I was seriously planning on posting this picture on Instagram this week as the year wraps up (what? it’s over????):
And my adorable caption would’ve read something along the lines of, “As this roller coaster year ends I’m wishing I could go back to being this girl.” Because when I saw this picture on my old computer… That honestly was my first thought. This was taken by one of my best high school friends (still a good friend of mine, s/o Kate), right before a Zac Brown Concert at SPAC (aka the place to be if you were a junior in high school in 2013).
And to be honest, I saved that picture as an instagram draft and edited it three (ok probably like five, can you stop judging me?) times before coming to a realization and yelling at myself: “Beth – seriously? That girl, while happy and full of life, has NOTHING on the Beth that’s around today.”
And, seriously. Let me tell you how true that is.
That girl – in her $8 H&M shirt, American Eagle cargo pants (R.I.P to them), and super-stylish-for-their-time combat boots – had no idea what the next few years had in store for her.
They have been hard. 2013 Beth didn’t know heartbreak like this one does. 16 year old Beth didn’t have as many responsibilities as she does today. And she definitely hasn’t felt pain like 2017 Beth has. Cargo-pants Beth was naive. And innocent.
She had never been out of the country. She did not like learning and she didn’t even have a high school degree. She fought with her brothers, and her parents and the people closest to her. She needed attention and she was pretty good at getting it. She had no money to her name. Yea, I mean, she was cute as all hell, but she definitely had some learning and growing to do.
And learning and growing she did. I’m not going to turn this into an extensive post about all the amazing things I’ve done (though.. I could if you wanted 😏). But I just want to show you how clear it is that 2017 Beth is way better off.
She is 21 and she has already graduated from college with a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing (and she did it in 3 years). She has the most amazing friends in the world. She spends weeknights with her brothers and her parents. She bought her own car. She pays her own student loans (ugh don’t say student loans). She fought a very tough chronic (invisible) disease. She went to Brazil. She had the time of her life. She learned a new language (well like 1.5 languages if you want to get technical). She got a tattoo (okay fine, she got two tattoos). She had an amazing “little sister” live with her for four months. She has made friends all over the world. She has spent hours and hours doing what she loves (watching her friends play soccer and baking them cookies). She learned to be patient. She learned the importance of being humble. She steadied her faith. She believes in something and she stands for everything she believes in. She travels alone and on her own dime. She
works at a RUNS a program bringing help to underserved high schoolers. And she loves. And she is loved. Every single day.
She has her tough days. And she’s still getting used to her responsibilities, and
she is crying while writing this (omg who said that?) she still has plenty of learning and growing to do. But she’s off to an amazing start.
So maybe I’ll post a picture like this:
One that’s quite a bit less flattering. But captures the essence of the Beth that I am today (hair flip, squinty eyes and all).
Because, while I still have pink nails in almost every picture taken of me, I am not the girl that was in that photo anymore. And I would take jeans and a tshirt Beth over cargo pants Beth any day.
So, my advice to you is – before you wish you could go back to your high school self – remember all you have learned. Remember all you carry with you. That every memory you have is a part of your beautiful mind and every person you have loved is a part of your beating heart. Everywhere you have been has your footprint. Every step you have taken has moved you. Every tear you’ve cried is gone. Every smile you’ve plastered on your face has made an impression. Every scar, every freckle, everything about you, is what makes the you that you are supposed to be. The you that you want to be.