with your new-fangled digital cameras, you kids will never know the pain of discovering you'd closed your eyes in the picture!
with your new-fangled digital cameras, you kids will never know the pain of discovering you’d closed your eyes in the picture!

I read a quote once that says its not fair that we have to live life backwards. If we had the wisdom of the elderly and “de-aged” if you will back into younger years, we might appreciate life more. We’d “start” life with the wrinkly, helpless body, and slowly get younger, more beautiful, work less, end up in school, get smaller and more energetic, and “end” life being rocked to sleep by our moms, wrapped in a cozy blanket, not a wee care in the world.

Maybe if we lived this way, we would know the joy twice as much, and probably wouldn’t sweat the small stuff. But if we lived that way, I don’t think we’d learn anything at all.

I was a sophomore in high school when I turned 16. I LOVED high school, and I think I did a good job at it. I mostly remember playing volleyball, being on improv and in school musicals, leadership, honors classes, rallies, never being home, staying up until the wee hours of the morning talking on the phone, playing with my dogs, and random adventures. I can’t imagine what my life would have been like if we’d had the internet like we do know, or if I’d had a cell phone. Things would have been CRAZY. And I was a pretty good kid. Straight A’s, really wanting to go to a good college, didn’t miss too many curfews (that they caught me at :). Though I do still shudder at the memory of one night sneaking in and finding my dad awake on the couch, probably polishing an imaginary gun.).

Thinking of this list was harder than I thought…I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I hadn’t lived the life I did. I don’t have many regrets at all from high school. A few more from college, but whats done is done. Overall, I think the first thing I would shake my shoulders and say to me is “This is so fun. It gets harder. I know you don’t understand that. But this is great. Just enjoy the ride.”

If I had a time machine, and I could have lived my life and felt the growing up, and then could go back and give me some advice, here are some things I might say to me:

10. On prom: Let your mom and grandma spend the money on a nice prom dress. You will never get to feel like a teenage princess again, and satin wrinkles in the car. Take more pictures than you think is necessary. Spring for the limo and the dinner out. Stay up all night. Go with someone who makes you laugh. And most importantly, GET THE RIGHT DIRECTIONS TO THE LOCATION IN SAN FRANCISCO.

9. Wear sunscreen and good shoes.

8. Love your school and everyone who works there. They work much harder than you think.

7. Participate in everything 100%. Try out for everything. Try everything. This is when you figure out what you might be good at.

6. Cut class! (I never did. Never have one cool story. Nerd.)

5. Forgive your parents. They love you and they’re trying to understand you and it might help to talk to them.

4. You are incredibly silly. And that is a good thing. Don’t take yourself or what anyone says about you too seriously. High school is just the beginning of your life, and being popular or pretty won’t really get you anywhere in life, and won’t bring you any success. But being a great person and enjoying life will bring you more friends than you will know what to do with, and give you infinite joy.

3. Go to church, find an adult mentor, stay connected; those people love you and want to take care of you.

2. Stay single. I had a few boyfriends but the one I miss the most? he’s now gay and that’s about it! They were all great guys. But I learned from those relationships that my girlfriends are way more important and will be a part of me for the rest of my life. I wish I had figured out that I probably won’t end up marrying someone I dated in high school, so don’t waste too much time and tears on it. Because in the end, the one you’re most likely to want to be with, is the guy who was your best friend the whole time.

And finally…something I wish every girl heard every day from every one she met…

1. You are more alive, have more energy, and are more beautiful than you know. God didn’t make any mistakes when He made you. Live life for the gift that it is.