A few thoughts come to me while looking at your 20 year-old face: You are so young. So young! And you've already moved halfway around the world to pursue your faith and your education all on your own. Am I still that brave?
I see some of the little girl that we used to be in your face; you still have some of that wide-eyedness to you as you take in your surroundings. I already know you would be deeply offended if I said that you're a little naive, but I see some of that as well.
Also, great skin. Please moisturize!
I have to admit that my feelings about you are a little mixed. I'm so glad I don't have to live every day of my life with you anymore (don't think I could take the emotional roller coaster rides anymore!), but I do miss your fearlessness and thirst for adventure. I miss your unstoppable creativity and willingness to try anything, even if you might not be good at it. Except dancing - and that still hasn't changed.
You are about to embark one of the most eventful decades of your life. Before your next round number birthday you will complete your education, meet many close and faithful friends, fall in love, get married, buy a house and become a mother. These are the things that will bring a sense of accomplishment, but most of all, they will be the source of your greatest joys.
Speaking of your greatest joys, I wish I could tell you now that your good friend Nick is worth a second thought, but you won't consider that seriously for another four years or so. But I'm telling ya, there's a source of some pretty intense happiness right under your nose. You'll kick yourself when you realize what you've been missing out on! However, like everyone else, you're going to have to flounder around in the dark where romance is concerned.
In the midst of this floundering, you will have the chance to meet and go out with some truly great men. They will take you places and show you things that you will love and enjoy for years to come, even after they've passed out of your life. They will also teach you things about yourself that you might not have otherwise known. This is a wonderful thing, even if their teaching methods can sometimes leave little to be desired. Learn to enjoy the good parts, and leave the not-so-good parts behind you.
You are going to have a lot of fun. In fact, you will be one of those college students who take their fun a little too seriously, and so you will often suffer the consequences of things like spontaneously driving to Moab at 1 AM on a Wednesday night or hosting Leprechaun jumping competitions in your driveway. Before getting married, your friends and roommates will become almost like family, and many of them will stay close friends for years to come. You will often stop and wonder how on earth you managed to get all of the world's greatest friends, and that question will stay with you well into the next decade of your life.
It has to be said that there are going to be some tough times in the coming years. There will be events that will make even your darkest hours as a teenager look like cake - and you and I both know that is saying something. From time to time you will find yourself filled with fear, self-doubt and crippling insecurities, and you will question if you will ever get the things that you hope for in life. You will get your heart broken so badly that simply breathing will hurt you. You will have to wait years for good and honest things that you hope for with all your heart, and the disappointment of not getting them will return to you again and again.
Looking at your little face and knowing how much these things are going to hurt makes me wish I could take them away from you. You don't seem ready, and in a lot of ways, you're probably not. However, you going through all the difficulties ahead of you will eventually turn you into me.
And I am so happy.
And so grateful for all that I've been given.
Thank you so much.
Today's project was suggested by the illustrious Stepper. If you don't already follow her blog, you really, really should.