Some were out partying, some a mum and a wife. Some had direction, some no control of their life. The women who have commented have written their wisdom, To themselves as a 19 year old, would they have listened?
Dear Sweet Girl,
So you are 19… a great age. You have left school and have a bit of life under your belt and now you have the world before you, laid at your feet really.
So, what are you going to do?
Go to university before you have kids? Travel the world before you fall in love? Have a relationship? What is really important? I know you don't want to make mistakes.
For a moment, step away from your friends expectations, from your parents expectations, from the world's expectations and from any one else's expectations of you - now look at yourself...where are you right now, where do you truly want to be in 5 years time? How do I get there? Who can help me get there?
Don't be too scared to dream big! It's never too late to change your path. Dream big and know you have been made for a purpose, search out that purpose… it requires commitment and discipline so encourage these in your life, see them as friends.
Search for Truth, build on your strengths, focus on what you DO have, not what you don't. When you discover a 'weakness' or 'gap' in you… acknowledge it but don't focus on it… set goals while you are young, and set them around your strengths and you'll find the gaps will close.
Be teachable. It's hard because you've just come out of school where people have been trying to teach you all your life… but that was very different, it was imposed upon you. Now you have the most amazing chance of actually embracing 'teachability'. Look for people with qualities you like, admire - skill sets in people you'd like or want to have - then grab the opportunity and hang out with them. Ask them questions, find out what they did to acquire the skills or talents they have and then allow them to impart their thoughts and feedback about you, what they see in you.
Sweet girl, you have had pain in your childhood. Is there darkness, hurt and despair? Deal with it NOW! When you are 30, you really don't want that stuff still affecting you. Go and see someone. A psychologist, a prayer counsellor, a pastor or a mentor. Don't get stuck in patterns of negative self preservation, you are still young enough to create a great new freedom and start healing.
Allow people, experiences and stories to move you. Cry when you feel like crying, don't stifle it. Be connected to your emotions but not controlled by them.
If you are a Mum at nineteen, I understand it is difficult, but believe me the time is going to fly by. The time is coming soon enough when you will have loads of free time to follow your own pursuits. Your life situation will improve even without you always staring hopefully into the future. For now, enjoy your children's company and sow into their lives. Without them your life would be very empty. They are gifts from God and he has entrusted them into your care. It is all going to be o.k girl.
I love how outgoing you are. You are so confident, bold, capable. You have the potential to do whatever you want! Don't choose to be good at alcohol, clubbing, sex and drugs. It only leads to destruction and a path that will damage your heart, mind and body. Not to mention the waste of time. Get out of that lifestyle right now! Or you will find yourself asking... What happened to the last 10 years!
Love your body, take care of it. Don't try and escape from it. Open doors to good friendships and relationships with people with direction and wisdom. Shut doors with the others. They will just trample you and move on. Selfish people are exhausting to be around. And while you're at it, get rid of that guy that torments your heart and mind and makes you compromise who you are! No, he probably won't change and yes, he's possibly using you and/or cheating on you.
Explore the world: don't get stuck as a goody two shoes doing "the right thing". Take risks (within limits). Read widely and deeply: great philosophers, explorers, creative people, sports people, whatever is pertinent to your area of interest. Live passionately! Breathe! Play! Hold onto the fact that you are lovely, loved, lovable and loving.
Controlling situations and people doesn't make for a happy ending. People do not always act, react, think or behave in situations as you would. You've spent many years in disappointment, anger and judgement because of your expectations. It's easier I know to point a finger at other people for your hurt and to think that if only they would change you would feel better. You think getting your own way will make you happy. If only 'Simon' would be a better father. If only your mother was more nurturing. If only your parents could support you financially life would be easier to bear.
The truth is Sweet Girl, the kind of support you are looking for can't be found in a human. You are looking for a saviour. Open yourself up to the possibility that there is someone out there who gave you a purpose, created you for it - yes God, found only in Jesus Christ - look more into this… He once said He was the Truth, the Life and the Way. God wants you to lean on Him. He wants to share His light, His ways and understanding so that you won't fall down so much. He cares about those tiny things in your life!
Isn't that what we all desire? Truth and Life and at 19 years of age especially… we are searching for The Way?
Sweet girl, which Way will you choose? Let's get started on a life of purpose and integrity!
With love from,
Your Future Self.
p.s – Next month look out for my follow up article: A letter to …..my parents, from my 19 year old self. (Part Two of Two)
Belinda Croft is married to Russell and she has a son BJ, 11 years. She has a heart and passion for God, writing, creativity, mission and social justice.
Belinda's archive of articles can be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/belinda-croft.html