Ten years ago I officially graduated from the University of Tennessee (Go Vols!) with my Bachelor’s degree in Sport Management. I had the fortune of completing my coursework early, thanks to busting my butt in summer school, and had already walked across the stage in December of 2002. However, with it being graduation season and the tenth anniversary of my graduation, I felt it was worth taking a moment to write myself a note to the 21 year old who thought she knew it all.
Wow, congratulations kiddo on a big accomplishment today. You’ve come along way in four short years, when you were scared of driving to Johnson City. Now look at you! You live in Birmingham, where you didn’t know anyone and are pursuing your dream in baseball. As your future self, I would like to pass along some words of wisdom for you…it might save you some hassle and maybe even some heartache.
First of all, stop coloring your hair red, and letting it grow out. It’s not a good look and it will take you far longer to realize this than it should. Seriously sister, it’s a big reason you don’t look fondly back onto some pictures from Senior year.
Second, your plan isn’t God’s plan. It will take you years to figure this nugget out. What you have mapped out, isn’t necessarily all God’s got in store for you. There will be days you will question whether you can do it, trust in God that you can. He’s stood by you while you’ve made some serious foul-ups. He’ll be there each and every time because He knows you…better than you think you do.
It’s okay to let people into your life. You’ll question why and wonder what the purpose for them in a particular season is for your life. Some you’ll understand, others you won’t. Just enjoy the friendships and relationships you have over this next season of life for what they are and stop trying to read so much into them. And while we’re at it, you know better than to think you can change a man. If he treats you that way in the first few weeks, he’ll treat you that way for far longer. Don’t settle, there’s something better on the way.
You don’t need that pair of shoes or that outfit right now. Save your money, don’t charge it. You don’t need to keep up with everyone else, just be who you are and live into that. Read a little more than you are right now…because you’ll love it in a few years and just won’t have the time to do it as often.
Don’t allow the past to dictate your present, and that includes your feelings about church and God. You’re headed towards years of questions, hurts, doubts, and fears in so many ways and you need a community to heal in. While we’re on the topic, stay away from that one. You’ll know which one I am referring to when the time comes. It was deceptively good but led to far more damage in the long run.
Spend more time loving on your family. Cherish the time you have with all of them as some you’ll have the misfortune to lose in the next few years. You’ll gain some new family but there’s still a hole where others have gone. Be kind and understanding a little more. Cheer for the Vols, they’ll need it over the coming years.
Say yes a little more…to the right things and no when you feel that nudge. Trust me, it will benefit you far more than you know now. You’ll be surprised where God leads you in the next decade, because you opened up and allowed HIM to lead you. You have no control over life, and that’s okay. You know Someone who does. Rest in that knowledge.
You’re going to have bad days and good days. You’re going to meet some amazing people, some of which will still be in your life in ten years and they will surprise you as to who sticks around. Remember that most of all it’s about the small decisions every day that lead you to where you are now. Don’t look back with regret or sadness, but with joy at where it has led you to currently. You got this sister with God’s hand guiding you.