I remember watching the movie 13 Going on 30 repeatedly when I was a teen. I remember wanting to grow up fast like Jenna because I thought I knew everything then. Now, 17 years later, I find myself wanting to go back and tell my younger self some of the things I learned so far. If you could go back, what would you say? Would you tell yourself all the things you know now? Would you tell yourself to go a different route? If I could go back and tell my 13-year-old self anything, this is what I would say...
Dear 13-year-old me,
It's been 17 years and girl you are all grown up! You're smiling more, making an impact in the arts education world, and traveling! You're still into books, tea over coffee, and Beyoncé! Remeber how you use to wear a lot of black, well honey, you get so many compliments when you wear brighter colors and you look amazing, of course! I know your favorite color is blue, but you'll eventually you'll start to appreciate lavendar, yellow, and even pink.
I know you have interest in the arts and you have not discovered theatre yet, but when you do, you'll discover something withing yourself that you didnt know existed. You'll be comfortable, confident, and a great public speaker, so keep doing you. In college, you'll pursue performing arts and many people are going to doubt your decicion to do so. I will admit, the journey will be filled with challenges but you will perservere. Don't lose confidence in your decision making just because others disagree or things don't go as planned. Things will fall apart. Trust the process but most importantly, trust God. You may not be the most talented, but you are the most hardworking, dedicated, and ambitious person in the room, and that alone will take you far. You're more worthy and deserving than you may know. Stay motivated, disciplined, and focused.
Right now, you seek validation and acceptance from others, but you will soon realize, its unrealistic and unattainable. You won't be liked by everyone and you will be fine because you don't need validation from anyone. I know you suffer from social anxiety, right now, and it leaves you feeling self-concious and anxious. The good news is that you will overcome it during college! As you mature, you will realize that you are a little bit more extraverted than introverted. Your social battery will need constant recharging. You still need your "me" time from time to time. Remember, you can't pour from an empty cup so take care of yourself!
Continue to take risks but make sure you consider the advice you recieve from your personal mentors. Don't be afraid to take risks or fail; it's inevitable. You will be working in a field that you didn't plan to work in but it is a honorable profession. Although you didn't plan to take this path, keep going and don't give up on your dreams, ever! This may seem like a detour but it also an opportunity to invest in the next generation. They will respect you and want to learn from you. As exhausting as it may be sometimes, bask in the joy of learning from the next generation. See it as an opportunity to pay it forward.
Networking is super important to your success however, be very selective with the people you connect with and invest in. You never know if you'll run into someone again so always be kind. Keep your innermost thoughts to yourself. because everyone doesn't need to know what you're thinking or what your next move is going to be. Remember life is like playing chess not checkers. Make every move stragetically and make every move count.
You will get your heartbroken many of times, by friends and lovers. You're an amazing woman and you deserve to be surrounded around people who love you and wish you well. It will take you time to realize what you desire in a relationship but once you realize it, you won't settle for anything less. The key is to focus on a relationship with yourself. Focus on how you want to be treated and teach others how to treat you the same. The relationship with God and yourself is one of the most important relationships you will have. It will set the standard for all the other relationships to come in your life so focus on that. You enjoy socializing but now you're alot more selective with who (as you should be.) You're very trusting now but you will learn that trust is earned and not given.
Remember to live in the moment! It can be easy to forget this due to how fast the world is moving, but focus on what you can control. They say, we make plans and God laughs, so be flexible, open, and obedient. One of your biggest struggles will be the ultimate balancing act but eventually you will figure it out. There will be pressure as to when you buy a house, get married, or have kids. Take your time, this isn't a race, but a marathon. The amazing part is that it will all happen at the right time. Eventually, you will come to terms with the fact that there is no set timeline for your life. I know, it's hard to believe, but buying a house, getting married, and having kids doesn't have to happen by a certain age. The quicker you understand that, the more you will enjoy figuring out who you are and what you actually want out of life. Don't settle for anything less than you deserve; whether in your career or your relationship.
You should be proud of the woman you are becoming. Good luck with the last year of middle school. I know it isn't glamourous but it gets better. You're blossoming and God has a lot more in store for you. Keep delighting in Him and he will give you your hearts desires. Be encouraged despite the challenges. Keep reading, sip your tea, and play your Beyoncé. You are a star and destined for greatness!
Your 30-Year-Old Self