Notes to self

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I was sitting across the table from a delightful, fresh faced, twenty-something in an upbeat local restaurant the other day. I had invited her to lunch to pick her brain. Ages have passed since I was in her shoes, I wanted a view into her world. For a moment, I felt like I was talking to a much younger version of myself. The honest, comfortable conversation with my friend spurred me to write this, to both of us.

Some of what I’ve learned so far.

Enjoy where you are. You are young once. You aren’t suppose to know everything and you haven’t had time to conquer the world. That can come later, or you may choose not to worry with it. Still, just be 25 or 30, ask pertinent questions and don’t worry about looking dumb.

Don’t listen to negative people. No matter what you are doing, there will always be someone who wants to cut you down to size. You have to live your convictions, let God be your judge.

Be yourself. I have such a hard time with people who feel they have to look a certain way, dress a certain way and do certain things to “fit in.” This is even rampant in churches. Why do we all have to have a particular style? Fads are ridiculous. I see this all the time from young mothers who want their child to wear something exactly like some other mother’s kid.

I have only recently started letting my youngest sort her own socks. If she wants to wear a blue one and a green one, so be it. They are her feet and in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t matter to me one bit if they match. I have even almost given into her taste in clothing. She wears some pretty crazy stuff, but she is an individual and as long as she is clean, warm and covered I try to let it go. It’s a pity I had to live this long to come to this conclusion. Still, there are kids who are getting ulcers due to their mothers stressing over their clothes! I had to learn it’s more important to instill a sense of self in my child than make sure she has the cookie cutter bow and a trendy haircut.

Talk it out. It is vital to seek friendships with other women. I would not have made it all these years without my sister/friends. It is so refreshing and life giving to laugh with another woman about the realities of day to day. There are things we can get off our chests that our husbands don’t need to hear. I heard once a good rule of thumb is to make sure you have one girlfriend who is 10-15 years older and one 10-15 years younger with whom you can share the monumental and the mundane. I have been blessed with several of these.

Remember that “this too shall pass.” When all our lives are wrapped up in laundry, cooking, cleaning and forever driving people here and there, it’s easy to feel like things will never change. It is only when you pack up a kid for college or to start a new adventure that you realize those years went by so fast.

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