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“When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years.”

Over the last few weeks I’ve had several chance encounters with classmates from junior high and high school. Some I liked, some I feared and some truthfully made my days miserable. These encounters have given me a “hindsight’s 20/20” perspective and I wish I could tell my teenage self a few things but since I can’t tell me I’ll just tell you.

Don't give a CRAP what most people think about you. We spend the years of middle school and high school striving to attain some sort of peer acceptance only to get to college and realize no one gives one flying flip whether you were Homecoming Queen or captain of the Mathletes. I remember my senior year all these adults telling me, “It won't matter once you walk across that stage.” I didn't believe them just like I know you probably won't believe me but it's true. I remember driving away from graduation thinking, “Huh, was that it? Now what?” And yes, that was it.

Be a anything but ordinary. In high school, you want nothing more than to be ordinary...just like everyone else. That is the most horrid thing you can be! God made you unique and not like just a little unique but as unique as unique can be. So WHY would you throw that away? The older I get the happier it makes me to realize how weird I am. I like pageants and old cars...perfect hair and playing in the rain. And the great thing is when you’re an adult you can choose to associate with only those who appreciate your weirdness.

Don't be in a hurry to grow up. As great as it is to have your own place and no rules, it sucks to pay bills and get up at 5 am. Enjoy being young and frivolous. You will never have that chance again. Once you hit a certain point you will responsible for at least yourself and maybe others. That will influence every decision you make from then on out. Enjoy each stage of your life and stop wishing it away.

Stop and smell the roses...literally! Or watch the birds fly or enjoy a rainbow or play with a kitten. The little things make life wonderful. Take advantage of each moment because God designed that especially for you. In the grand scheme of your entire existence is it going to matter that you wasted five minutes looking up at the stars? No, it won’t but the soul nourishment you will feel could truly change your day or night.

Life's too short to match socks. Don't worry about the trivial stuff. It won't matter tomorrow much less in ten years. Have a messy house... have dirty dishes... wear your jeans two days in a row...In the grand scheme of things it doesn't matter. Should you let your whole life fall apart? Of course, not but I can’t tell you how many times I stressed in school over the most trivial things because I felt everything had to be perfect. No, you shouldn't let mold grow on your dishes but maybe you can vacuum tomorrow and paint your nails tonight?!?

In the end, I guess, I would just want my teenage self to learn to love who she was and how to be the best version of her not a mediocre version of someone else. After all, it doesn't matter how many people like you if you don't like yourself.

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