“Rain, pour down and wash any trace of stagnancy and hesitancy and the desire to numb the day away. And nourish this earth and our hearts to be soft enough to feel the pain and joy hovering all around. And clean off old wounds and allow us to grow anew, together.” – Joy Prouty
I’m not crying, you’re crying.
Friend, if you haven’t yet picked up a copy of “Starry Eyed: Seeing Grace in the Unfolding Constellation of Life and Motherhood” by Mandy Arioto, GET IT NOW. This is the companion book to this 28-day challenge and it is SOOO GOOD.
Today I cried reading this chapter. Here’s a bit, so you can cry too.
“Kristen and I were neighbors for three years and friends for 20 years before that. She invited us over for dinner (one night). As I sat at the butcher block counter in the center of their kitchen, gaggles of kids running in and out, husbands coaching each other on business ventures, I couldn’t help but remember how, at 15, Kristen and I spent long nights wondering what our lives were going to look like.
That night made me take notice of all the beautiful things we had swirling around us in that kitchen twenty years after we worried we never would. I wish I could have reassured our teenage selves that all these good things were heading our way. But the truth is, I would have also had to share that there were a lot of hard and sad things in between then and now.”
Oh my. YES. And so much more.
Write a Letter to your 15-year Old Self
The challenge today is to write a note to your 15-year old self. To be honest, I could have written a 10-page letter.
So much life has happened in the last 20 years: things that I wanted, things that I didn’t, things that I knew would happen, things that surprised me, adventures, opportunities, disappointments, regrets.
I graduated high school, had a career, graduated college, had two more. I spoke at major conferences, traveled to places I never thought I would go, fell in love with my husband, got married, had two babies. I lost my father and my sister. I gained and lost 1,000 friends and made new ones. I bought a house and renovated it. I have loved and lost and, even if I knew all of it, I would do it again almost exactly the same way.
Because what I have learned, and I think what I partly knew at 15, was that every single challenge brings with it growth. As if, like a sea creature shedding it shell, you have to be broken open to make room for more love. And as your love grows, as your life grows, the pain and promises get bigger and bolder. And it’s completely consuming and it’s completely worth it.
Here is my letter.
Dear 15-Year Old Me:
You are awesome. I don’t know how much you know that yet, but I just want to reassure you that, yes, in fact, you are awesome. And brave. And strong. And you need to keep going. And you will.
I wish I could tell you that it’s over. That it gets easier from here. But I think you know the truth. I think some part of you already knows that life is not going to be easy for you. That’s okay. It is your path. And you are capable and competent to work through everything that comes your way and you will be better for it.
You will gain friends and lose them, so get used to meeting new people and keep letting them in.
You will find love and find out it’s not what you wanted, so get used to opening your heart and you will absolutely know when you find the right one.
You will be challenged and you will overcome, so know that you are strong enough and capable enough. Practice respectful opposition, you will need that later.
You know that some of your strongest relationships will not carry you through life, so love them each and every day, stay connected, and live with no regrets.
You will follow through on promises you didn’t know that you could make. Be amazed at how powerful a promise can be, and do not make them lightly, but meaningfully, and with your whole heart.
You will feel tremendous heartbreak and tremendous love, so do your best to start each day with bright eyes and an open mind. Let go of expectations. Some of the smallest moments of your life will be the most meaningful, so watch for those and know that it’s those moments that matter most.
Girl, there have been times in your life that have taken your breath away. Beautiful moments. And really hard ones. You will have more of those – in both extremes. And the more beautiful your life becomes, the more challenges will come your way. Be ready for that and know that you are capable of doing it all.
You are careful with your heart and you should be. Strength comes from love, so choose wisely and love deeply. Heartbreak comes from love, so know that it is a privilege to have your heart broken.
You work hard and you have to keep working hard. Life is what you make of it, so make it what you want. Recognize that nothing is permanent. Recognize that every challenge has a solution. Recognized that you are who – and what – you invite into your life. Be that. Love that.
Always demand more.
You’ve got this. Remind yourself of that daily. Take pictures. Celebrate the in between moments, the hard moments, the silly ones. Live with love in your heart. Feel connection to the places you love. Cultivate those. Write. Read. Listen. Explore. Trust your instincts. It’s all possible and it will all come. Fight for it. And keep going.
You are loved. Keep loving yourself. Stay firm on your feet. Move with purpose. Listen to your heart. Keep going.
What would you write to your 15-year old self?
For several years Ali Edwards has started her year with a word. No resolutions or promises to break, just one little word® to check back on for guidance or reflection. As she describes it, “You live with it. You invite it into your life. You let it speak to you. Follow where it leads. There are so many possibilities.” After a challenging 2016, my choice for 2017 is to become SECURE. Each month, I’m focused on a different aspect of securing who I am, where I am, and what we’re doing. I hope you’ll join me on this journey. For more of my one little word, follow my tag one little word.
MOPS, or Mothers of Preschoolers, is and international organization that encourages and equips mothers of young children to realize their potential as mothers and leaders. “We’ve all been placed in this time and place in history, as the tribe of women who are raising the world. And the beauty of it is that we don’t all have to agree with one another but everyone is in and we all need each other.” This 28-day challenge is coupled with reading, a daily truth or dare, and videos and resources that allow us to connect, discuss, and dive into this topic of woman-hood and mother-hood. Come back daily, or read along in this thread, to see my posts and stories for each day.