Some Wisdom for my Younger Self / by Donna Olivia Owusu-Ansah

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Yesterday I celebrated my 42nd birthday! I had a wonderful birthday full of movement, work, dance mom duties and family celebration!

I also had many moments of reflection, beginning with a tearful ride to the park after I dropped my daughters at school. Why the tears? Well, for some reason—perhaps it was the ponytail she was wearing—my eldest daughter reminded me of my six year old self. Seeing myself in her and seeing myself now brought tears of gratitude and joy to my eyes. God has brought me a mighty, mighty long way. 

Whereas the day began with seeing myself in my daughter, it ended with a reflection on the major themes present in each decade of my life: In my early years I was being nurtured; In my teens I was being formed; In my twenties I thought I knew EVERYTHING; In my thirties I realized I knew NOTHING; and in my forties, I AM being REFORMED by godly wisdom. As I posted on my Instagram page, at this rate, I'm excited about what my fifties will bring. And God willing I make it to my sixties, watch out, now!

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Between remembering my formative years and reflecting upon the wisdom gleaned since, I realized there are some things I wish I had believed about myself when I was younger, most of which are rooted in the biblical truth that I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  If I had a chance to go back and talk with my younger self, here is what I would share:

1. You are beautiful just as you are. Don't listen to what others say, especially about your body. Speaking of which, wear what you feel good. Dance. Move. Be present in, active, and love the body that God gave you.

2. You are wildly creative. Don't let anyone, not even family, quench your creativity. Write. Draw. Sing. Dance. Paint. Do whatever you need to do to express your thoughts and feelings. You'll end up doing it anyway, and doing it well despite what you were told. 

3. You have a brilliant mind. Don't dim your shine for anyone. Do your work. Read your books. Score high and don't be ashamed. The world needs your intellect.

4. You'll need glasses eventually. Don't rush it. And even though you rushed it and needed glasses early, your specs make you unique. Own it. Own them. Even the blue pair that when turned sideways looked like cop badges. And leave the contact lenses alone.

5. You are lovely, lovable and you'll experience true love. Don't fret because the boys don't pay attention to you except to tease you and don't compromise so that they'll notice you. God loves you unconditionally and even though you were married and had children later in life, Joseph's love for you is second, only to God's love for you.

6. Your body is a temple--your safe place--worthy of love, care, and respect. Some else violating your body is not your shame and not your burden to bear alone. Tell the truth so you can heal. And even if you hold it it, your healing will come. Trust me on this. 

7. Your mother loves you fiercely. Know this. She may show it differently than other mothers, but that doesn't lessen her love for you. She's doing the best she can and is working hard so that you can have the best. You won't understand this until you have children of your own and recognize the tremendous pressure she was under to perform.

I'm sure there's more, but I believe those words of wisdom would have landed me where I am, with a stronger sense of self. Maybe. Maybe not. 

If you had the chance, what wisdom would you share with your younger self? Comment below and let's talk.