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Back to the Future

Sunday, January 27, 2013

For my Spark friends who aren't participating in the BLC -- I'm writing this blog as part of a Weekend Challenge Assignment for the Panther Team in the BLC21. Our theme for the week is "Back to the Future" and one of our challenge areas is to reflect on the person we were at age 16 and give her advice now that years have passed.

This has been a fun reflection. Honestly, back then, I was much like I am now. Extremely involved in lots of things and truly enjoying life in most ways. I focused on honoring my commitments which often left little "down" time. Many of you would probably say, "she hasn't changed a bit," but I will tell you that I have learned to say "no" without fretting over the decision and because of that, am much happier. Yes, there are occasions when long-term commitments have events that land close to the same time, so I occasionally have days that are a bit overscheduled, but most of the time, things are manageable.

What would I say to my sixteen year-old self?

1. Continue to focus on the future and do things that will lead to the most possibilities, that way you'll have choices as you arrive at the all-important forks in the road.

2. Know that you cannot please everyone. Busy people are always asked to do more because they are known as "do-ers." It isn't possible to do everything that everyone asks you to do and do it well. Set your priorities and say "no" when a new obligation will bring undue stress or doesn't fit with your goals in life -- unless, of course, it offers something "fun" that allows you to relax and enjoy life for a moment.

3. Know that it is okay not to be popular with all the kids in the school. The "friends" that you had to separate from last year because they were choosing to experiment with drugs and too much alcohol are heading down the wrong path. Though you perceive them as "cool" and "popular" doesn't mean that they will be successful adults. Their struggles will come when drug and alcohol-abuse become demons in their lives that they have to overcome. Do continue to be kind to them, though, and offer friendship if any of them decide that it is time to step away from the "in crowd." They will need it.

4. Take care of yourself. Make sure that you're building time into your schedule to get enough sleep, as well as build time to relax. It is okay to have time that you do absolutely nothing.

5. Be sure to frequently tell your parents how much you appreciate them. Your mother is always focused on keeping you healthy. She makes wonderful, healthy meals and only asks that you show up at the table. Being the linguist in the family, she also is willing to give you feedback on your written assignments and helps you hone your writing skills. Your dad, always has time to help. Most kids don't have parents who understand upper-level math and science. Your dad is more skillful at it than most of your teachers. Appreciate that you don't have to slave over your homework, but instead can ask your dad to reteach the things you didn't get in class.

6. True love will come. Though your heart is broken right now because the love of your life decided that you aren't the love of his life, you are still young. Your present broken heart will one day help you to appreciate true love when it does comes along.

There are surely other things that I might say to my sixteen year-old self, but these are the big things.

To the Weekend Challenge "author," thanks for a great reflective assignment!
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