Dear Caroline, circa end of May 2015,
Happy Birthday girl! It’s you, in the future. Yep, this is you taking a retrospective look at the past year you have lived. Little do you know what this year holds for you and how much change is going to happen in your life. So, I’m going to tell you 20 things that are going to happen/change in your life, to give you hope for tomorrow. This year is going to be big for you. Live it and love it.
- A year from now, you will excitedly pick your birthday meals, instead of dreading it. You won’t be thinking about the calories in your favorite foods, just enjoying those meals with your family who lovingly prepared them.
- A year from now you’re not going to cry next year as you taste your delicious birthday cake. I know why you cried; that cake meant too much. It meant all the times you denied yourself, and were finally tasting something that you were trying to let yourself enjoy but couldn’t. Now, you will eat cake and love it!
- A year from now, you won’t be scared to eat a snack. You will eat multiple snacks a day sometimes!
- A year from now, you will have gone to restaurants with friends and ordered what you really wanted off the menu. You won’t be stuck with thoughts of the lowest calorie options, your thoughts will be full of happiness because you will be with your friends and enjoying a time that fills your belly and your heart with happiness.
- A year from now, you will look forward to unexpected suprise treats and coffee breaks. Cheesy fries with your sorority sisters? Bring it on. A friend delivers you a muffin just because they want to surprise you? Wonderful. You will realize that these actions come from a place of love and care, and you won’t panic when a small event disrupts your perfectly laid plans.
- A year from now, you may step on a scale, but it won’t mean anything. You will feel nothing. No shame, no ecstasy. You will see a number and you will move on. And you probably won’t see a number on a scale for months, because that number does not define you anymore.
- A year from now, you will have eaten burgers, pizza, cookies, cake, cinammon rolls, big plates of pasta, french fries, and more. And those foods won’t mean scary calories, they will mean victories.
- A year from now, you will look in the mirror and think “Hot DAMN!!!” because your body is amazing. Not because of it’s weight or because you have or don’t have a six pack. It’s because you were blessed with a body that is beautiful the way it is.
- A year from now, you will exercise because you love your body, not because you hate it. You will run for the rush of endorphins, to feel the wind in your hair, and air filling your lungs. Not because of what you ate, or what you did or didn’t do yesterday, or to lose a pound, or out of guilt or fear. You will exercise only because you want to.
- A year from now, you will understand that taking a long break from exercise was the best thing you could have possibly done for yourself. All that time that you let your body rest, you also let your mind rest. You will learn so much from the 4 months of “inactivity”, and you will not regret it.
- A year from now, you will not feel like you have lost your identity as a runner. Your speed and endurance may not be what they used to be, but it will come back. You will learn to love the sport that at one point was your prison, and love it so much that you will want to run 26.2 miles.
- A year from now, you will start to have an inkling of just how loved you are. To fully understand will never be possible. But, you will start to understand how much love is in your life and in all your family and friend relationships.
- A year from now, your faith will be much greater than it used to be. You will realize how fearfully and wonderfully you were made, and will never cease to be in awe of this fact.
- A year from now, you will have friends who you consider sisters. You will be sourrounded by people who have increased your confidence, happiness, and challenged you. You will be changed by these people, more than you could ever realize.
- A year from now, you will try on clothes. And it’s not going to matter what size they are. Whatever fits, whatever you think you look great in, you will wear, and you will be fine.
- A year from now, you will realize that it’s possible that someone means it when they tell you that you’re beautiful, because deep down you know it’s true.
- A year from now, you will realize that you are not alone in your struggles. You will realize how there are so many coming from a similar place, and many more coming from other difficult places. In weakness, you will find strength.
- A year from now, you will be thankful that you started the journey by eating two granola bars because you decided you were ready to start listening to your body. You will realize that those small steps made a big difference.
- A year from now, you will remember what it’s like to smile so much that it hurts, laugh so much that you cry, and what it’s like to really feel again. You will be so happy that you didn’t even know how possible it was to be this happy.
- A year from now, you still probably won’t have a real idea of where you are going in life. But that’s okay. You’re going to figure it out, because you have a strong head on your shoulders, a caring heart, and family and friends who will support you along the way.
So happy birthday, 19 year old Caroline. 20 year old you wants you to remember to just keep on keeping on, because she knows you’re going to be okay.
Linking up with Julia for Mental Health Monday. Check out the other submissions too!