|Seen in Nashville yesterday.|
Dear Teenage Sister-in-Christ,
I turned 23 last week, which means I’ve had a few years to process some things that I did- or did not- do right while I was in my teens. I wish I could go back and encourage myself that life is short and tedious, but to not grow weary and take every moment captive. I can’t though, so I’m writing you, hoping that maybe you’ll learn from my perspective things that I wish I had studied or skills that I’ve been so grateful I’ve developed:
- Learn food photography. There WILL come a time you need to do it well.
- Go the extra mile in math. You may need to figure out how many pounds of sand you need to buy to level out under the swimming pool someday.
- Learn good housekeeping habits, even if you’re not naturally inclined towards tidying up.
- Don’t use Bath and Body Works products. The smell of Twilight Woods is not worth the toxic load on your skin.
- You probably won’t get married young.
- Learn house/table/product staging. Like food photography, there WILL come a time when you’ll need that skill.
- Read the classics. Read the poets. Read about art. Learn about your city.
- Learn how to sew with excellence.
- Learn web design, even if you’re not “techie”.
- Learn how to do hair.
- Redeem your time with audio books. Still one of my fondest times from my teenage years was listening to Augustine’s Confessions while sewing Reformation Day costumes for my sisters and me.
- Loosen up on the eyeliner. It doesn’t make you look older.
- Acquire a basic understanding of needlework, even if you don’t have the patience for it.
- Study the golden ratio.
- Don’t ignore “the little kids”. Some of my best friends now are younger girls I had to grit my teeth and “put up with” when I was 15 and they were 11/12. The older we get, the easier it is to forget that there’s an age difference.
- Learn Photoshop, video editing, and typography. You may not plan to ever have a business, work as a graphic designer, or blog, but the chances of you being asked to make a flyer for a church event or help your husband with t-shirts for his company, etc. are preeeeetty high.
- Explore your interests. Draw, paint, sculpt, sing! Economics, politics, theology– it’s all profitable.
- Invest in your siblings. They will be your best friends.
- It is better to be quiet than to fill silences with meaningless flirty chatter.
- Enjoy family time, but making the effort to hang out with friends will also be a big blessing in your life.
- Learn to read sheet music.
- Don’t say derogatory things about guys. Build them up with your words and actions.
- Learn some pop culture.
- Pinterest is great! In moderation.
- In social gatherings, relax.
- Keep a journal.
- Learn the art of story-telling. Whether it’s entertaining company, sharing a life-lesson at a Bible study, or simply making small-talk, being able to tell an interesting (and not super long) story will serve you well.
- Instead of filling your hopechest, simplify your stuff to leave time, energy, money, and space in your life for ministry, hospitality, and friendships.
- Cook a real meal at least once a week. Cooking is a muscle that has to be exercised.
But most importantly, memorize Scripture, talk with Jesus, and share your joys, hugs, and struggles with your mom. She can be pretty great.
Do you have any advice/skills you would add? I hope this has encouraged a few of you to take life by the horns and enjoy the day. 🙂