“I can’t remember what seventeen feels like, but the way I see it, life gets even more awesome as the years roll by.”
I wrote that on my facebook page a while ago as I shared a project that I was fortunate to be a part of for a girl’s sweet seventeen birthday celebration, because being in that project made me think about being seventeen again.
There’s one crazy habit I had as a teenager. Well, it didn’t seem crazy at the time, but now that I think about it, it is pretty dumb. At every exam, I would tell myself that if I am confident about how I did, I’d most probably fail. So, I would always tell myself (and other people) that I couldn’t do it that well. I think that it’s a little trick I played on myself to save me from being disappointed if I really did get a bad mark.
I didn’t dream, or get my hopes up, or expected too much out of anything. When I wanted something and it didn’t look like it could happen for me, I won’t pursue it, because I thought, “what’s the point of going after something I know that’s going to disappoint me anyway?”
You see what seventeen-year-old Maya was all about? Fear. Yep. She was full of it. Am I still full of that right now? Sometimes. Sometimes I still let fear creep in and get the best of me.
I had never dreamt of anything for fear of being disappointed. I have never thought of coloring outside the lines or do something out of the ordinary or take the road less traveled, because I was afraid. Of many things. Disappointments, failures, rejection. I was very insecure about myself. I was scared… a lot. And I think that a part of that still remains in me today.
Ever since I hit the big three-oh, I started a new habit; one that is not as crazy as the one I had as a teenager. At every birthday, I’d list down the things I’m most grateful for that year. Then I’d compare it with the list I made in the year before. I always notice that God has been good to me, year after year, and for that alone, I am grateful.
I never dreamt of anything. I wasn’t used to doing it. But I look at my life today and I am amazed at how awesome it is, how it’s filled with all the wonderful things I have never ever dreamt of anyway.
I never thought I’d be making a living out of doing something I really enjoyed doing. I never thought that I’d live in a landed home filled with cute decorations and knick knacks that I liked and that I’d share it with this incredibly awesome man (although it still feels like we’re playing pretend house sometimes, because it can get pretty crazy around these parts.) I never thought I’d birth three kids and raise them. And the other day, when I was driving down the freeway with three kids crying in the back seat, I never thought that I would be such a badass! Every great thing in my life today has never been a part of my dreams. You know what that tells me? It tells me that God loves me. He really, really loves me. And He will always take care of me, and give me the desires of my heart even when I don’t even know it and even when I am afraid to say it.
Being seventeen is exactly seventeen years ago, today. Today, I am twice my seventeen year old self. If I did the math, I should be twice in achievements, twice in growth, twice as independent, twice as mature … but I was never any good at math anyway. I am still a work in progress, every day. (And I used to think people my age was a grown up… pssshh!) I am learning something new about myself, every day. I am learning to accept my strengths and my weaknesses. I am learning to be braver and stronger, every single day, so that I can be closer to discovering the purpose God has for my life.
A friend of mine told me something powerful today: “Don’t dream with fear. Dream with faith.” It couldn’t have come at a better time than today. What’s a better way to kick start a new age than with saying goodbye to fear and saying hello to dreaming with faith?
I really can’t remember what being seventeen felt like. But I’m pretty sure that if seventeen year old me knew what she would be seventeen years later, she’d be pretty proud of herself.
Thank you, Jesus, for always taking care of me, providing for me, and dreaming for me, even when I can’t do that on my own. I know you love me.