I’m sure many have seen the social media then and now trend circling. If somehow you haven’t, which I highly doubt, people are asked to post a photo from 2009; then a side by side with 2019. Ten years, a whole decade, how have you changed? Is your family different? Do you look drastically different, or has Father Time been good to you and the changes are minimal, if at all? What about the things you can’t see, the life you’ve actually lived. If you knew then what you know now, would anything be different? Would you change anything?
I look back and see the start and end of a life season. I met and married my Husband and we started and finished our family. Which a simple sentence like that seems so picturesque. So routine. It got me thinking, if given the chance what would I tell ’09 me about the years that lay ahead? The trials, the triumphs, the moments that made me proud, and the things I wish I had done differently.
I think it would go something like this:
There will be moments that you are so sure of what you’re doing and you will still have others tell you you’re wrong. Trust yourself in those moments. Others can’t understand or dictate your happiness, especially when talking about the life you are choosing to build. That man-boy you just met? Marry him. Stop telling him to go away, you already know where this is headed. I understand what you’re thinking, “what will people say? Think? Assume?” They will say, think, and assume all the things. The only thing that matters is the truth.
Learn the difference between advice and opinion. Advice will come with love, and understanding. True advice will welcome you with open arms no matter the choice made. Opinion will come with finality of one person’s thoughts. Differing opinions can be a great thing. You can learn greatly from them, but only if the opinion is coming from an open minded source. Quite frankly, another person’s opinion of you doesn’t matter. Especially when we’re talking about your happiness. You control your happy. There is a calm that comes with real unwavered happiness. Recognize that perfect calm. We aren’t talking about the calm before a storm feeling. That calm has a sense of foreboding that comes with it. This is an absolute calm. A calm that allows you to laugh, have joy, and complete comfort even while there may be a storm around you. Learn this calm, and remember it, you will recognize it many times in the the next ten years.
The last thing you will expect is infertility. People don’t talk about it often, that will change. I promise you are not alone in this trial; something you don’t find out until your first miscarriage. Support will come from the most unexpected places. Through this you will find yourself being the support for others. Many will reach out to you about miscarriage and infertility, that you’ve just met because your story was shared. Don’t get upset when some don’t understand. It’s one of those things that many can’t fully comprehend until they live it. You assume in your young, nieve self, that things will come easily; the perfect picture of what a young couple starting a family should be. It won’t. There is no should be. There is only what is, and if you look carefully you will find beautiful imperfection in every moment.
People will choose to leave your circle. This will be painful, and I’m sorry. There really isn’t anything that can be said to make these moments easier. You will still feel sadness no matter the time that passes. You will never understand why, questions will never fully be answered, you just have to hope they have done what’s best for them. My only solace would be to quote Alfred Lord Tennyson. “Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” To feel sadness is to know you have loved. On the flip side. Don’t be afraid to leave a table if the company isn’t what you need or is the source of what is dragging you down. You have a loyalty almost to a fault at times. Your loyalty belongs to your husband and children. It’s more than okay to love and cheer for people from afar.
Most importantly, you need to know for every bit of struggle there is more good than you can imagine. Your trials will come and go. You will move through all of them, some much less gracefully than others. The emotions will stay with you as a very real reminder of those moments. I can promise you they will be that, moments. Some longer than others, and what comes out the other side is a stronger you. You follow that perfect calm and marry that goofy guy who could barely tell you his name. He is supportive and not afraid to call you out when needed. He is exactly what you need. The two of you have a beautiful rainbow baby, followed by two more who are just as perfect as the first. You laugh every. Single. Day. Even on the hard days. Yes, there are still hard days. Some days you will feel like you’re only surviving. Girl, there is nothing wrong with surviving. It means you’re still trying, still fighting. It most definitely doesn’t mean you’re failing. You keep your head up, look for the good. When you do, you see the smallest blessings that are present in everyday.
As this decade closes, so does this season of life. There was pain and sadness, but there was so much good. So much love. More happy than I could have hoped for. Sometimes we have to look back to see the full picture of what was. I’m excited for what’s to come. I’m also blessed to have lived the moments I have been given. We blinked and this decade was gone. For this next decade, focus on and live in the moments.