Welcome to Scarlet Thread Sunday, the day I share something I’ve learned in the labyrinth of life.
The comments were fabulous, full of wisdom and wit. Some of my favorites included:
Lighten up. – Naomi Blackburn
Hang on. – Laura Gokey
Dream Bigger! – Cara Putman
Buy Apple. – Joan Rhine
Be yourself. – Inge Zijl-van Den Berg
David Arnold. – Vickie Arnold
Love yourself. – Joelene Coleman
Dot Com. – Daniel Stanton
Be happy. – J Keller Ford
Calm down. – Adrienne Jones
Now what? – John Vitz
Wake up! – Curtis B. Walker
Choose love. – Julie Glover (although my first response was plastic surgery–as a joke 😉 ).
Given more time to think about it, I have several tips in two words I would give to my younger self. Here are a few:
Choose love. Honestly, it’s easier to choose selfishness, arrogance, or apathy when dealing with others. But the better path is to choose love. The person who mistreats you may be lashing out from a place of pain or perhaps they don’t know how they’ve hurt you. The stranger in your midst may benefit from an encouraging word or a kind gesture. The family member needs your affirmation and compassion. Choose love.
Write stories. I’ve been writing since elementary school, but mostly poetry, journaling, and song lyrics–snippets of writing here and there. The thought of being a novelist was very appealing, but for the longest time, I didn’t imagine that I had it in me. I penned my first novel after age 40. If I could, I’d tell my younger self to give it a shot earlier, to believe that writing stories–good stories–is something I really can do.
Trust God. This isn’t a religion blog, but it’s no secret that I’m an out-and-out Christian. My faith provides guiding principles for my life and a higher power whom I rely on in times of both joy and sorrow. My younger self wavered in her faith, though, and I’d like to tell her to trust God. Just to know that He’s there and cares about whatever is going on in your life, that He will pull you through.
Stop comparing. The times in my life when failure arrived like an Acme anvil landing on Wyle E. Coyote’s head at the bottom of a cliff, those were typically the times when I was trying to live up to an ideal based on comparing myself to someone else. I judged my worth–be it appearance, career, motherhood, etc.–by looking at someone more successful and wondering why I couldn’t be like that. Little did I know that others saw certain successes in my life and envied them. To which I’d like to say to my younger self, stop that already! What a waste of time. I have my talents, they have theirs. Once I dropped the comparisons, I became far more content with myself and the strengths I possess.
Forgive. Often. I once asked a wife happily married over 50 years for their secret to success. Her answer? “Forgiveness.” She said that she and her husband had forgiven each other more times than she could count. It’s inevitable that living with someone day-in and day-out, they’ll annoy you or let you down at some point. I don’t think my younger self was prepared to forgive others as often as I needed. In truth, I require plenty of forgiveness from others–you know, since I haven’t yet worked out the being-perfect thing just yet. Learning to forgive often helps to foster peace in relationships and keeps bitterness at bay.
Make progress. Okay, that’s not really a two-word message to my younger self. It’s my mantra for A Round of Words in 80 Days. That said, this was not a week of great progress, since my father was in the hospital and I spent quite a bit of time there with him. Even so, here’s what I accomplished.
Finish YA contemporary novel, SHARING HUNTER, by completing three chapters each week. Nope. Didn’t happen.
Take Short Stories 101 course from Young Adult RWA. This week’s assignment was to expand the 1,000-word story I wrote last week. I dabbled a little, but I didn’t get much on the page. I will be hitting that hard these next couple of days.
10 9 fiction books and 2 1 nonfiction books. I did read more of A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers, but I haven’t finished. However, I expect to knock it out this week and get crackin’ on the next read in my pile.
So what two-word message or messages would you give to your younger self? And how was your week?