The first time I remember realizing that I had so many choices was the afternoon my parents waved goodbye as they drove away from Baylor… leaving me to learn to grow up and rely on my own. It was exciting and scary.
No one was there to monitor my choices. I chose my major (actually I chose that twice since I didn’t like my first choice), my schedule, the groups I joined, whether or not I studied, what I ate at every single meal (which for me was AMAZING and I pretty much ate junk for awhile… because I could… and no one was making me eat veggies – hallelujah!), who I dated, if I attended church, if I partied, etc. It felt pretty awesome to be grown up. Or at least I thought I was grown up.
It didn’t take long before I realized that, yes, I could make any choice I’d like but that those choices brought consequences. Some good… like making all A’s due to my choice to study. Some bad… like the serious stomach aches I would get from eating junk every day for months. Because that will eventually catch up to you. (That one I’m still trying to master.)
But there were larger consequences from other choices that ended up teaching me some of the best (hardest) lessons. Because although you get to choose, you don’t get to choose your consequences. That’s a hard lesson in itself. All those lessons shaped who I am today. The person that looks at me in the mirror is no longer the person I saw back then. I’m grateful for that because I like the person I am today.
If I was able to talk to my younger self, this is what I’d say:
- God’s “no’s” will protect you. Fiercely trust His heart.
- You are going to absolutely LOVE college life. And you should. Enjoy the ride.
- Trust your intuition. It will save you from so many things later in life.
- Dance more
- Appreciate the body you have. One day you’ll wish you had it back.
- Accepting help doesn’t mean you’re weak.
- Travel, explore, be adventurous.
- You can’t change anyone but you. So focus on changing you.
- You are going to be a parent. It is the hardest job you’ll EVER have. But you’ll love it.
- You are MUCH stronger than you give yourself credit for. Stand up for yourself and don’t give your power away to anyone.
- Whatever you do. Do not, and I repeat do not… pluck the hairs on your chin. Believe me when I say you will one day regret it.
- Learn to say “no”.
- You are not going to do well in speech. It’s OK. Give yourself a break and move on. Public speaking just isn’t your thing.
- Learn what boundaries are. Healthy people have them… so get some.
- Don’t get so stressed about grades. You’re smart. Grasp that truth.
- Appreciate the job you have at Pizza Hut and the work-ethic you’ll learn. It will serve you well all through your life.
- A can of icing is not a meal. (and your boss at Pizza Hut will feed you…ASK him)
- There are so many things about life you can’t control. Things will happen you won’t like and when they do… see #1.
So yeah… those are just a few things. There are so many others but the bottom line is this… God gives us free choice. It’s our decision what we do with it. I’ve also learned, though, that if we make a choice and it doesn’t work out, the decision normally comes back around again so you can make a different one. That realization brings me so much peace when I make decisions. It takes most of the stress away.