So God Made a Teacher Collection (Sale!) ➔

Dear younger me,

Good news is you’re still going to be kicking it at 49, which should shock you considering you think people my age fall into the old category. Sorry to say, but you are clueless and naïve about the aging process, despite your beautiful innocence. Being “old” is relative—however, I do encourage you to enjoy your brief ability to fight gravity while you can. A downward trend awaits you.

By the time you reach middle age, life will have done her job to enlighten your spirit, warm your heart, and humble more than your firm edge lines. Just remember to treat your temple like a queen or she will lose her crown. Everything in moderation is legit.

While the number of lessons you will learn over the next three decades will make up an exhaustive list, I’ve curated 13 of the most important bits of wisdom I’d like you to know. Consider each a prized diamond; then build off the shimmer to further your journey of unfolding and awakening to who you are in this great big world.

1. Practice self-love

This can’t happen soon enough. Love is what you’re made of and love is why we’re here. But in order to give and receive love in full, you have to love and cherish who you see in the mirror.

2. Rediscover your authentic self and own her

You don’t even realize it yet, but you’ve built up some mighty walls to protect yourself from being hurt. All this self-preservation hides who you really are and the boundaries need to crumble so you can begin to let go of the pain deep inside you. Don’t waste your time pretending. Instead, dare to be vulnerable. Authenticity heals, my friend. You have value, worth, and purpose no matter what anyone tells you otherwise. Put in the hard work to heal. Be you. Be bold. Be brave. Be real.

3. Start practicing yoga and meditation now

Choosing to turn off the world and tune in to your heart is life-giving. You will learn to breathe yourself through just about anything. The upside is feeling more connected to everyone and everything around you.

4. Make friends with people different from you

Listening to other people and learning their stories blows your heart wide open. Once that happens, significant deconstruction of everything you felt certain about begins to take place. This leads to healing, transformation, and a profound knowing that has nothing to do with you, but also everything to do with you at the same time.

5. Get the help you need

Part of your journey includes a battle to regain your mental health. Seek counsel sooner than later, and take the meds because they are going to save your life.

6. Forgive

You are going to struggle mightily with this based on a traumatic past. But if you can start practicing forgiveness in the little things, you will build the resolve to be merciful in the bigger things. Every day offers an opportunity to forgive someone. None of this can happen without extending inward grace. Not until you accept that you are worthy and beloved in all your imperfections will you ever be able to extend the same authentic grace to others.

7. Value human connection and the physical world around you like it’s your job

Instant access to everything across the globe at the touch of a finger is on the horizon. The virtual world is exhilarating and advantageous in countless ways. But, technology is also devastating when it replaces human to human contact and physical interaction with all created things. Lasting 3D wonder exists all around you in real-time. Be present to these gifts.

8. Laugh often. Smile every day. Cry whenever you feel like it.

Each one empties the soul, allowing more life energy to flow back in.

9. Spend time with the elderly

Senior citizens are walking TED talks. Pay attention and learn from their triumphs and failures. They know what’s important in life by now. Chances are you don’t.

10. Say no to worry

Nothing is gained by projecting worse case scenarios, but a heck of a lot is lost. Love binds; fear separates. Living inside the illusion of potential dread will keep you from experiencing what you have right in front of you.

11. Be a good listener, not just a hearer

Communication is paramount to every healthy relationship and endeavor. Listen first. Try not to interrupt. Repeat back what you’ve heard to clarify. Listen some more. Speak if necessary.

12. Pursue your dreams and listen to your heart

Trust yourself and rely on your inner compass. All the gifts and talents you need are already inside you. Use them—that’s why you are here.

13. Be LOVE

Love is the Nike swish meaning of life. Just do it.

If you have any questions about the above, write them in a journal. Maybe someday I’ll be able to bend time and space and meet up with you for a girls’ night out. In the meantime, enjoy the now, be intentional with your words and actions, and hold everything loosely. You are not in control of much—only yourself.

By the way, you’re a good egg. You’re doing fine. Believe it, and allow yourself the grace to grow. 

You may also like:

This Stage of Life? It’s Hard Too.

We’re Moms in Our 40s and We Get it Now

Shelby Spear

A self-described sappy soul whisperer, sarcasm aficionado, and love enthusiast, Shelby is a mom of 3 Millennials writing about motherhood and life from her empty nest. She is the co-author of the book, How Are You Feeling, Momma? (You don't need to say, "I'm fine.") , and you can find her stories in print at Guideposts, around the web at sites like Her View From Home, For Every Mom, Parenting Teens & Tweens and on her blog

My Mom Delivers a Favorite Dish to My Family Every Month and it’s the Best Gift Ever

In: Living, Motherhood
Grandma with grandkids and food

For Christmas, Mom and Dad gave each of my sisters and me a note with a pan of frozen lasagna. The note read: During the year of 2022 you will receive a Mama’s Recipe (cook’s choice) delivered to your door one time monthly by Papa’s Food Truck.” (The “food truck” is just my mom and dad delivering food to my sisters and me—not an actual business.) Part of the gift includes the container the food comes in. The list for each month is below. You’ll also find recipes (where available) and links to the containers.  PS: If you click and...

Keep Reading

13 Reasons Having a Family Dog is the Best

In: Living
Boy with dog

Dear Buster, I never thought we would get a dog, and yet here you are—an integral, irreplaceable part of our family of five. You have filled a void in our household that we were not even aware existed. RELATED: 8 Reasons Every Family Should Get a Dog Here are my top 13 ways in which you make our lives so much richer and more incredible, including the lessons you teach us. After all, as I like to remind my kids, learning lessons is fundamental to living.  1. You alleviate our stress. Rubbing your head and tummy is akin to therapy,...

Keep Reading

I Love Having a Friend With a New Baby

In: Baby, Friendship, Motherhood
Woman snuggling newborn baby

To my sweet friend with a newborn, Thank you. This stage you’re in is the sweetest, most innocent, and challenging time. The exhaustion and love are overwhelming I know—I feel like I was just there yesterday with my own kids. Only, it wasn’t yesterday. Even though I can close my eyes and remember those precious moments with my own newborns, it feels so far in the past. I love the age my kids are now, but I’m telling you, there’s something magical about those first few weeks of life. When your baby scrunches their body into a ball when you...

Keep Reading

Jesus of the Rock Bottom Rescue

In: Faith, Living
Sad woman sitting on floor

Have you ever hit rock bottom? I have and it was the scariest place I’ve ever been but that’s where I found Jesus. Where I truly encounter the Holy Spirit and the healing power and life He can give. I was raised in a Christian home by good parents that would have given their lives for me. I was raised in the church and loved by my church family. I enjoyed going to church as a child and I loved Jesus my whole life. At the age of 8 years old I asked Jesus into my heart and was baptized....

Keep Reading

I’m Done Feeling Guilty for Struggling with My Mental Health

In: Living, Motherhood
Woman walking down a sunny road

My mental health hasn’t been great for the past week. I couldn’t put my finger on what was going on, I just knew I was struggling. My whole body felt like I was squeezing, holding in the building tension of life, trying not to burst on innocent bystanders in my path. It took me days to finally clue in that it was my anxiety, a handful of little things combining to create a perfect storm. The endless cycle of sickness hitting my family, parenting pressure, and pain from past trauma. In retrospect, I guess it wasn’t little things at all,...

Keep Reading

Even as an Adult, It’s Hard When Friends Move Away

In: Friendship
Woman looking out car window

I grew up in an anomaly of a small town where no one moved away. Seriously, I can count on one hand the number of friends who left during my childhood. Granted, most of us hightailed it out of that one-stoplight town as soon as we had our high school diplomas in our hands, but I’ll forever be grateful for the friendships I made there. It never occurred to me how much it would hurt down the road when, as an adult, my friends would move away. RELATED: The Heartache When Your Friend Tells You She’s Moving I remember reading...

Keep Reading

Setting Boundaries Has Side Effects No One Talks About

In: Living
Family walking away

I cut off my brother a few months ago. Easter Sunday, to be exact. It wasn’t something I wanted to do, but it was a choice I had to make for my sanity, for my family, for our peace. If I’m being honest, it was something I should have done long ago, but I’ve never been one to rock the boat. I typically avoid confrontation at all costs, but that particular day was the straw that broke the camel’s back and forced me to take action. I was prepared for the anger. I was prepared to feel uncomfortable. I was...

Keep Reading

A Mother/Daughter Bond Should Be Unbreakable, but Sometimes It Isn’t

In: Grown Children, Living
Frowning woman holding phone

It’s OK to grieve your absent parents while they’re still alive. I see so many articles or well-meaning posts from people who had beautiful relationships with their parents and are now grieving their loss. It’s amazing to read about such incredible parent-child relationships, but it also usually comes with guilt for me. “Call your mom, I wish I still could.” Yeah, me too, I want to say. I stare at my phone, my finger hovering over her name, and sigh. I let the screen go black instead. My birth mother is alive and well but I chose to end my...

Keep Reading

My Grandma Doesn’t Remember Me but I Visit Anyway

In: Living
Elderly woman embracing young bride

Today I went to see my grandma in the memory care facility she now calls home. Visits now are nothing like they used to be at her house. There is no kitchen stocked with my favorite snacks or comfortable room of my own with a fold-out bed stacked with hand-sewn quilts. It’s just her, an armchair, and a twin-sized bed that creaks up and down with a remote control so she can be bathed and dressed in the optimal position. But her face lights up when she sees me and her small body relaxes into me when I hug her. ...

Keep Reading

“Yours From the First Moment I Saw You.” Read the Tributes To Olivia Newton-John That Have Us Tearing Up

In: News
Olivia Newton-John Instagram photo

“Tell me about it . . . stud.” I’ll never forget the iconic ending scene of “Grease” when the camera pans from the shocked face of John Travolta as bad-boy Danny Zuko to his high school sweetheart, Sandy, who has literally transformed from an innocent transfer student into a leather-clad cool chick, complete with massive perm and sky-high heels. In the starring role of one of the most successful movie musicals ever made, beauty icon Olivia Newton-John stole America’s heart and never looked back over the course of an awe-inspiring five-decade career, which included both movies and musical hits like...

Keep Reading

Get our FREE phone wallpaper to encourage you as the new school year begins

It's bittersweet for a mother to watch her child grow—but you both are ready to soar.