This weekend is my 25 Year High School Class Reunion. I graduated in 1988 from a high school on the shores of Lake Erie. We were known as the Vermilion Sailors. Last night was our pre-celebration and tonight is the actual reunion. Fun times. I was thinking today about how different 18-year-old Heidi is from a 43-year-old Heidi. A lot of life happens in 25 years. So in honor of my 25 year class reunion here are:
25 26 things I have learned since high school!
(I couldn’t whittle it down to 25)
1. Having lost about 20 family members since my senior year…life is way too short to hold a grudge. Let it go. Let those important to you know that you care. Send a card. Tell them you love them. Mend fences.
2. Don’t let who you were as a teen-ager or how you grew up dictate who you are today (unless it is positive). Don’t be the victim. Choose to be the victor.
3. God is faithful. Always. Through the good and the bad times.
4. Childhood friends are a blessing. Sharing the same childhood memories, growing up, and experimenting with boundaries as teens form bonds of friendship that cannot be broken. I look at my group of friends and how diverse we were/are (conservatives, hippies, single, married, divorced, pastor, cop, business owner, environmentalist) and am grateful that no two of us are the same and that we never expected that of each other.
Some of us from the pre-celebration.
5. Don’t judge people. You have no idea how hard their life has been and what goes on at home.
6. Laugh. A lot. Life can be tough but there is healing in laughter.
7. Don’t be afraid to cry. God’s healing comes through tears and laughter!
8. Whining, complaining, and bitching is a waste of time. Do I really want to waste this one life I have been so graciously given on that? Hold to what is good, let go of the bad.
9. Prayer works. Really. God has always come through in countless times and in countless ways! A blog will be coming shortly on a miracle that has occurred in the past 2 weeks in my own life.
10. Life can really be hard. Excruciatingly hard. Mind-numbing, take your breath away hard. You need people. You need God.
11. Life can be breathtakingly wonderful and fun and full of joy. You need people to celebrate and rejoice with! You need to thank God for those times.
12. Jesus is everything to me.
13. Everyone you meet still has some of that shy, awkward teen-ager in them. Everyone. So cut them some slack!
14. Beauty is a state of mind, a disposition…not your appearance. The most beautiful people I have met have been those who are genuinely kind and compassionate. This has been my toughest battle. Has taken me 43 years to get here.
15. Family is important. Before my dad died, he had us 4 girls around him and said “remember, you always got family.” Very touching…that was until he tried to punch the nurse.
My dad and me before he passed away
16. If you don’t have family around, God can create one for you. It says in the Scriptures that God sets the lonely in families. Many people in VA I still consider family from my time spent there.
Two guys I consider family! They come over every Sunday night for family night. Some family is not blood but just as strong…they were out for Dylon’s bachelor party :)
17. There is NOTHING God can’t forgive. NOTHING! I speak from experience.
18. You have to learn to laugh at yourself. You are not as great as you think you are, nor are you as sucky as you think you are. Lighten up!
19. Deal with your insecurities. They will cripple you if you don’t get them under control.
20. Enjoy life! Arms wide open, lifted high, embracing every experience with as much wide-eyed joy, wonder and gratitude as possible.
21. Every so often throw your clock/watch out the window. Don’t allow time to rule you. I learned this when I was in Mexico City and Jamaica. Slow the pace. God was on to something when He said to keep the day of rest.
21. Exercise daily. Your mind and your body.
22. Learn something new every year.
23. Don’t be afraid of failure. They are only failures if you don’t learn from them or quit.
24. Following Jesus is the best decision I have ever made.
25. Be kind to everyone you meet. Even if you don’t think they deserve it.
26. It’s never too late to start over. Some of the most awe-inspiring people I have met are older people who are brave enough to face change!