I keep seeing distressingly thought-provoking memes – the kind that force you to ponder the advice you’d give your teenage self, or how you’d live life differently if you KNEW you would die in a year, or what you hope your kids remember about their childhood.
You know the kind I mean.
Existential crisis provokers.
This photo is on display at PopToo’s house. I saw it on Friday and it initiated yet another round of questioning my life-lesson priorities. Y’all, every time I see it (or any other prom night photos) I HAVE TO SMILE, but I also kinda want to grab this pretty girl and give her a hard shake and a stern talking to.
Just look at that girl.
She thought she was not thin enough, or pretty enough, or smart enough, or kind enough, or mean enough (because if you’re gonna fail at nice then you just better push hard for the other extreme… teenager logic is a little warped, y’all), or talented enough, or just enough at anything.
If I could tell her things, I would tell her to never ever ever stop the late-night dance parties. Do y’all even know how many calories you burn just shaking your tailfeathers?!? (Also do you know how many calories I stored instead of burning because I didn’t realize that dance parties are legit aerobic exercise? SHEESH.)
I would tell her that there’s a simple reason behind why it’s so hard to figure out what to do with your life: there are just too too too many challenging, engaging, interesting, and fulfilling possibilities. Decide what to do now, then next… not what to do for for.ev.er!
I would tell her that people were not pretending to like her. The people who did not like her ignored her. Not everybody is gonna love you madly, y’all, but when you find those people who do love you…. keep them close. And trust that as long as you’re pouring good things into each other at every possible opportunity, your relationships will flourish. That’s as true for your spouse and kids and other family and friends as it is for your coworkers and the employees at the establishments you frequent.
I would tell her that anger is good, it’s a map that shows us our boundaries (thank you, Julia Cameron!). I would tell her another Julia Cameron quote: The capacity for delight is the gift of paying attention.
I could tell her so many other things, too, but a lot of the effort would be wasted. Because seeds sprout and plants grow and flowers bloom and fruit ripens when the conditions are right. So instead of focusing for too long on what I would tell that silly, precious spirit, I’ve been trying to figure out how to translate the grown-up lessons and connections and understandings and wisdom into seeds that can be sown in my kids’ hearts.
So they can sprout when conditions are right.