As the dawning of a new year around the sun is starting to show, I find myself reflecting on the last 30 + 1 years. Something I do from time to time if I’m feeling nostalgic or in need of cathartic relief is to write a letter to my younger self. I find it to be extremely powerful, so if you haven’t done it before, try it out and let me know what you thought!

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Dear Gerry,

I will preface this letter with, regardless of how things might seem in the given circumstance, just know that it all works out the way it’s supposed to. You’re probably not going to take any of this advice because you’re stubborn and hard-headed, but these are the things I wish someone had said to me when I was you.

Advice for my Preteen Years

Don’t let your preteen years be clouded by envy and comparison. Everyone’s bodies are changing, and I promise that one day you will be comfortable in your own skin. Those tall, blonde-haired, full-bodied girls may not always look like that. But you’ve got good genes, and you’ll still look 20 when you’re 30. 

People aren’t always going to be kind.

They’re going to call you names, make fun of your clothes, and exclude you from their friendships. So let them. Things that happen at this age don’t matter in the grand scheme of things. Don’t let those people rent space in your head – that’s valuable property. You’re better than them, and you’re more than enough. They’re probably not going to remember the things they did, but you will and that will light a fire in you to become more bold and self-assured. Your confidence will be built because they made you feel and think that way, and you’ll be complimented on your boldness for the rest of your life.

Those people that made fun of you are going to come around one day and do anything they can to be your friend. They’ll realize that you’re pretty cool, and you will realize that you are so much more than what they said about you. You’re going to make some great friends that will last the next decade. And though sometimes people don’t always play the main character in our story forever, they were great pieces of your life that made you who you are. So be thankful for those relationships that burned as bright as the sun. You will always think back on some of those memories you had and smile.

Oh, and in 7th grade, a boy will tell you that you can’t be his girlfriend because you’re Asian, and that’s going to really hurt your feelings. Don’t worry, he kinda sucks anyway. One day, you’re going to love your dark hair and features. And your future husband is going to love you regardless of your ethnicity. You’re going to grow a strong love for your heritage and your culture. You’ll realize that your ethnicity doesn’t define you but only enhances the person you already are.

P.S. that boy is not cute in the future, so you dodged a bullet anyway.

Advice for my teenage years

One thing you’ll learn as you get older: Dad is always right about the guys you date. He wants the best for you, even if it doesn’t seem that way. When your first boyfriend breaks your heart, it will feel like the world is ending, but it’s just beginning. And when you cry yourself to sleep at night after those breakups, Dad will stand outside your door even if you don’t know it and try his best to take your pain away because he knows they’re not good enough for you. When he meets your future husband, he’ll just know, and he’ll be right every time.

So take it easy on your parents.

You’re a bit of a wild child, and they’re just trying to keep you safe. You’ll be thankful that they kept you out of too much trouble. The world can be scary, and your parents are just looking out for you while they can. They’ll yell at you, they’ll be strict, and they’ll push your buttons. You’ll say some pretty terrible things to each other, things you wish you could take back, but one day they’re going to be some of your favorite people. They will love you fiercely (and sometimes it will feel overbearing), but they would do anything for you. You will understand all this deeply one day when you have your own kids.

Most importantly, teenage me, the world is so much bigger than you and your small town.

You won’t understand until you leave for college, but the world is bigger than the city limits. There’s an entire world out there filled with amazing people to meet, places to see, and experiences to be had. You’ll take risks, chances, and relationships you would never have if you didn’t leave. You will leave the comfort of that little southern town, and you will go out and make some great memories. You’ll realize that being comfortable with being uncomfortable is powerful. You’ll call many states home and build relationships with people from all walks of life, but no matter where you go, that small town will always feel like home. So go.

Advice for my twenty-something years

Your twenties are going to be full of thrilling highs and heart wrenching lows. I promise you’re going to make it through. I don’t want you to be too hard on yourself when you experience some of the things I wish I could shield you from. Your heart is going to be on a rollercoaster for the next decade (literally and figuratively), but it will all work out. Although maybe you should take it a little easier during your early to mid-twenties wild stage – you could save yourself some trouble. Chill out a little, girlfriend.

Your dad is going to get really sick while you’re in college. It’s going to put you through the wringer, but you have to be strong and take charge. He’s going to be okay. Accept, listen, and learn while he’s going through all of it; he’s going to teach you about perseverance, strength, and courage. His experiences with illness are going to prepare you for your own battle with illnesses because I hate to tell you, you’re going to get a pretty scary diagnosis in your twenties. But I promise it all works out. You’re going to see God perform a miracle through him, and you’ll get your own miracle one day. Your faith will be tested, but keep pushing. You’ll find that you’re much stronger than you ever imagined possible.

You’re not going to always have the answers.

There will be days you don’t have any answers. But I promise you, from where I’m sitting, life looks pretty good. You aren’t going to marry the guy you thought, but God had someone so much better for you. Your future husband is a bombshell. He’s kind, funny, and caring. He will love you and all your weird quirks. Your kids are going to be freaking cute.  Your career might not be what you imagined it would be, but it was great when you were in it. Your calling to be a stay-at-home-mom might be surprising, yet you wouldn’t have it any other way. Crazy, right?

So no matter where you are on your journey, the most important thing I have to say to you is to trust God’s plan for your life. Trust the process and enjoy the ride, because it’s a wild ride. I hope you learn to love yourself a little earlier than I did and show yourself more grace, but I’m proud of you either way.

Yours always, 

Gerry

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Gerry has southern roots and a southern accent to boot, hailing from North Carolina, she is a full-time stay-at-home-mom to twin boys and a part-time marketing guru during naptime and bedtime. Her husband is a Blackhawk Pilot for the Army Reserves, and they currently call Saint Petersburg, Florida home. She prides herself on being a storyteller by nature, and always looking at the mess that life throws at them with a laugh. She keeps her sanity by being a pulmonary hypertension patient advocate on social media (@_gllangan), posting about the honest highs and lows of this wild motherhood ride, and giving people a little insight into what life is like with twin toddlers. When she's not chasing her boys around, Gerry enjoys iced coffee at all times of the day and watching one of her many TV shows.