Sometimes I look through my old pictures from Snow College, from High School, even from my first years at Utah State. I look so little, so innocent, so naive. I think of how great I thought life was then, and how great my life has become. I think of how much I've learned since then, the things I know now that I didn't understand at that moment.
To be honest, I'm still pretty young and still pretty naive. I've got an awful lot of growing up to do and a whole lot to still learn. But there is just something so powerful in knowing that each day is a learning opportunity. I learn things every day that I didn't know the day before, I grow and change and develop.
If I could instant message my Junior High self, I'd probably start by admitting that I'm jealous of how confident she was. I'd encourage her to keep that blithe attitude of not caring what everyone thought and assuming everyone liked me the way I was. I'd consider telling her that she should maybe care a little bit more about how she looked and dressed, but in the end, I think I'd let her keep her high-water bell bottoms and those trendy leather sandals that made everyone's feet smell bad. I'd also let her wear way too many butterfly clips in her hair and try some of the most hideous hair styles that somehow utilized all those wonderful tiny braces rubber bands because I really do respect how happy she was with who she was even though I look back now and see a slightly frumpy, Harry Potter-obsessed, awkward as can be pre-teen.
If I could take my High School self out to lunch, I'd remind her that first and foremost, her worth did not depend on how many dates she went on or who wanted to date her. I'd tell her to sign up for choir sooner and stick it out through the drama of theater classes (punny, right?). I'd tell her to be nicer to people and to not be scared of the people who were "cooler" than her. I would do everything I could to convince her that it's okay to not be asked to Prom or to any guy's choice dances. I'd tell her that, honestly, within 3 years, she would hardly even care. But maybe I'd let her still cry a little because that first real heartbreak of watching all your friends go to the dance and being the one nobody asked can teach you so much. I'd be impressed with how she was starting to figure out how to dress and be a little more comfortable in her style, but I'd try to help her keep her bold confidence that she'd had in junior high instead of caring so much what everyone thought about her. I'd tell her to try out for even more solos, plays, and maybe even a sports team or leadership position. Most of all, I'd give her a really big hug and remind her that she really was talented, fun to be around, and people really did like her.
If I could write a letter to myself my Freshman year at Snow College, I'd tell myself to do exactly what I did. To get super involved and especially in institute. I'd tell myself to schedule my classes before 11 am and not stay up until 3 in the morning. (At least not every night.) I'd teach her how to be less scared of boys, how to make them her friends and not just see them as scary potential dates. I would still tell her to change her major to Desktop Publishing because it's probably one of the best decisions she'd ever make, but I would probably also tell her to stick it out through Aural Training. I would tell her to study harder for her tests and actually read her text books while they were still easy. And I would definitely still tell her to go spend Spring Break in Tremonton so she could have a life-changing experience. I'd let her learn how to work for and in a relationship and fall deeply in love. I wouldn't prepare her at all for how she'd get her heart broken, because it would teach her so much about who she is, what she values, and strengthen her testimony of the Atonement.
If I could go back in time and chat with myself the year I transferred up to Utah State, I'd tell her to suck it up and take that math class sooner. I wouldn't tell her what to major in though, I'd still let her figure that out. I would tell her that by the end of every summer, she might be sick of 4th graders and boondoggle, but I'd convince her that it would be worth going back to summer camp every summer because that's where she would make some of the greatest friends. I'd tell her to hold on to that innocent boy craziness and excitement about dating and make it last a little bit longer.
If I could chat with the person I was yesterday, I'd tell her that tomorrow is just another day. A new chance, an opportunity to be better. And really, if I could go back to any time in my life, I wouldn't change much, I'd only do more. Because I'm really grateful for the trials that have made me who I am, for the incredible opportunities and friendships that have changed me and directed me. I would tell myself to be more grateful in the moment and to enjoy the moment instead of waiting for what was next and rushing through life.