I ran across a couple pictures today of the Kelsey B Jones of yesteryear. Scary thought. The Kelsey B Jones of 20 years ago. Don’t worry, these were the cute pictures before the crazy hair, awkward pre-teen body days.
Looking at that little innocent blonde girl with a huge grin, I had to ask myself:
“Did she know at 4 years old what she would become 20 years later?”
Of course she didn’t. The 4-year-old me wasn’t thinking past her 5th birthday, starting Kindergarten and which dress she could wear the next day. (Right?! There was a short phase in my life when all I wanted to wear were dresses… That ended!) She was shy, loving, a little lippy, funny, curious, and had the whole world in her backyard.
Did she know about how challenging some of her teenage days would be (especially those awkward years)? Did she understand how important her family, friends, teachers and random encounters with strangers were going to be in her life? Did she know yet that her plans of marrying a prince and living in a castle weren’t going to happen?
Did she know that her life would come with experiencing loss, extreme joy, tears, laughter, embarrassment, love and confusion? Did this painfully shy little girl know she’d develop a passion for politics, animals, helping other humans, and communication?
Did she know she’d one day hate herself, judge herself, and not want to look at herself in a mirror without crying? Did she know how incredibly freeing it would be to experience what it means to truly love herself and allow others to love her? Did she know that she was going to meet some of the greatest, most caring and loving people in the world in her high school and college years? Did she know then that her parents (and sister) were going to show her unconditional love even when she was extremely sarcastic, unloving, and withdrawn?
Did she know then how much her heavenly father loved her, knew her, and had a (perfect) plan for her life? Did she know that he had mapped out every single person to put in her path, shape her journey, and draw her closer to him? Did she realize then that in 20 years, her relationship with her creator would be the one stable, constant and most important thing in her life - something way deeper than the occasional Sunday School song or nightly prayer?
Short answer? No.
It’s an interesting feeling to look back on that little girl and realize, “That’s me.”
I look back on 20 years and realize that it took all those experiences to bring me to where I am today. I’m happy. I’m healthy. I’m still shy at times, but more outgoing than I ever thought I’d be. I care deeply about people. I want to help them experience love - from other humans and from their heavenly father. I’m still young. I have a lot to live for. I have dreams. I have standards. I have an amazing life.
Dear 4 year old “Kels” - You had a reason to smile so big. You somehow knew that even through all the bad days, 20 years later, you’d have even more reasons to smile.
Now, as for the me of 20 years from now (44 year-old me), let’s hope I can find a good picture to look back on with even more lessons and reasons to smile… :-)