Growing up, I can remember pushing my age by the 1/2 years, because I couldn’t wait to be all grown up. “I’m Twelve and a 1/2” sounded so much more mature. I just couldn’t wait to be older! However, I never really thought much past the “age” of sixteen, when I would finally be old enough to get my Driver’s License; or much beyond the legal “age” of twenty-one, that represented freedom to all young adults. But, even though I wanted to be older…I never really contemplated a 50th Birthday either.
Oh, how I wish I could go back and talk to that young girl at “Twelve and a half”. I’d tell her to claim “12” and to relish that carefree time. Responsibilities will find you soon enough. I’d tell her how beautiful she is and that her long, brown hair was adorable in pigtail! I’d tell her to ride her bike from sun up to sundown and to NEVER stop exercising!
I’d tell her to really think about the desires of her heart, and to chase her dreams, so that she doesn’t find herself sitting in a rocking chair with the “if only” syndrome. I would also teach her to control her actions, so that her heart would not lead her astray. Oh to have lived a life with no regrets!
The past 50 years slipped by like a vapor. I could swear I just turned 12 yesterday! Yet this morning I woke to a body that aches more today than it did last year. The thing that haunts me the most is still feeling young and vibrant on the inside yet the reflection in the mirror screams at me with sagging skin, lines and wrinkles, making me wonder who is that old woman staring back at me?
I was feeling especially fragile today as I struggled this morning trying to make my hair presentable. I’ve lost a wig-full down the drain. Thyroid issues and lifelong allergies have left their “baggage” under my eyes too. So, even on days when I feel rested, I look tired. And that makes me sad.
I’m sad too for the girl of my youth, who didn’t really live her life, her life lived her. She had no real life plan, no real direction, just happenstance. Some of those life experiences turned out ok, and others led her down darker paths. I can’t totally blame her though, she didn’t know all the right questions to ask, she just needed someone to tell her.
I wish I could go back in time and be there for her, embrace her, give her the wisdom and knowledge that all these gray hairs have earned. So that she wouldn’t have to stumble over the same things that tripped me up along the way. But as much as I’d like to do that, I can’t but I can share it with you.
So, today I tell all the young girls out there, who wish they were older, smarter, more talented, prettier, funnier, whatever “er”…”don’t wish your life away, plan your life away.”
Study hard, make good grades, think about what you really want out of your life. Research career paths, set short-term goals and keep a record of your achievements. Write a mission statement and review it every year as you get older. Make changes to your course of action as your desires and interests change. Hone your talents, pursue your dreams!
Above all, strive to live a righteous life. Seek God in everything you do and ask for His guidance in making your character, your conduct and your conversation pleasing in His eyes always.
So, claim 12 and all the wonderment of youth while you can, keeping your heart and mind open to the calling of our Lord. Proverbs 31:30 reminds us, “Charm is deceptive and beauty does not last, but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.”