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August Blog Challenge - Day 4

List 10 things you would tell your 16-year-old self if you could.

Dear serious girl,
If I could tell you ten things.

1. Be playful.  Lighten up, Francis. Life is serious, yes.  Love is serious, yes.  And you think and feel deeply, and everything is so important.  Except it's really not.  It's okay to have fun.  To play. To do something that is complete nonsense and has no point.  Really.  The world won't end.  Nothing tragic will happen if you stop thinking for a minute or two and enjoy something. Keep perspective.  Get a dog sooner.

2. Be wise.  Keep reading.  Keep learning.  Stay excited about the millions of things that you don't know.  Listen to people who think differently than you do.  Ask lots of questions.  Be curious.  Hear about other places, other cultures, other religions.  Seek to understand.  Keep your mind open.  Be willing to consider - and reconsider.  Don't do that Master's program.  Go straight for the PhD.

3.  Be confident.  Believe you are enough.  The voices that cast doubt on your worth that you have unwittingly allowed to live in your head can be silenced.  Learn to love your flaws and embrace your mistakes.  You're human.  Gloriously human.

4. Be strong.  It's going to hurt.  Life is like that.  Pain is the price of love, and you love hard, so you will also hurt hard.  That's okay.  Embrace it.  It means you're alive and learning.  Let people in.  Let people care.  Let people help.  Be brave enough to ask for help.  Be tough enough to do it yourself if you have to.  You're determined. You're resilient.  You're going to need to be.  Love your scars.  They prove that you are stronger than what tried to break you.

5.  Be weak.  But sooner or later, we all break. So break.  There's no shame in that.  Cry, scream, agonize, feel.  The cracks are where the light gets in. Stay vulnerable.  Don't let pain make you harden your heart.  Love is worth the risk.  Every time.

6.  Be kind.  Love the people in your life as hard as you can.  As loud as you can.  There is no room for half-measures here.  Hug them like you mean it.  Kiss like it's the last time. Don't say "I love you" out of habit on your way out the door.  Stop. Pause. Think.  Feel that love in your heart.  Then look them in the eye and say, "I love you."  Believe me, they will know the difference.  Do your best to help.  Try never to hurt.  And when you do, apologize. Not only say "I'm sorry" but take responsibility, make amends, and learn from your mistakes.  Find the light in people and treat them as if that's all you see.  And learn to forgive.

7.  Be faithful.  Not only loyal to those you love and to your own morals, but also full of faith.  There is much in this world that can't be analyzed or figured out.  Some things we have to just accept.  Faith is the key to being able to do this.  Believe there is more to this universe than what we can see, more than what we can quantify.

8.  Be honest.  First of all, with yourself.  Humans are wily creatures.  You will know just how to frame things in your mind.  You will know just what lies to tell yourself.  Don't do it.  Be honest. Brutally honest.  Fear is a sign to dig deeper.  Never be content with the surface.  Know that every story, every event, every person is more than what you can see.

9.  Be healthy.  Eat well, sleep well, exercise, get rid of bad habits and get some self-discipline. Really.  Snickers and Diet Coke for lunch?  Not a good idea.

10.  Be you.  Just be you.


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