The ripe old age of 16.

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My one and only younger brother will be turning 16 in just 4 short days. It’s causing me to become quite nostalgic (even though I’m really not that much older).

Thinking back to when I was 16 I’m pretty sure I had it made. Although at the time I’m sure I was just as angst-y as ever. I wanted my independence. I wanted to drive, go out with my friends, make my own money, buy my own clothes, make my own decisions. And I suppose for the most part I did those things because I was feisty. But like all other seasons of life, hindsight is 20/20. I lived a lot, I made some mistakes in the process. If I could go back, here are some things I would tell myself:

1. Practice patience. You’ll need that later.

2. Love your parents. Listen to them as much as you can without going crazy. They care about you more than you know. As much as you don’t want to- you need them.

3. You don’t have to do what everyone else is doing.

4. If you think you’re in love, enjoy it. But don’t become obsessed with it. Guard your heart.

5. You don’t know everything. Embrace new experiences and learn all you can.

6. You don’t have to be perfect, whatever you do doesn’t have to be perfect. But you do have to try your best.

7. Sometimes people suck. You do have to love them BUT YOU DON’T have to put up their shit.

8. Stick to your guns about your faith and what you believe. Be uncompromising in your morals. I wish so much that I could tell you just how critical it is to practice this now. Life is about to get a lot harder and the world is not going to help you be more like Christ. You’re going to have to fight to do that every day.

I love birthdays because I like the feeling that a new age brings. If you think about it, 16 is really the first big milestone birthday there is. It comes with huge amounts of responsibility (operating a motor vehicle on a road where there are other people operating motor vehicles).

I know that I still have so, so much to learn. I just like sharing what I have learned from my experience with others. I think that is probably one part the future teacher in me and one part the older sister persona.

But what I want my little brother to know is that sometimes life sucks and sometimes it hurts. And it’s not going to be easy. But nothing worth having ever is.

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