The first thing I want to tell you is... to just breathe! In the future... as in right now - present day now, as a 40something year old woman - you are content and happy! Happy - in your own skin, even - and it had nothing to do with all the worrying and wondering you do at 15 and 17 (and 20!) You always were a thinker... a poet and a ponderer... those tendencies never leave you. They are a part of who you are and you do learn to embrace them - while allowing your natural bent that goes to worry and fear to be reshaped and reformed! I can assure you that years from now - Worry and Fear are not so close to you. You all aren't such good friends anymore - and you are healthier for it! As an adult - your new bent is positive... full of Faith and Hope, and they make MUCH better friends!
Speaking of friends... it really is true that you will reduce to the lowest common denominator and you have been blessed with some great circles of friends. As much as it seems impossible now - in just a few years - you will have an entirely difference circle... life moves on, college happens, jobs come and go, and these friends who you have literally grown up with, as well as some of the circles just around the corner, will not be a part of your daily life. Years from now you will hear of places like MySpace and Facebook and Twitter. You will try out all three... but it is Facebook that will help you reconnect with many of these great friends from childhood! One thing will be in your favor... by the time Facebook comes around - you have come to know and actually love who you are and those high school temptations to try to fit in are long (long) gone! Be yourself sooner... no apologies... live out loud!
While you were right to stick to your guns about NOT wanting to meet and fall in love at 14... of wanting to grow up and be independent and know who you are first... you DID in actuality technically meet your husband at 14 - but you won't remember that until after you are dating... and while he is not what you think you want at 16, he is exactly what you need and an amazing man... he is worth the wait (and you won't have to wait much longer really!)
The things you value now at 16 - the things you are striving for and find vital to happiness will turn out to fade quickly and are not vital or important in the big picture of things - which, by the way, you begin to discover that Big Picture at 21. What you think of as success (a perfect body, lots of money, and to get out of this little town - just to name a few) and the goals you have set right now will not come to pass... but don't worry - your life means something and you are successful in many of those hidden, undervalued ways that often seem to go unnoticed. Trust me - they are not unnoticed - or unappreciated!
There are soon coming a few split-second moments that can (and will) alter the way you live your life... don't hesitate - go with your gutt... your first instinct is right!
Your love of words lives on and I would encourage you to keep at it! You will be a life-long journaler, note taker, list maker, day planner follower... but there is more to your writing than that! Stick with it.. and don't shy away from things when they seem hard. Life (I have discovered in my 'old age') is to be an adventure - and risk is needed... don't be so afraid of trying... so afraid of change and failure... without risk of failure - you will find little success... Success will come in ways you cannot plan for - and yet in ways you would never trade in a million years! I encourage you to step in to who you really are... don't be so shy, so reserved... people love you for who you are - your love, your tenderness, your dry sarcastic sense of humor... use it to reach out - not to tear down... it reveals the inner strength and resolve that many are surprised to find in quiet little you.
I remember how unsettled you were at the thought of being a Mom... you would worry about shortcomings and not doing it right... let me tell you - you DO have shortcomings, and some days, you DON'T do it 'right'... but you are an amazing Mom and together with your husband, and God, you are madly in love with this creature that looks like the best of you and the best of him.... this woman (yes - she is nearly a woman now!) amazes you every day... to have your heart out and about and walking around is risky... and sometimes it gets broken, but she is the best thing you have ever done! She is your biggest success, greatest risk, and deepest joy.
Remember how Mom would tell you all the time of the miracle surrounding your birth and how God had a plan and a purpose for you... that He used you to share love. Well - as cheesy as it sounded back then, it turns out it is true! You have always valued friendships and family and even when it seemed like you were the only one - you made relationships a priority. You still do that... and God still desires to flow through you and love on those around you! Let Him... it requires being vulnerable and honest and it is risky... but do it anyway!
from your future self,
(Oh - yes... eventually - you decide to grow into your FULL name! Turns out it's meaning is "a cool restful place beside still waters" and you really liked that!)