Any time things get exceedingly difficult in my grown up life, it’s inevitable that I start to long for simpler days. I think that’s probably just a general truth for mankind, right? Because when you look back at your youth and see the kinds of things you were worried about back then, don’t you just want to laugh and tell that kid to chill out?
For me, my ‘simpler days’ are always at camp. I have blogged enough about camp that you know it was one of the best parts of my teenage years, if not the best. I made my best friends there, my very best friend to this day in fact. I learned, I served, and wow did I ever have fun. Working at camp was also exhausting, and there were plenty of bad days, but when I look back and think about those bad days that involved certain other coworkers driving me crazy, or a camper who just wouldn’t co-operate, the fact that maybe I had to go home for a weekend instead of partying it up with my fellow staff members (which meant, blowing our honorarium at the 7-11 in town on all the soda, Oreos and spray cheese our measley $30 would get us, taking it back to camp with a movie and passing out in our sleeping bags in the game room.), maybe it was that the cutest guy who wasn’t already taken wasn’t into me, or maybe it was that my best friend and I had had a fight . . . there was the one time my parents had to put our dog down and I didn’t get to say goodbye . . . none of those bad days even come close to comparing to some of the places I’ve been since then. Watching the bills rise and the bank account plummet, dealing with cancer scares in myself and my loved ones, physical, life-threatening heart conditions and the potential for them, my parents divorce, the death of childhood friends, even camp friends, broken hearts all around me, being so far away from the people that I love. . . basically being slapped in the face by the reality of adulthood. None of us are immune.
It’s not that I want to give up anything I have today. My husband and my children are the greatest gifts I’ve ever been given besides Jesus. But somedays I just wish I could go back and live that simple life again, just for a minute. I wish that my biggest problem was that someone was pissing me off. I wish that it was just a matter of saying “sorry I’m so sensitive” to my best friend. I wish it was just that someone took some of my precious Oreos without asking (and let me tell you, I was MAD about that one.). Just for a second, I’d like to live in that bliss, and then I’d slap that girl upside the head and say, “You fool! Life has never been better! Stop freaking out about these trivial things! This is nothing compared to what being an adult, a parent and a wife is like. You are wasting your energy worrying about this stuff. Save it, because there are so many bigger things going on in the world that you have no clue about. Also, stop wasting your money on Oreos and save it! For the love of all that is holy, save your money!”
Aaaaah, yes, that’s exactly what I would say to her. But then I would give her a hug and say, “Even as hard as things may get in the future, you are going to be okay. There will always be a sliver of hope, sometimes it will be blinding, other times you will have to search for it. But God’s promises are true. You think you know that now, but You. Have. No. Idea.” Naive little girl. I don’t want to go back that. I’d just like to go back and appreciate things for what they were, instead of reacting so dramatically to things that really played a very small role in my life. Yep, I’d give that girl a chill pill, and another bag of Oreos because I *certainly* know better than to eat them now.
What about you? If you could go back to a simpler time, what time would you choose? What would you tell your younger self in preparation for your future, knowing what you know now?