I am taking part of a blog hop that a friend of mine, Chloe of the Mountain, put together. I have loved reading the other posts and I am eager to add mine!

My letter will have a little different twist. You see, by the age of 20, I had been married almost 5 years and had a 4 year old daughter. But I think I have a few things I would say to her, as I see 50 on the horizon, the FAR horizon…

Dear 20 year old me:

I know that when you were 15, you thought that by the time you are 20, SURELY you will have figured out this thing called life. I hate to bust your bubble, but I really am not sure that we EVER figure it all out. You will grow in confidence and you will feel grown up, one day…

Love your daughter that you have. You will eventually have another (2 more in fact, plus a son!) but it will take a while. Learn and grow at this mom thing, it can get tough, REALLY TOUGH, and some days you think you can’t take it anymore. Believe or not though, one day they will be all grown up, and become some of your best friends. They weren’t perfect kids, but you sure weren’t the perfect parent!

Draw closer to your parents. I know they annoy you, and you don’t see eye-to-eye on things, but they will be gone sooner than you know. Reach out to your mother. I only realized after her passing how she was struggling terribly with clinical depression. Get to know your father. He is nowhere near perfect, but he has some stories to tell and they shed a little light on his rough edges.

You are such a smart young woman. I know you quit school to get married and take care of your little family, but don’t forget about yourself. I am proud that you got your GED, but continue your education, even if it is a little at a time. It never gets any easier. I wish I had done so, back when I was your age…

You are going to come up with SO many great ideas! You will start several businesses, and work freelance for a lot of people. I encourage you to dig in and find what you really LOVE doing. (HINT: you got your dad’s gift of gab and are really good at sales, plus you have great marketing ideas).

While it is admirable and honorable to love and cherish your husband, you and he both need to have some free time and some space to develop interests of your own. I know how you love to curl up with a book and read, but believe it or not, you become quite the outdoorsman (woman?) Doing things apart will help you grow closer in the end. I didn’t do such a great job at this, I am praying you can do better.

While I love that you and your young husband are best friends, you need female best friends too. You need someone you can share your life with and confide in. While husbands are awesome, it is unfair to expect them to be your everything. That is too much a burden for anyone to carry.

I encourage you to learn to relax. Learn that it is okay to not have it all together. It is okay to not have “it” figured out. You don’t have to have all your ducks in a row to be successful. You can’t control everything around you. You will exhaust yourself trying. Learn to let things happen as they will. Most of the time, it isn’t a big deal anyway, just let it go. It is tough being a control freak and it will make you miserable and push others away from you. LET IT GO.

And for heaven’s sake, stop worrying about what other people think about you! It doesn’t matter. Be yourself, the person God MADE you to be.

With your kids, I encourage you to lighten up just a little. You do better towards the end, but it would be so much easier if you figure out earlier that some things are just not worth fighting over. Become friends with your children while still being their parent. Listen to them and encourage them to grow and spread their wings. Help them as they do, giving them the skills and tools they need, instead of holding on too tightly.

You are going to have an amazing life, an ever-growing family, including grandkids! You and your husband will go through many things together. Learn to hold on, but not too tightly. When the days get tough, and they will, for weeks and weeks on end, your best place to look for strength will  be inside of yourself and up to your God. Be sure to make a time and place for Him in your life. He will ultimately be the one that holds it all together!