time has been lost, but the lessons are still gained.

    If we step back, and see the continuum of our lives from God’s perspective, the thought ‘if only!’ becomes meaningless…because every stupid thing we did has a meaning, turned a mark on our soul.

    Even those endless hours of high school history, when I yearned to leave the classroom in mid-boredom by jumping through the second-floor window.

    Until one day, I did, and it was worth it.

  2. Post
    Author
    Cynthia Herron

    Andrew—jumped “through” a second-floor window? What were you thinking?! (Glad you lived to tell about it!)

    Great perspective about the maturing process. And wonderful reminder about how God views time. Our earthly calendars are nothing when compared to God’s. You gave us more food for thought today—thank you!

  3. Melissa Tagg

    “What are some things you’ve learned as you’ve matured?”

    Wait, have I matured??

    Just kidding. I know in many areas I have. And other areas, I still have a long ways to go. 🙂 But I would say one area where I have and am currently still maturing is learning to be flexible and to walk with confidence into the unknown. I’m a planner by nature. I like to know what’s ahead, because then I can set goals and chart a course to getting there. But more and more, especially in the past few years, God has repeated the message to me that I don’t need to know every detail of what’s next…it’s possible to live in today, confidently, hopefully, expectantly…even when I’m not so sure what next year or next month or sometimes even next week is going to look like. There’s freedom in accepting and embracing that.

    So my advice for youth today? Get comfy with the unknown. Hold tight to what you DO know–that God is faithful and loving and he sees what you can’t. 🙂

  4. Post
    Author
    Cynthia Herron

    Melissa, I think you’re wise beyond your years! Such great advice—especially the “get comfy with the unknown” part. =) Hurrah for a loving, all-knowing God!

  5. Shelli Littleton

    Cynthia, I was just telling my daughter today that it didn’t matter if she had friends her age or not. In a few years, when she’s grown, she’ll have friends of all ages. That’s my experience, anyway.

    She enjoys working with younger kids … so she often misses out on knowing the kids her age. Personally, I think she misses out on drama … so, I don’t mind at all! 🙂

  6. Post
    Author
    Cynthia Herron

    Shelli, while I do think it’s good for kids to have friends their own age, true friendship breaks down age barriers I think.

    It sounds like our daughters are a lot alike—our daughter loves working with little ones, too. At church, she helps in Preschool Praise and she enjoys it so much. (And I wish you lived a tad closer—I’ve a feeling we’d spend a lot of time together. =) )

  7. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser

    Well, jumping was better than the class, and who thinks at 18?

    Actually, I was in good practice. I started jumping from high places when I was a pre-teen, and learned – through experience – how to land with minimal damage.

    Saved my life once, when I was climbing down some scaffolding and let go a few frames above the ground. I thought count frames coming down, and not have to look over my shoulder. I was wrong.

    But I landed on a plywood box, which kind of broke my fall, and a few bones. Not too many, though.

    Kind of like the time I thought I could keep a car going straight (on a straight road) by sole reference to my rear-view mirrors.

    I was wrong there, too.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *