a letter to my younger self

Dear 16-year-old me,

I'm closing in on 24 and I wanted to let you know what I'm up to. I'm going to be honest- you're not where you thought you'd be. You know well that God's plan is often not your own. In fact, you will give a graduation speech on this very topic. But even though you know this in your head, you need to keep relearning this lesson through experience. And I have no doubt I will need to continue learning it in the future.

At this point, you have very specific plans of where you are going to college, what you are going to study, when you'll get married (HA), and how your adult life will look. You always have been Type A (and still are). But things are different than you imagined them to be. Way different. But, woah, did God know what He was doing. 

You attend UW-Madison and change your major no less than three or four times. Your freshman year is tough, but you are a better and stronger person for it. You somehow get chosen to be a Wisconsin Singer (I'm still in shock and that was almost five years ago) and it changes your life completely. You figure out college life just in time to graduate. You could have done it in three and a half years, but you wanted that last half year to really soak it all in. Then you enter the adult world and the struggle of transition hits you again. But you dive in head-first anyways and stay busy like you like to. 

And now? You have a pretty great life. You live in a cute little apartment in a great neighborhood. You saved up to buy your own car and she has yet to fail you (knock on wood). You have a steady job. You found community theater to fill your free time and your heart. You go to a wonderful church that fills you up every time you enter it. You choreograph for musicals and show choirs and have found great joy and satisfaction in doing so. You continue to have the most amazing friends and supportive and loving family. You experience your fair share of disappointments and failures, but you always bounce back stronger than before. You are different, but the same.

I'm telling you all this because I want you to see that even though you had different plans, things still turned out in your favor. In fact, they turned out better than you could have imagined. So stop worrying about your future (I know you do that a lot). Enjoy where you are at right now and don't let little things bug you. And for goodness sake. when Mom and Dad ask how your day was, please answer them with more than a begrudgingly mumbled "fine". They deserve a good answer and one day you will miss coming home to them and sharing your day.

I do have to thank you for the experiences you have had so far and the ones you will pursue in the future. You never take no for an answer and I love that about you. You go after things with all you've got and it's paid off. Thank you for discovering the arts (who knew you'd be better at it than sports??), for getting good grades, for working hard. You made it easy for me to get to where I am now.

So, 16-year-old me. I don't have much advice for you. I wouldn't change a thing that you've experienced or a decision you've made- it makes you who you are. I hope you see that. I hope every day you realize how great you have it. I hope you take note when you find something that brings you joy and that you find a way to keep it in your life. Continue to work hard and have fun. Be humble, kind, and compassionate always, especially when you least feel like it. Prioritize your relationship with God first and your family second. Love with everything you have, because that's the best thing we do. 


23-year-old Abby