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A letter to me

May 23, 2011

My Mom is good at presents.

She gives heartfelt ones and puts thought into them — always assigning meaning to why she picked it out just for you. I really like this about her.

It’s graduation time and she did it again.

As a gift to some of her young family members embarking upon high school graduation, she wrote a letter to her “18-year-old self” as a means to share advice with them.

It’s fun to think about how you would talk to you if your young, sassy little counterpart were standing before you.

You may say: “Well, hello darling. You have no idea how beautiful you are, do you?” or “C’mon, just dump him, already!”

I started thinking about what almost-30-year-old Lauren would say to barely-17-year-old Lauren (the age I was when I graduated high school).

And so here it is: A Letter to Me.

Dear Lauren,

I am proud of you. You march to the beat of your own drummer — and that will serve you well in life.

But here are a few words of advice.

(I know you don’t like advice. But technically, you’re telling yourself what to do, OK?)

And about that stubborn, don’t-like-advice thing: once you learn to be humble and learn from others, you will blossom.

Be patient. Keep your favorite Bible verse close to your heart: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jer. 29:11)

Don’t date him. Or him. And definitely not him. Basically don’t date anyone until you’re 25. (Then you’ll meet your husband).

Use your leadership abilities for good, not mischief.

Never feel like you’re too young to make a (positive) difference.

Watch out with the cleavage. And the low-rise jeans. And anything from Abercrombie, really.

Buy stock in Starbucks.

Focus on school more than boys — seriously, they’re all a waste of time until you’re 25, so go to class.

Keep running.

Keep praying.

Hug your Nana a lot. You’ll sure miss her when she’s gone.

Same goes for Grandma.

Surprise people by exceeding their expectations.

Thank your parents and respect your bosses.

Remember that having integrity is more important than being popular. And in the grown-up world — I think integrity makes you more popular. At least where it counts.

As Dr. Seuss says, “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”

And that is true for every day of every week for the rest of your life — even when you’re a mama, a wife, a boss, a friend, a daughter or a trapeze artist. Most of all, you are you.

Remember who you are. Love who you are. And keep who you are as you give yourself to others.

Love,

Your older, wiser (and more good looking?) self

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