Imagine you lay your head down to sleep at night, say your prayers, and drift, blissfully, off to sleep. The biggest trouble you have keeping you awake is the biology exam you have on Friday, and you still have plenty of time to study for that. Life is simple. Your sweet head is filled with beautiful dreams until your alarm begins to go off to wake you for the upcoming day.
And you realize… Mom always wakes me up. I never set an alarm.
Imagine that your 16 year old self awakes in your adult body. This POV has been circulating across the app TikTok for some time now, and I find it absolutely intriguing. It has caused serious reflection into my own life, thus creating the inspiration behind this blog post.
If 16 year old me woke up in my 25 year old body….
I awake to a blaring alarm. I reach out and find a nightstand with my cell phone lying on top of it… only it does not look like my cell phone. In fact, it does not look like any phone I have ever seen before. I can tell that it’s an iPhone, but it seems unusual. Still, without even typing in a passcode, the phone unlocks. I find the alarm and turn it off.
When I roll on my back, I glance to my right and see a man. I am about to scream when I see a ring on his finger, and behind him a photo on the wall of him with my parents. In the photograph, there is also what appears to be an older version of myself wearing a wedding gown.
And that’s when I realize I’m in a new life. It is my life — I know this — and yet it seems so foreign.
As a sixteen year old girl, I had wondered who I would marry. I had an on again and off again boyfriend, but I could never actually see myself marrying him. I was unsure of who would appear in my future. I always figured, like the cliche, he’d be tall, dark, and handsome. This man, however, seemed far better than that.
I walk into the living room, trying to gather pieces of my life. Who am I now?
I am wondering what career I had chosen. In high school, I have absolutely no clue — no true passion or drive for anything. I figured that I would go to the community college and probably become a teacher, even though I longed to leave my hometown and teaching was not a true passion of mine. I scan the kitchen and find a document magnetized to the fridge. It reads “Licensed Professional Counselor Associate”.
I’m a counselor.
I’m shocked that I made it this far. I see that I have a Master’s degree, which is totally baffling. I had been unsure that I’d even graduate with a Bachelor’s degree… I’d never imagined I would go that far in school.
And add to that I am crippling shy and introverted as a sixteen year old girl. I feel weird and awkward. I’m so unsure of myself. How on earth had I become a counselor? Talking to people daily as the main component of my job, and being sure enough of myself to help guide others?
How much had I changed between sixteen and twenty-five years of age?
I hear a whining noise. I walk toward the foyer to find two dogs. One is a good size and clearly a mutt. The other, however, is a very curly breed that I do not recognize. And that dog is huge. I glance at their dog tags and see their names are Jackson and Tucker. As someone who has always been an animal lover, I am not surprised that twenty-five year old me would own two dogs. I am happy that I still hold true to that love.
I walk back towards the living room and find a Bible, a stack of books, and my laptop open.
I have always believed in God, but I’m a lukewarm Christian. I open the Bible to find highlighted pages and notes on the sides. Wow. Have I grown in my faith? Am I a true follower of Jesus? I wonder how I am showing up for my faith and for God when I find a card that states I am actually a Christian counselor. My hearts begin to beat more quickly as I realize that I have become a version of myself that I adore from my sixteen year old perspective. I have found my way, and that was something I have doubted.
Next, I find the stack of books and the laptop opened to a blog account. Apparently, I am openly sharing my love of reading and also sharing my writing with the world. I sit down on the sofa, stunned. At age sixteen, I hid my love for reading because I thought it made me weird or seem like a nerd. Either that is not true, or I have become so confident in who I am that I simply do not care. And I never thought I would share anything that I write.
I am in awe at the thought that I could become this version of myself.
At sixteen, I don’t know who I am. I am lost. And I am sad and angry. I try to make friends and be confident in myself, but it feels as though there is something lacking. I cannot place my finger on it, but I never feel quite comfortable in my own skin. I feel like something is wrong with me.
The man –my assumed husband — comes out of the room. He makes a weird noise and I laugh, feeling the impulse as if it is instinctual. In that instant, I feel the final piece of me snap in place.
The awkwardness leaves. For that moment, I am confident. I know who I am. I may not currently be this twenty-five year old version of myself, but knowing that it is possible gives me hope — more hope than I’ve ever had that I can truly embrace life and who I am.