This morning in the gym, while I jammed some Needtobreathe, I caught a glimpse of my spontaneous side braid in the mirror and a baseball game scrolling on the TV guide channel. In an instant, I started remembering 22-year-old Valerie. I turn 32 on Sunday and have been reflecting a bit on this year, but as I started to think back on who I was 10 years ago, I got flooded as I rediscovered so many things about myself that I felt like I lost.
When I turned 22, I was a carefree college kid who just spent part of my summer interning for a magazine in Philadelphia (yep. me. at a STYLE magazine.) and was heading into my senior year in college as editor of our college paper. Life was good.
5 Things That Are Making a Comeback After 10 Years
I’m realizing it’s ok to revisit the past. There are some things that will never be the same and that’s a good thing. But there are some aspects of that season that I’m excited to embrace again.
1. Enjoy hobbies. I watched Philly baseball a few times a week and knew all the stats. I played my guitar and even recorded two albums with two of my friends. This was nothing terribly fancy but I enjoyed the heck out of it.
2. Pick favorites. This kind of goes with number 1, but I was a very passionate person. I had my favorite foods. I had my favorite movies and places. I was a writer to my core. It made life exciting when I got to enjoy those things.
3. Be adventurous. I can’t even blame two kids on this one. And don’t get me wrong, compared to my friends, I wasn’t the adventurous one but we did fun things. We had murder mystery dinners, we went on a cruise and cave snorkeling. I spent a whole month before I headed for my internship with a group of friends where we’d play sand volleyball, kickball, make breakfast for dinner and watched movies till the wee hours of the night. Every. single. day.
4. Have a signature style. I’d call it laid-back sporty. Lots of white, black and gray tanks and torn jeans, baseball hats and side braids. I am by no means going back to this look but when I see photos, I remember how confident I was in my own skin.
5. Enjoy life together. I live in a house of 3 or 4 girls my last two years of college. This was such a special experience for me. I also enjoyed long hours with my journalism buddies in the basement of Keeny Hall and had a few best guy friends that became like brothers to me. Community was source of refreshment for me. The mom and business owner tends to see community as one more thing I have to do but I want to remember this past season and see how refreshing relationships can be.
4 Things I’m Glad to Have Learned in the Last 10 Years
A lot has changed in the last 10 years. I graduated college, started my first real job at a newspaper, met Tyler, started my own business, married Tyler, sold a business, started another one, had a baby, wrote a book, had another baby, lost loved ones read TONS of books. Through it all God has taught me sooo much and I am a much different person because of it.
1. It’s OK to be small. More on this soon but I am learning I don’t have to be so loud. I was the girl who didn’t like the spotlight being thrown upon me but I had no problem going after it. I was loud and maybe a little obnoxious. I wanted to be heard. God is shifting my heart
2. God does not fit into a quiet time box. He is a vital part of my whole day. 10 years ago, I was a believer. I loved God. I participated in good godly activities, but most days my head would hit the pillow and I would have thought, “Oh hey God, I guess I left the house before you were ready.” I want to do life with God. My prayers so many days are that God would walk with me through whatever.
3. I’m not afraid of hard seasons. At 22, I had really never been challenged with much tough stuff. I was a pretty happy girl but much of it was circumstantial. Part of me didn’t even enjoy easy seasons because I feared a hard season coming around the corner. Now I have gone through the hard stuff and know God gives me circumstantial strength to get through them.
4. I want what God wants for me more than I want what I want for me. Make sense? I wanted to be a writer. I wanted to go to New York and work for a big fancy magazine. God wanted me to be an entrepreneur. I wanted to have a second baby right when we started trying. God wanted me to write a book. After seeing enough of His plans that are fulfilled and end up better than what I could have ever planned for myself, I’m starting to hold dreams loosely. I’m more flexible about the future knowing God has got this so I don’t have to have it mapped out.
3 Things I’m Asking God to Reveal to Me This Year
My 31st year was kinda crappy on paper (besides a birth and a wedding of course!!) BUT it’s also been the year I have grown the most. I am so hopeful for the next year. I’m hopeful for mountaintop moments and I’m also excited for the change that will happen in the valleys. Here are three things in particular I am asking God to reveal to me this year.
1. Teach me to find the balance you have for me as a mom and business owner. This has been on my heart a lot lately. I feel such a tug to both of them and can’t seem to do them both as well as I’d like. I want to hear what God wants for me.
2. Teach me to slow down, not just physically, but mentally too. Too many times, even when I’m able to slow my body down and live simply, my mind still craves the hustle and productivity.
3. Teach me how to be the person I long to be around. Basically the golden rule here. I have a long subconscious list of how I’d like my husband to be, my kids to behave or my friends or family to act and so often, I don’t exemplify those characters myself.