I just celebrated my 10-year class reunion. Woof.
I swear there is no way I’m a 28-year-old married, cat mom but, wait, yes…yes, that's exactly what I am.
I couldn’t make it back, but I’ve been thinking about it. What’s changed since then, the person I am today and what I would say to 18-year-old fake tattoo wearing, running around giving high fives to everyone, Steph. Here we go.
This is Schteph. You don’t know me yet but I am you and you are me and life is truly an amazing thing so just stick with me on this one.
Schteph is the name your super cute husband calls you and every time he says it you melt a little. Yep, you are married. Crazy, I know. Even crazier, you guys have a cat. I know, I know it still blows my mind too but trust me on this one, when he snuggles up on your chest in the morning you’ll want to be no other place in the entire world.
You're 18, you just finished high school and it kind of feels like the whole world is at your fingertips, doesn't it? Guess what? It is! You can do anything you set your mind to, I promise. I want to share a few things with you as you embark on this new season of life.
Love right where you are. Tomorrow is not guaranteed my friend. Live each day like it's your last. Don't be so busy looking toward the future that you miss where you are right now. 18 is a beautiful age and you'll never be it again. Pretty soon, you'll want to slow life down, so live it up while you can!
Call your parents. And your grandma. And sister. Seriously. This is a transition for everyone. I know, I know, you're excited to go off and do your own thing but just know how much they love you. Call often, but a simple text that says "Hi, love you" means a lot too.
Be a life long learner. You’re going to love college but don't stop there. Learn from the people around you. Learn from experience. Learn from mistakes. Ask questions. Listen to podcasts, and speakers who motivate you, and trust me on this one YouTube will become your #1 resource for learning new things. Make it your goal to learn something new every day.
Love. Oh love. You’re going to get your heart broken. I know it hurts. Oofta, it hurts bad. But you're going to be ok. I promise, even when it feels like you're not. Here's what I want you to do: 1. Call your mom and 2. Make sure you love yourself first. Find out who YOU are. And then, one day when you're not expecting it (like at all, at all) a super cute guy is going to walk into your life and you'll know he's the one for you.
Find out who you are and own it. Try new things. Be bold. Make mistakes. Learn. Grow. But mostly do. Do things. Do big things, do small things, do all things. Find out who you are and even more so, who you are not.
Try new foods. Expand your palette. It’s fun! Annnnnnd comes in handy when you travel, especially overseas.
Be kind. You never, ever know what someone is going through. And you never know when someone might come back into your life. No matter who it is, your waiter, a professor, the person pumping gas next to you at the station, look them in the eye, smile, and just be kind.
Life is too short to wait. If you want to start something, start. If you want to go somewhere, go. If you want to do something, do it. Don't wait for affirmation or until you feel ready. You are more prepared and capable than you will ever know.
Shine a light for people Steph. We've all been given gifts and talents to make this world a little bit better. Be bold and don't be afraid to shine yours.
Vodka takes a minute to kick in. Trust me on this one, just because you don’t feel anything right after the first shot doesn’t mean you need to do another….and another…and another. Take it easy my friend, take it reeeaaallll easy.
Take care of your body starting NOW. It’s the only one you get. I know the all-you-can-eat buffets draw you in every darn time but go to the salad bar. Please, please, please.
Stop trying to be right all the time. Listen, dang it. Try to understand people and where they're coming from. Just because they have a different opinion than you doesn't make them wrong. Open yourself to being challenged by others thoughts.
Learn this one as soon as you can....you will NEVER have it all figured out. Nope.
This is a big one Steph, your decisions are never the end all. I know the future is unknown and scary and it feels like the weight of the world, or at least your future, is on your shoulders. Know this, you can always go back. You can always change career paths. You can always move home. You can always start over. Make a decision, go all in, work your bum off, and adapt if you need to.
You have a say in life. Society has made up this checklist for how we should live life. Go to school, find a job, get married, have kids, retire. But listen up... YOU CAN DO ANYTHING YOU WANT TO. For real. It might be scary and not make a whole lot of sense but, if you really, really want something, you'll make it happen.
Say YES! So many adventures (and really great stories) happen every time you say yes.
Learn to say no. I know that I just said say yes, but keep in mind, you don’t have to do it all. I know FOMO is real for you, but it’s ok and honestly healthy to say no. Learn your limits and set some boundaries.
Trust me, no one is watching THAT closely. Don’t worry about what others are thinking. If you want to do something, go and do the dang thing.
Sleep. You are a better friend, student, daughter, and person when you get some sleep.
For the love of G, PLEASE stop procrastinating. Wowzer. Your poor heart doesn't need all that stress.
Pray, every day.
Realize this Steph, everyone is on their own adventure. Just because you want to hike through the Himalayas and your friend wants 3 kids tomorrow doesn't make one adventure more grand than the other, they're just different and that's a beautiful thing. If someone is following their dream, make darn sure you are right there beside them, cheering them on!
You are beautiful. You really are.
Social media is about to take a wild turn. I mean, you don't even know what Instagram is yet but it's coming in hot. Listen, don't get caught up in the comparison game. It's the WORST. Remember, the grass is greener where you water it. If someone is living the life you want, makes some changes and start living that life for yourself.
Yes, the s'more blizzard at Dairy Queen is still your favorite. Some things change, some don't.
Keep up with a foreign language. You'll regret not knowing one.
Right now you have no responsibilities. You are young and wild and free. Enjoy it. Take risks, try new things, say yes, go on adventures. Work and money and climbing the ladder come way too soon.
Work your bum off but know that money isn't everything. Find your passions and pursue the dreams YOU want. You'll realize life is more than just working all the time.
Unfortunately, your ridiculous dancing doesn't get any better.
Travel. Near and far. Just know that the world and its people are more beautiful and welcoming than you could ever imagine (and the news will show you).
Steph, I’m so proud of you. For real. Not of who you’re going to become, but who you are right now. The world is at your fingertips and you get to go for it. How cool is that?
Life is cool and beautiful and a complete mystery. So much will change in 10 years and some things will stay the same. Even when you feel like you can't, keep moving forward, big things happen when you do.
Love you my friend,
Now go call your mother!
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