Dear Younger Self - A Birthday Reflection

I never thought I would start a birthday week, the day before my birthday, crying. Yeah, I know it was my birthday and I could cry if I wanted to but I never thought I would become a physical representation of that song in real life. Often times I find myself stuck in my head, too far in a thought, and in a memory from years ago. When I was 17 years old I was basically 22, really. I didn’t think like most 17 year olds. I had a plan in my head of how life would go and I thought it was a great idea to write out a timeline... on paper. Yes, a physical list. By age 25 I was supposed to be graduated, married, rich, etc. Well let’s just say I am a day late and a dollar short of that timeline. As a young teen I had a vision, dreams, and still definitely do. However, I don’t think I ever
factored in pain, challenges, and loss. I forgot to include the year I would have to take off from college after my grandmother’s passing or the semester I would experience life problems which left me so unfocused. Oh and lets not even get started on the fact that I should be married by now with two kids. Ha-ha! Not one, but two. I laughed writing that. As if I could predict the number of children I would have at this time. My list never included heartbreak, pain, and bad relationships whether they be romantic or platonic. Who knew I would spend a year completely to myself shut off with only God before I ever even considered dating or talking to someone?

I was talking to a friend the other day who also was reflecting on her life and was basically at the same place despite her major accomplishments. How often do we get pinned down with list and rules of how things should be? Timelines are good for pregnancies, work, and sometimes even for life but we must be careful not to feel defeated when we don’t meet the deadline. It’s not always something we did but sometimes things happen that are out of our control. I wish I could go back and talk to 17-year-old me and tell her to slow down, way down. I might even convince her to go outside and count the stars instead of making an unrealistic timeline. I would tell her that the focus isn’t on when she finishes the race, but how she finishes, and that she does indeed finish.

If I could write a letter to 17-year-old Kelsie this is what it might look like:

 Dear younger self,

I know you may feel pressured right now to have your life planned out and even feel the need to make hasty decisions because of it. You have time to figure out life. When you have the opportunity to go home and cry to your mom about the 81 you received in your Biology class, don’t. One day you will be 25 years old, in college, and grateful for the 69.8 you received in your upper level Management class. Spend less time trying to finish school earlier than scheduled and take time out to be young. Eat healthy and work out now so you don’t gain the freshman 15, 18, 30, who’s counting? Your older body will appreciate your healthier eating habits that you developed at a younger age and the transition as an adult into a healthy lifestyle will be easier.

Spend as much time with granny as you can before you go off to college. You will return home from bible school and only have a few years left with her. Talk to her and write everything down. Ask her what life lessons helped shape her into the person she is today. Ask her why she married your papa and if she could do anything in life again, what would it be? She has wisdom and a genuine heart that you won’t find in many people throughout life. When your dad shows up at graduation, spend more time getting to know him instead of being upset and letting it effect the time you have with him. One day you will be 25 years old and realize that the last time you saw him you were 18 years old.

When given the opportunity, forgive sooner. You will understand that some people are just hurting, not bad people, but hurt. Trust me, you would much rather love people than walk around hating the world.Tell the people in your life how important they are to you. Remind them that you love them every chance you get. That guy you talk to you won’t marry. Heck, you’ll barely remember the few dates when you’re older. Don’t spend time crying over him and losing so much sleep. You deserve real authentic love from someone who sees the real you and chooses you always, wait for that.

Most importantly, spend more time at church listening instead of just going to make mom happy. You will learn valuable lessons from the bible that will one day be the words that you hold onto for situations in your adult life. Don’t stress over not knowing what to do next. God has a plan for you and it will begin to unfold as you go in life.

Sincerely, 
The 25-year-old you that could’ve slowed down, smelled the roses, and done some things differently.


The great thing is that it’s never too late to begin again from where I am now and finish strong. I can be the person I aspire to be one choice at a time. I hope that 25 brings real lasting change, breakthroughs, and most importantly I hope I am true to who I am, even when it’s uncomfortable. Nobody is harder on me then I am on myself. For real. I hope I allow myself more room for failure because it will come and when it does I hope it drives me and gives me the push I need to keep going. In the words of Jessie J, “Sometimes it's hard to follow your heart. Tears don't mean you're losing, everybody's bruising. Just be true to who you are.”

I ended up having a great day on my actual birthday and spent it surrounded with people I love and who love me. I am thankful and blessed to be here and look forward to many more years.

Here is to 25, staying true to who I am, living, learning, loving completely, and finishing some things. 

Happy birthday to me!


4 comments

  1. Happy Belated Birthday 🎉
    I like how you quoted Carl Jung. I'm learning a lot about him now. I'm turning 25 in June, and even though I'm in school for my Master's in MFT, I actually feel a little down because I'm not financially in the place that I planned for myself. I just keep having to tell myself this too shall past. Great post.

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    1. Cinnamon,

      Thank you for the birthday wishes. Yes, I completely understand. I think we have to give yourself grace to get to that place and to understand that god things take time. Best of wishes on your Masters!

      -xx, Kels

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  2. Hey Kels,

    This was such a beautifully written post and such raw emotions. Thank you for sharing everything with us... it is post like these that make me feel that much more in tune with you. I think anyone at any age can appreciate this post, but I want to emphasize on how proud I am that you are now learning from your "failures" instead of beating yourself up over them.

    I hope that all of these reflection not only help us, but assist you as well in the Kelsie of today and in the future...you are destine for some many good things and you know God will see you through. You just have to be ready to take the leap. So go head "witcho bad self!!!"

    xoxo
    Doris

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    1. Hey hey Doris,

      Thank you so much for the encouragement and glad you enjoyed the post. I am looking forward to all that 25 has and that God has for me. Hope you have the best year yet as well.

      -Kels

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