If I Had Known Then...
What I know now
Published May 11, 2012 @ 6 a.m.
(Editor’s Note: Inspired by a series on CBS morning news titled “Note to Self,” we are introducing a series of articles written by people in our community who share their personal “If I had known then” experience with our readers.
These individuals are willing to reveal what they would tell themselves at age 14 if they had known then what they know now. We hope you will enjoy these thoughtful, personal accounts of life, choices made and lessons learned. The first in this series was written by Post City Manager Arbie Taylor.)
As anyone with children can attest, telling a fourteen or fifteen year old anything is something like trying to convince a brick wall it is actually a wooden fence. I will entertain the notion of speaking to myself at that age with this novel idea of a “note to self” only because at age 52, I am finally ready to listen to what so many people were trying to tell me all those many years ago.
I only wish that I could say that I came from a loving and caring family that tried to give me these snippets of wisdom as I was growing up; I can’t. I can say that the environment I grew up in was critical and full of condemnation, which may be why I have been so hard on myself at times, and why I work so hard to try and improve myself. I know I am not perfect, but I do know that many times I wish I could go back and look myself in the eye and reassure myself that things will be alright.
As it has been said, God will never give you more than He has already equipped you to handle, we just need to seek His face and His love will see us through. Some of the sayings that I have heard and adapted for my own use over the years include things like;
- Life is never black and white: There is a huge grey area in between the black and white where we must live every day.
- There is such a thing as right and wrong, but the lines separating the two are often quite blurry and you can’t be responsible for telling everyone what that right and wrong is.
- Truth is not subjective, even though everyone will tell you that is so. Truth is truth no matter where you go. Things do not become truer because everyone accepts it, nor does it become any less true when everyone rejects it. True is true.
- Perfection is unattainable, so stop being so hard on yourself. Allow yourself to fail, but use those failures as opportunities to learn
- Just because all those around you are critical and bitter, you don’t have to let those attributes become part of you.
- Your tender heart will be broken, but don’t let those heartbreaks cause you to harden your heart. God often feels very far away, but you can find him in your times of need.
- As a young Christian, you have so much to learn. Find a strong Christian example and don’t let the actions of others cause you to stray from what you know and feel to be right.
- Think of the consequences before you act on temptation.
- Acting on emotion will almost always lead you astray. Suffer the consequences of your actions. When you make mistakes, don’t run from them, learn from them.
- Everyone has their demons that they battle every day. Take time to see things from other people’s point of view. Empathize, but don’t lose yourself in other people’s despair.
- Follow your dreams and don’t listen to naysayers.
- You will never stop learning, so begin now embracing knowledge in every form. Never avoid an opportunity to learn something new.
- You may think you know what you want to do with your life, but the road of life contains so many twists and turns, and there are so many intersections and wyes there is no clear path. No matter what you end up doing, you will always be you. Work on becoming the best you possible, and you will find success wherever life leads.
- Cherish and nurture friendships.
- Your generation will one day be the leaders of this great country. Remember that character is doing the right thing even when nobody is watching.
Finally, just smile often and pray continuously. Love will find you when you least expect it, so always be looking with an open heart. The sun will come up in the morning and each day will bring new challenges for growth. Nothing can prevent the bad times from coming along from time to time, but you are the master of your attitude and keeping a good attitude will keep those times from taking you under.
Life is a marathon that is won by a steady and measured pace. Find your pace and live it!