My Professional Background - Once upon a time, I wanted to be a motivational speaker. Actually, I was a professional motivational speaker for about 5 years.:
Dear 16-Year-Old Me,

Wow, I can’t believe how young you look.

I can’t believe I’m almost double your age already. It’s like I blinked and someone handed me a husband, two babies and a minivan.

I KNOW! We swore we’d never own one. We were wrong. About lots of things.

Imagine that.

I won’t keep you long. I know you have to get back to crying about boys, screaming at mom and drama rehearsal.

But, I just want to let you in on a little secret. You know that guy you pass right by in the hallway at school? You don’t talk to him much because he’s not a part of the cool crowd. Let’s be honest here, you’re not really part of the cool crowd either. But you’re definitely cooler than him.

Regardless, you won’t see him at the parties you attend. He spends his weekends playing in the band. Not A band…THE band. Yeah. He’s the one in all the advanced, nerd classes. The one who thinks his Boo Boo and “Bob walks into a bar” shirts are fashionable.

Or maybe he just doesn’t care if they are or not. He’s the one who’s not ashamed to talk about his family or his faith. The one who drives the old, tacky pickup truck. What a dork, right?

Yeah. Um…you’re going to marry him in approximately 7 years.

I know, I know. Don’t freak out. It’s a lot to digest right now.

Just hear me out.

This guy is the real deal. He’s an amazing father. The kind of father you have. He’s the husband you picture in your daydreams — minus the “cool” factor. But let’s talk about the cool factor for a minute.

You know what’s cool when you’re my age?

A man who treats his wife like she is a treasure to be cherished. A man who cries when he sees you cry. A man who plays with and PRAYS with his children. A man who isn’t afraid to lovingly discipline his children for their own good.

A man who continually strives to learn more and challenge himself intellectually. A man who can do math in his head…while he cooks your dinner. A man who says, “You go relax, I’ve got the dishes.” A man who joyfully SERVES his family. A man whose idea of fun is a date night out with you. Or a quiet evening at home with the kids. This is a REAL, cool man.

Also, he’s a pilot in the Air Force which is cool by any standard. But that’s not the point I’m trying to make.

Many of those guys you’re obsessed with now are still single, unhappily married or sadly divorced. Why? Because they never learned that love is a VERB. Not an emotion.

You remember verbs, right? Quit sleeping during English! It’ll come in handy one day when you’re making money as a writer.

We’re not there yet, though. You had to pop out a couple of humans first.

My point is that the things that are so important to you now will most certainly change. You won’t make it big on Broadway or in Hollywood by the time you’re my age. That audition at Juilliard

…it won’t kickstart an acting career.

And though your bags will already be packed, that move to Los Angeles when you’re 17 won’t happen. You’ll be disappointed. Heartbroken, even. But you’ll realize when you’re my age that God caused those things to happen for your good.

You’ll actually go to college (I know, right?), graduate in less than a decade (I KNOW!), start your career, get married, move a thousand times with the military, start another career, have some babies, and find a new at-home career to start all over again.

You’ll learn about marriage. You’ll learn that it is WORK and not at all what you thought. And that beautiful wedding you daydream about even now — the one that will practically cost your parents their life savings — will be over in a blink.

You will wear that gorgeous gown one time. ONE DAY. And then the real work will begin.

Exactly one year into marriage, you’ll leave him.

You’ll run back home to mom and dad like a bratty teenager (sorry). You’ll swear you’re never going back because it’s not what you expected. You won’t feel like you’re in love any more. And you won’t be. You truly won’t be “in love” at that point. It takes you exactly one year of marriage to fall out of love. I think that is some kind of record.

But you’ll remember those vows. Those nagging vows. The ones you made before God that talked about love. Not the feeling kind. The action kind. (Back to verbs again. Seriously, quit sleeping during class!)

Months will turn into years, and you’ll learn about forgiveness. You’ll learn how to forgive. And how to be forgiven. You will learn to love (action!) him again. And one day you’ll wake up and realize that you love him more than you did the first time he kissed you in the parking lot at school.

Romantic as that is (I guess), you’ll love him more than that. Exponentially more.

So, in summary, you’re not famous, you marry the dorkiest guy you know, things get really bad, you stay married anyway, you get pregnant and your body stretches beyond recognition, you spend most days listening to babies cry, you are ankle deep in feces, and in your free time you write essays. LOTS of essays.

I think that just about covers it.

Except that you’ll be insanely happy.

Happier than you ever dreamed.

Not because you’re rich, famous or fabulous.

But because you have love.

The undeserved, eternal kind.


31-Year-Old You


Comments to "Dear 16-Year-Old Me"

  1. Matt

    September 12, 2012

    I was about to make fun of Brian for crying… And then I cried at your post. Well played, you two. You got me.

  2. Kelley Statham

    September 12, 2012

    This made me cry! I was just thinking these things the other day as I was talking to a neighbor who just started high school. I look back on what was “important” or “cool” and realize none of it matters. All those things that were life changing and had me laying on my bed, listening to sad music (cue the “How do I liiiiiive without yoooouuuu”) and staring at the ceiling – they made me who I am today and got me where I am today. Looking back, it’s so comical!

  3. Heather Schmitt

    September 12, 2012

    Crying here too. What a tribute to love.

  4. Melita Thomas

    September 12, 2012

    Absolutely beautiful, Katy!

  5. sarah

    September 12, 2012

    I’m pretty sure Brian and I both wore those Far Side shirts to family reunions and then laughed histarically at each other. Dork alert.

  6. sarah

    September 12, 2012

    *hysterical. I slept through English too.

  7. Rachel

    September 12, 2012

    Absolutely love this. Today is mine and hubby’s 3 year wedding anniversary and I’ve been sitting here in our newly purchased home watching our 11 month old crawl around and be unimaginably cute and infuriating, wondering how I got here. There is so much I wish I could say to the sad, lonely teenager I once was. BTW you and your hubs were both adorable back in the day! WIsh the “dorks” in my high school had looked like him! 😉

    • Katy in a Corner

      September 12, 2012

      Thanks so much, Rachel! And HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!

  8. Dawn

    September 12, 2012

    Katy you are a hoot!! I told another Air Force mom living in Leavenworth about your blog!! She came into White House/Black Market. Told her to look ya up!! I pinned ya on Pinterest!! Keep it up. Oh and this blog made me cry!

  9. Lauren Jann

    September 12, 2012

    My favorite line “not a band THE band’ hahahaha, very funny very touching!!!

  10. Stephanie

    September 12, 2012

    Love it, Katy. You write beautifully.

  11. Paige Teusink

    September 12, 2012

    LOVE this post! I laughed and cried through the whole thing.

  12. apilotandanormalgirl

    September 12, 2012

    I love it!! What a beautiful story.

  13. LaLa

    September 12, 2012

    Love the post, love being married to my best friend…love you guys!!

  14. Becky

    September 12, 2012

    You made me smile with this one! God has blessed you with a gift…..the gift of putting into words what so many of us feel! I appreciate how real you are Katy! Thank you!!

  15. Heather Hunter

    September 12, 2012

    I love this one! So well-written and such a sweet summary. Love y’all!

  16. Michelle Kuhn

    September 12, 2012

    Katy–What a writer you are!! This is so beautiful, so touching, I was in tears by the end. This is a must read for Mary! I am glad you are doing well…I’m sorry I saw you just a few times at small groups before you moved–but, I can get plenty of updates on you and your family from your wonderful parents:)…and of course, this fabulous blog!! Take Care!!

  17. Colleen Walsh Argentine

    September 12, 2012

    Beautiful! Yes, love is a verb. And love is a lot of hard work. Well paid hard work. I have been thingking a lot about this today as I think about the love Aunt Carolyn and Uncle Julius shared and the wonderful example they set for all of us. They knew the secret and it sounds like you do also. Must be a family trait!

  18. Cyndi

    September 12, 2012

    What a beautiful, heart warming story. And I loved seeing your photos from the past.

  19. susan

    September 12, 2012

    great writing and super fun/cute pictures!!

  20. Rachel Clingerbrewster

    September 13, 2012

    Wow! Well said, and you made me cry!

  21. Chris Gaddy

    October 2, 2012

    Katy — You are so very talented and I have loved reading your posts and watching you hilarious blogs. It is funny how life turns out when you put yourself back in those 16 year old shoes; nothing like what you truly expected, but everything like what you truly wanted. Just like you, I feel very blessed to have a great wife and two beautiful little girls. Great to see you doing so well. God Bless!

    • Katy in a Corner

      October 2, 2012

      Chris, so great to hear from you! Thanks for the encouragement and for “following” the blog. Hope to get to meet your wife and kids some day.

  22. Brooke

    October 3, 2012

    Katy I love this letter .. <3


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  24. imklvr

    April 17, 2013

    Just popped over from today’s post to read this.  O.M.G.  Just beautiful.  Give your hubby a hug from ‘Grani’ and tell him he’s awesome!

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  26. Adrienn

    August 11, 2013

    You got me teary…I think we all fall out of love, but not everybody is strong enough to work at falling back into it.

  27. ajcollins77

    August 11, 2013

    This is beautiful and I HOPE you encourage your hubby to read this post, because it will give him a lift!  What a sweet and awesome post!  So honest… so true!


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