Dear 14, you were a tough year. I am not going to sugarcoat – 14, you were so horrible at times.
You were filled with changes (and 200 oz. of granola!). Fourteen, you tested my faith and you made me question who I was. At times, I just wanted you to end, but man, you taught me a whole heck of a lot. So, 14, thanks for showing me how hard work pays off. Thank you for making me realize how GOOD the Lord is! Dear 14, thank you for getting good at the end.
In honor of you, 14, here are 15 little things I have somewhat figured out over the past year.
Dance in the rain, in the kitchen, in the parking lot of TCBY, anywhere you can – dance. I do not care how stupid this sounds, it honestly is the best idea ever. I swear, I am probably the world’s worst dancer, but when I started embracing my bad dancing, I learned to love myself. If you have no problem dancing to a Beyoncé song, barefoot in a parking lot after getting turned down from a job – I feel like you will do pretty okay in most other life situations (or at least, I feel like I have).
There’s a Jesus Culture song with the lyrics,
“Nothing can stop this joy, we’re dancing in the streets”.
And THAT is the joy that the peace of the the Lord gives me.
Do not forget to dance.
Bonus points if it mimics an octopus !!
- No person is required to stick with you
No one is forced to care about you. It sucks, but you cannot just go through every day expecting people to just be there when you need them. At some point, they will get fed up with dealing with your crap or sometimes they just change. Bottom line, no one has to be there for you. Learning that makes you realize how big of blessings the people that ARE there are. So stop taking those sweet friends for granted, because the second you lose them, you will realize how much you miss their presence. Let the memories last, do not waste them fighting or doing pointless things.
At the same time, find peace in this realization. You are not required to stick around in any toxic relationships – surround yourself with people who love you and are willing to come over with ice cream cartons and watch John Tucker Must Die with you, not people who tell you things that make you cry are unimportant.
Some people might just decide that they do not want to be a part of your life anymore, and as hard as it is, you may not be able to stop them from leaving. And why would you? Do you really want someone who does not want you? Well if you are like me, you probably still will. You probably will apologize for things that you did not do in an effort to keep them. Stop. They are okay without you, and you are strong enough to be okay without them (even if you do not see it yet).
But there is a Lord above who is not planning on leaving you anytime soon, darling. So I would stick with Him – He’s a pretty cool guy who loves you more than you could ever imagine.
- Relationships with the Lord are more important than anything
Like I said, no one here on earth has to stay in your life. But there is one, forever stable figure, God. He is there and He will never leave. So put all faith in this.
Hebrews 11:1 says that,
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
The Lord will bring to you the people and resources you need to follow His ultimate plans for you. Strengthen this relationship, when you have the urge to talk to someone toxic in your life, pray instead. Trust me. It works ~wonders~.
- Take time
Things that hurt you will take time to get over. Accept it. Do not let ANYONE tell you how long you are allowed to be sad about something. There is a blog post on Thought Catalog that I am OBSESSED with and part of it says,
“Understanding, peace, and closure will sneak up on you at their own pace. Even if they are taking their sweet time, they will arrive.”
You cannot rush feelings. You cannot put a time limit on when you are supposed to feel “okay” again.
Remain patient and peace will come.
- Crying is not a sign of weakness
“There will come a time when the very things that are making you cry will make you laugh”
I went through a solid three year phase of not crying, not exaggerating, I did not cry. For THREE years. Do you see where this is an issue? I had myself wrapped around the idea that if you cried, you were weak. But, everyone cries and feels broken at times. And that leads us to the next one…
- Open up, but not to everyone. Allow yourself to be vulnerable.
Allowing myself to become vulnerable and legitimately talking about things upsetting me was tough, because that lead to crying and man, I hate crying. But opening up to people is the only way to strengthen friendships past surface level. Holding in feelings only hurts you, and builds up anxieties that are crippling. Do not shut out the world.
But, sweet sunshine, do not forget to be selective in who you confide in. Trust in the people who show you they want to be in your life and people that you want to be in theirs.
And if someone knocks you down because of your story, they should not get to be a part of it. Your life is YOUR journey, and it not subject of anyone else’s comparison or judgement.
- Play the music. Loud.
If you spend more than an hour with me, you will probably be forced to listen to my Spotify (sorry extremely not sorry)! Allow yourself to become lost in music, music conveys our feelings and can change an entire day.
Do not identify your taste in music as weird. It is uniquely yours and no one can take that away (plus I am sure it is wonderful!). Take walks with your headphones in and the music allllll the way up. Those are the best times to think:)
- Ice cream is usually the answer
If I told you I have had ice cream at least once a day for over a month, I would not be lying. Here’s the thing – ice cream is just great. You can put ANYTHING in it, and it is good for both celebration and mourning. No matter what’s going on outside of the ice cream carton, there is some sweet stuff waiting for you.
Shoutout to whoever invented ice cream – you are my hero, xo.
- BE NICE TO YOURSELF
This is so freaking cheesy but we are our own worst enemies. We are the ones knocking ourselves down, convincing ourselves that we weigh too much or are not good enough. And when you are not nice to yourself, it is incredibly easy to latch onto someone who makes you feel like you were wrong about yourself (which you probably are, because all of you are wonderful little sunshines!).
Here is the thing, no one will be able to fill a void that you create within yourself. So here’s the thing:
Treat yourself the way that you would a little kid or a tiny puppy. Feed yourself healthy food. Spend time outside. Allow yourself to go to bed early. Don’t say mean things to yourself and don’t put yourself in danger.
Now is that so hard?
Love yourself and I promise, you will start realizing how many people love the REAL you (not some made-up version of yourself). Look around – there are more people willing to be there for you than you might guess.
- Say whatcha feel
I have a fear of losing people, and stemming from that comes my tendency to apologize for things entirely out of my control. To me, it is much worse to lose a friend than to just take the blame for something I did not do. But guess what? NO ONE WANTS SOMEONE IN THEIR LIFE WHO TELLS THEM JUST WHAT THEY WANT TO HEAR! And if you do, we should have a little chat because if you are not hearing honest things, then what the heck are ya hearing and what world are you living in??
If something is hurting you, tell someone about it. If someone makes a joke at someone else’s expense, NICELY call ‘em out! Life is too short to hold in your feelings.
- Spend your time & money on what makes YOU happy
I love traveling, I love coffee shops and concerts. And THOSE are where I have decided to spend my time and money. Do not waste money on movies when (if you are like me) you can’t sit still and usually talk through the entire thing.
Sunshine, we were created for more than what this world has to offer, so enjoy the pleasant parts of it. Go on walks at sunrise and sleep with your windows open to hear the cars speeding down the street. Buy way too much stationary and go to as many concerts as your heart desires. Use the things you love to touch others – it is the one thing I swear you will not regret.
Bottom line, find something you love and radiate it – you will make other people happy through it.
- Let others know they are appreciated
The quickest and easiest way to lose someone is taking them for granted. Do not get into the mindset that people will always be there, because they won’t. Give the people you love little reminders that you appreciate them. Send them a text in the middle of the afternoon, write a letter, paint their favorite quote, bake them some cookies, the list goes on.
Just let them know they are loved.
I have quite a few people who have been pretty great about letting me know I am loved lately, and trust me – the ice cream, encouraging texts, and endless cuddles have made my life 10x better.
(HEY OPTIMUS PRIME LADIES I LOVEEE YOU!!)
Wait, a blogger is encouraging writing? This is unheard of! I would have never guessed!
Haha but actually, you would be surprised at the things that will flow out of you once you put the pen to paper. I keep journals with me EVERYWHERE. I am not exaggerating when I say I have one within five feet of me at all times.
It does not matter what you write about, or who you write to. Write your prayers, write your thoughts, write observations of other people, write letters – inspiration is everywhere.
- Do things that require your hair going up
If you are able to through the day with your hair still in perfect form, you are missing out. Life is an adventure, but it is your choice what to make of it. So STOP taking the safe route. Go on walks and get lost, take impromptu road trips with your best friend where the only food you bring are Girl Scout Cookies, plan on taking a walk but start running – GO ON AN ADVENTURE.
Seriously, I am such a big fan of laying in bed and watching Gilmore Girls but that is not what we are called to do in this life! God made this amazing world for us – so go explore it.
With your hair up.
- Everything is temporary
I have a really bad tendency to not think about the future. All I am concerned about is what is happening right now. But there is so many things that feel like they are ruining my life right now that will mean nothing in a year’s time.
Each and every one of us have an amazingly unique future in store for us that we can only dream about.
So, for those of you that are like me, stop being worried. This too will pass and being anxious about little things will get you noooooo wheeeeerrreeeeee. Proverbs 12:25
“Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.”
So rest in that. Do not let your anxieties weigh you down, sunshine.
None of this pain can compare to the joys in store.
This is a goodbye, 14. To be honest, I am grateful for every part of you. I am grateful for the nights that felt way too long and the lost friendships and the times that I did not understand what God’s plan was. I am grateful because all of those moments led me to where I am right now – a place surrounded with people I love and with opportunities to share the Word with others.
So, 15, I am coming into you open-hearted and willing. No more stubbornness and no more fighting the Lord’s plan. Because while I might not know what I am doing, I think that God just might.
If you haven’t seen last year’s birthday blog – check it out here!