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I stare at the photo of a girl with curly brown hair and flushed cheeks. Her boyfriend’s arms are around her and she is surrounded by a group of friends. All of them are dressed in 1950’s finery. It is her sweet 16 birthday party.

My heart aches for her. She doesn’t know what I know…that her whole life will change in less than a month. If I could give her one piece of advice, it would be this:

“Don’t be in a hurry…”

Don’t be in a hurry to have a boyfriend. There’s lots of time to pair off and hold hands, to steal kisses, and to share pet names. Spend more time with your friends – laugh and make memories. The responsibilities of life weigh you down, you’ll drift apart, and this part of your life will seem like it never happened.

Don’t be in a hurry to fall in love. Learn to be content on your own. Find out who you are. Recognize that you are beautiful and talented, and you have so much to offer. Your voice is worth being heard. Your dreams can be pursued. You have 2 feet that will hold you up. When you fall in love, stay true to yourself. You will be healthier in the long run, and can give of yourself more deeply to the one with whom you choose to spend your life.

Don’t be in a hurry to “make love”. The world cheapens the expression. When you love someone, it is worth waiting together for that moment when you have already given each other your lives. You may fall in love many times before you get married, but you can only share that first time once, and it creates a closeness and a bond that should not be underestimated.

Don’t be in a hurry to get married. Take time to develop a friendship. Discover what you can live with and what you cannot. Don’t depend on someone else to make or keep you happy. Marriage is forever…and forever with the wrong person is a very long time. Marriage is much more than happily-ever-after.

Don’t be in a hurry to reach the next milestone – white dresses and roses, houses with picket fences, babies with dimples, are better handled and more greatly appreciated when they come at the right time. If they don’t come, don’t feel that you have somehow missed out or that you have been overlooked. You can change lives, even if you haven’t given birth to them. Families are not always created by birth and marriage. Picket fences aren’t exclusive. Celebrate other milestones; chase other dreams. Dance. Sing. Cry. Start again.

                Celebrate the little moments and the small victories.

                                Savour each stage of life.

                                                Live in the joy of each day.

                                Don’t be in a hurry…Life has a way of hurrying all by itself.

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Daily Prompt – Sweet Sixteen: Write a post inspired by your sixteenth birthday.