Oh, The Things I Wish I Could Tell My Younger Self

It has been 15 years this week since I began serving the wonderful people in Quito, Ecuador, on an 18 month LDS mission.

Sisters Witherspoon and Whalen as LDS missionaries in
Otavalo, Ecuador, in 2005. So young and cute!

Oh, the things I wish I could tell my younger self (on the left in the photo). Things like: just relax and ENJOY. Don’t rush this time. I know the days are long (sometimes painfully long!) but the months fly by. Take in every incredible moment of this adventure — the good and the bad; they are all shaping and molding you into something better! This is such a special time to be serving and helping so many people around you. These are some of the best moments of your life!!!

Now here I am many years later, with three young kids running wild around me and days dragging by soooo slowly — yet plucking away faster than I can believe.

You know what I would probably say to myself if I look back to this point in another 15 years? Perhaps something like: just relax and ENJOY. Don’t rush this time. I know the days are long (sometimes painfully long!) but the months fly by. Take in every incredible moment of this adventure — the good and the bad; they are all shaping and molding you into something better! This is such a special time to be serving and helping so many people around you. These are some of the best moments of your life!!!

Wait a moment, I think I see a pattern here…

And so life goes. Valuable lessons we learn along the way may be used over and over — or ignored over and over. It’s our call. But it will also be our regrets — or joy; our strengths gained — or weaknesses never overcame.

I am certainly still guilty of not always growing when and how I should during a phase or experience (or just a crappy day), but I think I’m wising up and learning from more lessons and opportunities than not. And quite literally, these times of strengthening are for my own good.

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Sidenote: the last six months of my mission were an absolute dream come true. We were the first Sister Missionaries to open a rural area near Otavalo, Ecuador — which is a very indigenous, mountainous area where the people stay true to their original language, culture, music, and traditions. They were INCREDIBLE!!! Imagine walking dirt paths with sounds of wooden looms clicking and old-time flutes playing in the distance!!! A wonderful family made these authentic traditional blouses for us, and this whole look is their everyday attire!

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