A friend of mine from my teen years recently got married. Even though we lost touch, I still feel the same joy for her that I would if we were still a close part of each other's lives. She looked radiant and blissful.
In seeing the pictures floating around Facebook, I can't help but reminisce on the days of my past. For me, many of my high school days are but a blur of drunken, teenage angst. I feel a little bit of sadness come across me as I realize that I did nothing to enrich or grow the few close friendships I had in high school.
I was so consumed in myself and my needs that no one or nothing else was as important. I am disappointed that I hurt those that had given me nothing but love, compassion and fifth chances. I don't believe in regrets. I think every single thing that I did in my life was for a reason. I do, however, wonder how life would have gone had I done things a little bit differently.
If this version of me could go back to high school me, and even the first few years of "early adult" me, what would I say to that girl? How would I guide her to make the right choices? How would I let her know everything I've learned today?
Over the years, here are the things I've thought about that I wish I could have told my adolescent self:
- You are going to be OK.
- Pay a little more attention to what your parents say.
- He's using you.
- Don't take that sip!
- Run as far away as you can.
- Put down that cigarette.
- They aren't really your friends.
- Please get rid of that shirt.
- And that stupid dress.
- And your eyebrow ring.
- P.S. You'll hate that tattoo in 7 years.
- He really does love you.
- You aren't a failure.
- Enjoy naps.
- Stop skipping class.
- Your parents are actually kind of cool.
- Call your grandparents.
- It's OK to agree to disagree.
- It's also OK to simply say "no."
- It's OK not to want to do that, or wear that, or listen to that.
- Be authentic in all you do.
- You really aren't a good dancer. Stop dancing when you are drunk. This thing called the Internet exists.
- Then again, I hope you dance wherever you are. Dance like no one is watching.
- If you don't like him, you don't have to say yes.
- You mom really just cares.
- Do not break them up.
- Apologize. Don't do it again.
- Invest in a watch, and maybe start setting it 10 minutes ahead.
- Look for the good in everyone.
- Stop complaining.
- Stop missing out on opportunities because you are scared about what others will think.
- Follow. Your. Dreams.
- It's never too late to be brand new.
- Please don't eat ice cream at 3 a.m. Your hips will hate you for it.
- Chocolate Addiction does exist. Be prepared.
- Be wary of blue eyes. They'll get you time, and time, and time again.
- Texting and driving will get you dents on your car, among other things. Please. Stop.
- You can't rap. You look like an idiot. There will be video evidence for years to come.
- If it ain't working, walk away.
- Wear it if you like it. Not because everyone else says it's cool or not.
- Love fearlessly. Love yourself fearlessly.
- Go to church for the right reasons.
- Being an outsider is OK, so long as you are being yourself.
You see, my past is my past, and some of it is really mucky and foggy. Some of it is vibrant and beautiful. But each one of those things above that I didn't do got me to this moment. This moment in which I am finally finding out who I am. I am finally seeing what I want from life, and who I strive to become.
I'm reminded of a quote that says, "You can be the ripest, juciest peach in the world, and there's still going to be somebody who hates peaches." (Dita Von Teese)
I'm finally at a point today where I'm starting to learn that it is totally OK that not everyone likes peaches. I like peaches a lot! I always search for the best peach when I'm in the produce section. If it's too hard, too soft, too mushy, too bruised, I don't give it a second glance. It has to be perfect.
But, when I think about it, I'm sometimes too hard, or too soft, or too mushy, and much too bruised. I'm definitely not always the ripest or the juiciest peach. I'm definitely not perfect by any means, nor will I ever be. But I like myself today. I like the me who I am becoming. And I like that I can sit in my pain and my joy and my emotions and accept that sometimes, others just might not like me. And that is OK. That is freeing. I don't have to judge myself for what I'm not, or what I wish to be. I simply have to be me and continually make the effort to better myself, my walk with Christ, my relationship with my friends and family, and my actions.
I don't have to be perfect. And man, I love that.
Be well today, my friends. Be OK with who you are. Be OK with exactly the moment you are in. That moment is defining you. And whether you are a peach, a grape, an apple, or celery -- YOU are uniquely you, and that is wonderful.
This post originally appeared on BlissfullyErin.com.