Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Happy 20th Birthday from 30 Year Old Me

Dear 20 year old Melissa -

First off, can I just say that you look fabulous? Stunning, actually.  Though, I know that even though you are barely a size 8, you sometimes doubt it and look in the mirror and wonder what the long term effects of having a baby have done to your figure. STOP THAT. For serious, girlfriend. Aaand, rock that natural hair color, for soon, after many coloring attempts, you will forget what that color actually looks like and have to refer to pictures to jog your memory.

Secondly - Happy Birthday. You are 20 today; I am 30. Geeze, you are such a baby, barely even an adult. You can't even drink legally. In 9 days you will marry your beau, the father of your current and future children. You stress to everyone around you that you completely know what you are doing, and are very mature beyond your years. You are - to a degree, but you sincerely lack life experience, so no, you don't have it all figured out, despite how much you think you do.

I am pleased to say that ten years later you are still married to him, and your family has grown exponentially. All I am going to say is...Remember that one night, after you and Wil had been drinking some - you expressed that you absolutely wanted a big family with at least four children? Be careful what you wish for there, sista!

You know, as I was preparing to send this to you I was thinking of what sage advice I would give to you. If I allowed myself, I could produce for you a long list of things to do differently, things to do that you didn't, and things to not do at all.

However, if I shared with you these things and you made different choices, a butterfly effect may transpire and you may not be where you are today.  Today? Today is good. Today is better than it has ever been - better than even the best of yesterdays. Today you feel more loved and more secure than you have ever felt in your entire life - even more so than you do right now, a little over a week away from your wedding.

That being said - I do think there are things that you could stand to know - things that could provide lacking insight to your life. OK, stop rolling your eyes - I know you are certain of yourself and of your instincts, but just listen, ok? Take it from a wise old lady who knows you extremely well.

1) Do not stop making God a part of your life. Although you have been technically "living in sin" - you make it part of your routine to read the Bible with your husband fiance and children. You pray together each evening and discuss God`s role in your life. You feel burdened to find a church, but ignore it, too afraid of confronting some old hurt. Somewhere along the way, you stop doing this as a couple. The results are certainly for the worse. Get over your issues, find a church, and serve God as a family immediately. He is the only hope for family to be the family you dream it to be.

2) You are extremely ambitious when it comes to your future career in Hospitality. You have an admirable drive to succeed and a secure inclination that if you stick with this company you CAN accomplish your goals. You constantly say to those around you that you long to prove that you are "more than just a mom" and you state the need to secure a bright future for your children as part of your motivation. You are genuine in proclaiming this, yet somewhere along the way you start to view your children and marriage as a hindrance. (I know that stepped on your toes a bit, but seriously, you do.) There is nothing wrong with a desire to have a career, but try not to make that your top priority. It quickly takes that spot, and you end up resenting and regretting it.

3) Work specific things: Do not attend a week long conference early on in your career. Things will happen there that will set your feet and heart on a path that it should not take and one that won't be resolved for years to come. Find any reason imaginable to not go - trust me on this, my dear.  Secondly, do not leave your job at the Courtyard Airport as a Sales Manager. You are so focused on advancing that you will take a position that you know in your gut will be wrong for you. It will be the beginning of the end for your tenure there, and above all other things work related, you will miss that Sales position the most. It paid you well for your age, you enjoyed it, and it worked with your family. Weigh these things heavily as their significance cannot be measured by titles or compensation.

4) Be wayyyy smarter with your money, there mama.WAY SMARTER. WAY, WAY, WAY, WAYYYYY SMARTER. Your career will take a different path around the age of 25, 26 and your combined income will be just shy of 6 digits. NEWSFLASH: This is NOT disposable income! 5 years later, you will have nothing to show for it. You will pay for a fancy minivan that will blow up weeks after your last payment and right after you commit to a big house payment. You will spend alot of it at Walmart on things that are so temporarily fleeting. Your kids don't need all that stuff to be happy - they only need you. Be wise, be mature, save and invest.

5) Love every. single. second of your children. Even when they are driving you nuts, even when they refuse to listen, even when you are so incredibly tired and you have to clean up puke. Do not resent the affection your daughter will show to your husband, and do not be sad that she prefers him over you. BE THANKFUL, that your husband is willing to take such a role in their upbringing.

6) Wil loves you SO MUCH, Melissa. So much. (Stop rolling your eyes again!). You think you already know this - but trust me, you don't even realize how much. The love you feel for him right now, the love you feel on your wedding day, does not even compare to what you will feel 10 years later. Always remember: He loves you UNCONDITIONALLY.  Know what that means, there smarty pants? NO MATTER WHAT.

7) You're gonna mess up. You're gonna fail. Your're gonna stumble. BIG TIME. It's part of life, YOUR life. Own it, accept it, admit it. You only make it harder on yourself when you do not do so. Repent, Trust God, Trust Wil and move on. Refuse to let the past consume you, turn to Christ and give Him your life. He only wants good things for you, my darling. He loves you and forgives you.

Love your family more. Love your kids more. Love yourself more. Hug your Grandpa and tell him how much his prayers mean to you - right now you take for granted that he will always be sending them up, but he won't and you will regret not being able to sit down and thank him face to face. Let go of old hurt. Forgive. Laugh when you feel like crying. Don't be afraid to let people in. Don't be afraid to show that you are vulnerable and don't have everything figured out. You are very strong, but there is no harm in letting people see your weaknesses. Love God, Love your Husband, appreciate your friends. Cling to the values that defined you, and the morals that were instilled in you as a child. Listen to advice. Ask for help.  Test the desires of your heart against the will of God - your heart is not always right and is deceitful above all other things. Most of all:  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, LOOOOVVEEE. Then...LOVE some more.

Treasure every second, it will pass far too quickly.

Aaaand, don't die your hair.

Love,

30 year old Melissa