What I’d Say to My Younger Self


My high school class is gathering for a reunion this fall. A friend has been posting pictures from our yearbook in the Facebook group. Oh my, I look at my seventeen-year-old self from the perspective of all those years between then and now and I think of what I’d say to my younger self if given the opportunity.

Savor the moments

Life will fly by. Be present in every moment. There will be joy and there will be pain, both are part of our journey and both have much to offer, don’t rush through and wish them away. Learn and grow from both.

Be adventurous

Whether it’s dancing in the rain in the back yard or climbing a mountain in Peru, be courageous enough to be original. Be bold enough to be different. Be childlike enough to be delighted by all the little things in life. Enjoy life for the adventure it is.

Find good friends

Surround yourself with a few wise people, people who will speak into your life, give sound advice, keep you grounded, and call you out when you think of doing something stupid. None of us are meant to go it alone and even if you’re an introvert like me, you need to connect with someone. Seek wise counsel, read/listen to good books from trusted authors, and make sure your closest influencers are traveling the road to wisdom.

Love lavishly

This one’s a hard one. People are people and they’re going to hurt you, disappoint you, and betray you. You’ll be guilty of the same, so don’t judge. It’s a difficult thing to be vulnerable. You’ll have to learn to forgive and give grace and sometimes to part ways with hurtful people. But don’t part ways with bitterness, forgive and move on while hoping for the best for them.

Don’t shut yourself off emotionally. You will get hurt, but you will miss so much joy if you don’t learn to trust and love the people in your life. And remember, love is a verb not a feeling.

Embrace the hard things

Life is full of hard things. Don’t avoid them. Instead, embrace every experience life sends your way. See each one as an opportunity to grow and learn and bond with fellow humans going through their own hard things. Encourage those around you, help them bear their load and in doing that, you’ll discover that your own isn’t always as hard as it first appeared.

Recognize that you have an audience of One

The most important thing I’d say to my younger self is this: You need the One who created you and He is all you need. He loves you more than you can even imagine. He knows the paths that you take. He is for you. You can trust Him no matter what anyone or anything on this earth tells you differently. His ways are not our ways, His thoughts are not our thoughts, and they may not seem right, but they always are. Don’t follow your heart—follow Him. He will never leave you, never forsake you, never let you down. He is refuge, strength, and wisdom.

The most important thing I’d say to my younger self is that once you get this, the rest is the whipped cream on top. You will find safety, security, confidence, acceptance, and even when everything in your life seems to be out of control, He’s there in the midst of the storm anchoring you to the Rock.

Seeing the pictures from my school days and reliving the memories they bring to mind brings mixed emotions. “They were the best of times, they were the worst of times,” in so many ways. I have both regrets and some really good memories. Those people and those times helped to shape who I am today. I’m so glad I had them, but to be honest, I’m also glad we all get a chance to grow up. One thing about being seventeen is no matter how much we think we know, we don’t really know much.

I’m looking forward to seeing my high school classmates. There will be some dear faces missing and that makes my heart sad. But I look forward to hearing the stories of the ones I’ll see and sharing some stories of my own.

I’m not seventeen anymore. A lot of life has come and gone since then and I’ve learned a few things. The things I’d say to my younger self have come from those lessons and life is richer because of them. Even my mistakes have deepened me and helped me learn compassion for others when they mess up too.

I love the advice fellow writer, Molly Jo Realy, gives to her readers. It’s exactly the kind of thing I’d say to my younger self. “Come alive, stay wild, and always, savor the journey.”

Blessings and Happy Fall!


*Photo courtesy Cindy Brown Greenwell from FHS yearbook.

Previous articleI’m here, You’re safe, I love you.
Next articleBaby Loss: This is Motherhood.
Beverly Smith
With three adult kids and two preschool grandkids, Beverly stays busy keeping up with her family and loves it. She likes to learn new things, be outdoors, and travel. You can frequently find her running with her dog Jack, reading a good book, or watching movies, crime dramas, and Auburn football. She met her husband Kent at Troy University and they moved to Auburn one month after they were married. Originally a Medical Technologist, she obtained a second degree from Auburn University's School of Education and taught Physical Science and Biology at Opelika High School until she decided to become a full time mom. If you ask her what she wants to be when she grows up, she'll say, "A writer for children." She has written preschool activities curriculum and is currently writing middle grade fiction.