***This is the exciting conclusion of my 3-part, 13 things I would tell my 13-year-old self letter of 2013. So brilliant. Which is why I waited until Friday, the 13th to publish it (at 1313… oh yes, I did. Make a wish). Because that makes it even better. All those lucky 13s. And also because I haven’t had time to write the introduction. The rest of the post has been finished for more than a week. If you have no idea what I am talking about, shame on you for not reading my earlier posts (just kidding… welcome). You can rectify the situation by reading part one here or part two here. And then you can sign up for email alerts so you never have to risk missing another post again.***
10. I don’t know if it’s true for everyone, but it’s certainly true for you… They say people tend to be most critical of the traits in others that they despise in themselves. Go easier on yourself. As soon as you do, you’ll be easier on others, and your relationships will be much deeper and more powerful than ever before. Your journey is uniquely yours… just as others cannot fully experience your journey, you cannot truly experience theirs. Give them the benefit of the doubt that they are trying their best with what they have, just as you know you are trying your best. And some days your best won’t feel like much at all. Some days it may seem downright abysmal. It isn’t. Some days are like that (even in Australia). Love yourself unconditionally, so you can learn to love others unconditionally.
11. Learn to let go and let God. I wish I could give you a formula for this one. It’s just something you learn to do. It isn’t easy learning how. But once you figure out how to do it, it feels easy. It’s hard to explain. God has a plan for you. Sometimes the road will be difficult beyond measure, but there is purpose to those trying times (yikes! plural). You are His daughter. He has your back. And for now, you are His favorite, and you are exactly where you need to be. Try your best to stay where He needs you (and if you fail, it’s okay, because He totally accounted for that, too.) But here’s a little secret: God doesn’t have any grandchildren. That means the rest of the human race are sons and daughters, too. And he has a plan for them. And for now, they are His favorite. And they are exactly where they need to be. (And if they fail, it’s okay, because He already accounted for that, too.) And He’s better at this than you are… so let Him work at His perfect pace. That means you are off the hook and no longer need to worry about things that are not yours. You have enough to worry about.
12. Let’s face it: you pretty well won life’s lottery. You are quite bright (with the potential and capacity to be even brighter), and although you may feel awkward now, you really aren’t. And even though I said I wasn’t going to share much about the future with you, I’ll share this: You get better and better with age. Inside and out. Truly. And looking back, it looks like it might be exponential improvement (don’t worry, you’ll get a refresher on exponential functions, and you’ll understand). You are pretty smokin’ hot at 33. Heck, that first kiss of yours? 16 years later he will track you down. True story. The point is that you will leave a mark on the world. Your life does indeed make a difference. Maybe not in all the ways you set out; and maybe not on a grand scale, but that doesn’t diminish the effect you’ll have. Every life is valuable (including yours); so if you are the only person for whom you make a difference, that alone is worth while. But you aren’t the only person whose life you touch. And that makes it even sweeter.
Finally, and above all else:
13. Be grateful. Never take the special gift that is your life for granted. During times of trial try to focus on your blessings. Sometimes they will seem insignificant and trite. But kettle corn and the “And now our feature presentation” announcer guy voice are totally worth appreciating. As are ceiling fans, electricity, and the passage of time. A roof over your head is not a trivial thing (you’ll learn). In time those trials will also become things to express gratitude over. Because they make you into an amazing [less-]young woman.
Well, I am going to go refresh my inbox; I’m expecting an e-mail (future thing… you wouldn’t understand) any minute from 53. Actually, who am I kidding? At the rate we’re progressing, she’s way too busy enjoying her life to think of me. That makes me simultaneously happy and also a little sad. You go, 53! Live it up. We’ve earned it.
Well, Q13, you were dealt a hand of aces. Play them well.