Friday, September 19, 2014

Not Your Life Plan, But His

In a year and a half, it will have been 10 years since I graduated high school. As insane as that is to think about for me, it is even crazier to realize that things didn't turn out the way I had planned them. Not to say things are done changing. I know there are tons of changes that will happen in the future, and maybe some things will work out the way I envisioned they would. But, when I graduated high school and thought about myself almost ten years in the future, I never thought I would be in Utah, living with my husband (that part, though, I did hope for :)), and working as a researcher. I definitely didn't think I would be in research. I always said I would get bored working at a lab bench and wanted to be in patient care. Little did I know...

So, as I think back on the plans and dreams I had, I thought writing a letter to my past self would be fun. I also plan on writing a letter to my future self at 20 years post graduation, so I'll post that soon. Life changes, and you just have to enjoy the ride! God will make sure you get through any challenges you might face, and His plans for you are even better than the ones you had for yourself. I guarantee it. :)

Dear Me, Recent High School Graduate,

Hi there. Right now, you're just excited to be done with high school and can't really believe that those four years of never-ending doctors' appointments while struggling to keep up with your classmates is over. You worked your butt off to have such a high GPA and a good ACT score, so you could go to the college of your dreams and get away from the small town life. Don't be too eager to get away. You'll miss it one day and realize what a great place it was and how lucky you were to be surrounded by amazing family and friends.

You're probably already thinking of how you are going to decorate your dorm room and making a list of all of the doctors you need to shadow in the next few months. Don't worry so much. It's a great dream you have: to be a physician working in pediatric cardiology. But, it's not the only thing that might be out there for you. There's a whole world beyond that in science. You have brains, and who knows, you might realize you want to be developing the concepts that physicians use in their practice. It's God's plan, not yours.

I know you're worried about dating and finding a relationship. It seems like every girl is eager to meet someone or at least have fun dating throughout college. Just enjoy these years. You'll meet some of the best people, and you'll have a great group of friends. Cherish them. Have great nights and days with them. Trust them. Respect them. Soon enough, you'll all go your separate ways, and it's a lot harder to stay in touch than you think. People grow up, get married, and have families. Priorities change, and these days won't last forever, so make sure you enjoy just being a college student. Go to parties and social gatherings. Study hard but not too hard. Stay up late, and enjoy those late-night rides just talking with the girls. The love of your life will come around when you least expect it, so just be yourself and enjoy every day. He'll love you for who you are, and that's the most important thing.

Sometimes you can be a real pain around your family. It's just the typical teenager attitude, and I know you're ready to be out on your own, but with all the medical issues you've been facing, it may not be time, yet. Thank your family because they are the ones that have been there for you through all the hard times. They're the ones that stayed up with you at night when you were so sick to your stomach from one medication or another. They're the ones that drove you to the hospitals, hours away, to make sure you received the finest medical care. They even took you all the way to Houston, TX, so you could have surgery by one of the finest surgeons this country has ever seen. They'd do anything for you, and you should show your appreciation and how much you love them, even if you're not having the best day. It hurts them to see you in pain, so try to be as positive as you can.

You get discouraged with not finding much relief from the pain you're facing, and that's just fine. But know that one day you will understand that you were given this struggle for a reason. You might not know it yet, and it may be many, many years before you know why, but you're strong enough to face it with courage, so keep on keeping on. It'll all make sense someday, and you'll be better off for facing it head on.

Enjoy every moment. Spend time with the ones you love. Work hard but not so hard that you miss out on things. I know you don't always feel well, but try to do fun things and have new experiences. Travel. Have long, meaningful conversations. Get outside and just be grateful for the life you've been given. You're a lucky girl. And just accept that things may not turn out the way you planned, but they will all be for the best, and you'll live a happy life.

Me, Age 26

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Much Love!

Much Love!