A Letter To My Future-Self

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It’s been over 3 years since I wrote the letter to my younger-self where I went back in time and gave my 21-year-old-self some advice on life.  I was attempting to erase any scars, blame, and grief; but as you know, you can’t change the past, but you can create the future.

This letter to my future-self is my next attempt in life, which is an exercise in self-love, a means of preserving and protecting what’s important today and into the future.

So let’s see what age 65 might look like…

 

Dear Future Jen,

Well… you are approaching that magical age of 65 years young, and it’s like all the things you’ve been aiming for are finally coming together.  What an amazing time to be living in Jen.  So many changes have happened in your exciting life and with every ending, there’s been a new beginning. You’ve had to endure some pretty major events in your life, but look at you, here you are; smiling ear to ear, despite all that.

Kids- Some of the greatest milestones after giving birth are seeing your kids graduate, seeing them get married and then seeing them have their first child.  By now, maybe you would have witnessed most of these accomplishments with Justin and Nathan.  They are amazing and intelligent kids, and you are truly blessed.  Continue to be loving and supportive of them so they can continue to be loving and supportive of you.  These kids are your two greatest accomplishments in your life Jen.  Remember to hold them close and show your love each and every day, just like you’ve done all along.  It was a tough road for everyone with the divorce you endured but don’t dwell on the past, you had so many valuable life lessons in there and that’s all that matters.  The relationship with you and their dad has improved with time, patience, and acceptance of what happened.  You are in a great space now and you have the best kids in the world. Be grateful for what you have.

Fears- You used to be afraid of public speaking, but you conquered that one a long time ago.  Now your fears are bigger than that and you manage to hide them well.  The two biggest fears you have are getting cancer and dying.  I think it’s safe to say you are not alone when you admit these, so good for you to be brave enough to say it because now your next step is to do something to keep yourself healthy.  Perhaps others will follow.

Health-Eating and Exercise – You’ve always been very conscientious about eating well and exercising.  There were a few times life was harder on you and you got off track but now you are back on and I’m so proud of you for making this a priority all these years.  Give your body energy by eating good food that fuels you so you can burn it off at the gym.  Also, continue to get enough sleep and take your vitamins.

Self-Care-One thing I can say about you Jen is that you still love getting your hair done!  I don’t think that will ever change and honestly, why should it, right?!  You will never let that gray hair show and that’s perfectly fine.  Remember to practice self-care because it’s important and makes you feel great.  Follow the pull, not the push. Keep it simple, self-care is how you take your power back young lady.

Saying No, Setting Boundaries- I certainly hope that by age 65 you learned how to say “No” and mean it.  And while you’re at it, set some boundaries for yourself.  The ’40s and ’50s are the trial years and you struggle here and there.  Just like I tried to tell you in your ‘20s, “No” is a complete sentence, my dear.  This is still true.  Never, ever settle and walk away from what doesn’t respect you.  You can detect a narcissist from miles away now, what a great skill to have!

Work-It’s been such an adventure at work for you Jen.  Who would have thought that being a nurse would lead to being an expert witness for malpractice cases, then entering the pharmaceutical industry? It has certainly been an exciting time in this regard and you don’t have any regrets.  The work relationships you made along each path have lasted a lifetime and what a gift that’s been for you.  The health care industry taught you a wealth of knowledge that you will never forget.  You chose a helping profession no matter which way you went and that’s because you are a compassionate person and it makes you happy.  You are someone who has always been patient-focused right from the get-go.  My only hope is there is someone like you who takes their work seriously and can care for you when it’s time.

Success/Failure-The best way I can describe success is because of failing at something.  This is where you learned so many life lessons and made the decision to build on them like crazy.  Good for you for having an open mind when new challenges came your way and you didn’t back down.  Failing is never fun or easy but as long as you get back up, you are succeeding.  You are also wise enough to know that being successful doesn’t make you happy, but being happy makes you successful.

Gratitude-As you know, gratitude brings you joy from within; even during the toughest moments of your life when things were falling apart, you managed to stay on track and find things you were grateful for. It’s during the worst times of your life, you need to practice gratitude because that’s what can change your perspective and shine a light in the dark. Continue to journal because it’s working.

Retirement-The time has come to complete your working years.  Congratulations girl, you did it!!  I hope you find a way to celebrate all your years of service in helping others.  Take a moment to pat yourself on the back because you deserve it.  Thanks to an entire team of financial planners and years of hard work!  What a fantastic feeling to be in this position right now.  Knowing you Jen, the only thing you are thinking about right now, is “Where can I travel to next and celebrate this amazing milestone in my life?”  Just remember to spend your money wisely…

Travel-There you go, I was right!  The world is your oyster now Jen, so get that travel app up and running! Time to start booking some trips since you’re still healthy and active.  I can see you traveling with your kids, friends and also some solo trips as you’ve done in the past.  You know people in so many countries, you can visit them as you go.  How exciting is that?  Pick some places you’ve always wanted to visit like New Zealand, Bora Bora and anywhere in South America. Get your passport and suitcase ready!

Relationships-Friends, Family-Another prize possession of yours is your circle of friends Jen.  You have been blessed with loving people in your life both near and far who truly care about you and you about them.  This alone is something huge to be grateful for.  If you are still fortunate enough to have your family and parents with you, remember to tell them you love them.  Spending good quality time with those you love is one of the most important things you can do in your life. Have those conversations you’ve been avoiding, now is the time to get it out.  Communication is key in all relationships and being able to say how you feel is where you begin, so speak up Jen.  Life is very short.  You value honesty, integrity, respect, loyalty, kindness, compassion and attention.  These values drive your behavior and it’s what you look for in others.  Keep going…

Love/Heartbreak-This is the one area of your life that’s never been an easy one for you, unfortunately.  I do hope that by the time you are 65 years young Jen, that you found that special someone whom you love and loves you right back with everything he’s got.  Someone who sees your worth and doesn’t take advantage of you but treats you right because you definitely deserve it.  He needs to take care of you because you will take care of him, that is for sure.  Even though you are a successful woman with all the freedom in the world, it would be nice to share time with someone who adores you in an authentic way.  At the same time, heartbreak has taught you many lessons and by now you know what you shouldn’t tolerate, so once again, don’t play their games and don’t settle, you’re better than that.  The next guy has to be pretty damn amazing and put some effort in, or forget about it.  You deserve a man who will pay attention to you and be there for you when you need it most.  You’ve endured enough emotional days in this area, it’s time for some fantastic days instead.  On the other hand, if the Universe has something else in mind for you to be on your own, then make the best of it and enjoy.  Keep practicing self-love, either way.

Emotional Rescue-If you had a dollar for every emotional roller-coaster you’ve been on since day one Jen, you could have retired a long time ago!  Ugh!!  Thanks to writing and exercising it helped you get out of your funk very well.  Remember this for the rest of your life because you never know how things will go and you really don’t want to look like the crazy one! You’ve come a long way with your “project-self” topics and now you can cope with life even better and take care of you the way you should.  With love and compassion. Keep writing, it is such a great healing tool emotionally.

Unfinished Business-At this point, I don’t know what your unfinished business will be, but if there is any, my advice to you is to complete it and cross it off that list of yours.  This is clutter in your life, that you don’t need, just deal with it and get it done.  You’ll feel much better afterward.

Hobbies/Interests- You wrote a book after your divorce and what an accomplishment that was both mentally and emotionally.  It’s almost like you creatively grieved it.  Kudos to you for doing this and another book is in your future as well.  The topics aren’t 100% clear quite yet but since writing is soul therapy for you, you have to do it.  Not only does it help you, but it also helps others that are in line with your values once again.  One of your latest hobbies is salsa dancing and my goodness, what a great time you’ve had, you are quite the dancing queen!  I think you need to do a girls getaway vacation in South America first!  Arriba!

Goals-Stop doing useless things, start doing new activities, continue doing your writing and travel.  Practice self-care.  Wear sunscreen.  Love with all your heart.  Repeat…

Hopes and Dreams-I hope you are living a life of peace, love, and happiness.  That you have finally stepped into who you truly are and you are owning your life, Jen. That you are surrounded by everyone who matters to you in your heart of hearts, and in your dreams.  In the end, it’s our close relationships that matter the most so take the time to cultivate them as best as you possibly can. I hope you and your kids are healthy and happy.

Advice-Live your life as authentically as humanly possible.  Not because of others expectations, but be brave and do it for you.  Work hard, but not too hard that you miss out on life, especially with your kids.  Always practice a work-life balance.  Be courageous and express how you feel to others.  Put the time and effort into your friendships and family.  Sometimes you need to break out of your comfort zone to be happy.  Feeling stuck in anything with anyone isn’t worth it.  Take the high road and apologize.  Don’t play the victim or rescuer, they are so unattractive.  Say I love you and mean it.  In the end, it’s all about relationships with your kids, family, friends, at work and with yourself.

Regrets-If you follow the advice above, you won’t have any regrets 🙂  Honestly, everything happens for a reason and leads you to the next best thing, so take the good with the bad, it’s ok.

Questions-Let me think about it, I’ll let you know in some years from now 😛

I will carefully store this letter to my future self in a time capsule for later use.  It will be interesting to read it years from now and see what rings true for me.  In the meantime, I will continue to live my best life and honor my relationships with all my heart.  After all, I’ve come this far, and there’s no turning back ❤

Your future looks bright, and you still have a long way to go…

 

Love Always ❤

Jen
XO

**Copies of “Winning While Losing:  The Upside of Heartbreak” are available at online bookstores worldwide.  All my gratitude to you.  Dare to live courageously…

Project-Self: Self-Respect and Self-Worth

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As I live my life and deal with everything being thrown at me, there seems to be this recurring feeling that never really goes away.  Whether it’s on my good days or not so good days, the topics of self-respect and self-worth are front row and center.

For the past few years, I made a commitment to myself to get to know myself better from within.  When you give yourself what you need first, you get it in return.  For example, if you feel you are not getting respect, ask if you respect yourself first.  If you feel like you are not feeling worthy or validated, are you aware of your own worth?  It also works on the flip side.  For example, if you don’t respect yourself, it is difficult to show respect to others.  If you don’t see your own worth, you will not see it in others either.  This is why it’s so crucial to pay attention to how we behave in all our relationships.  So many people give unsolicited advice to friends, family and even strangers on how they should live their lives but when it comes to themselves, they can’t take their own advice.

Ironic?  Absolutely.

So where do we begin?  With ourselves; by realizing we are enough and deserve happy and healthy relationships right from the get-go.  When in doubt, it’s time to have a little pow-wow with self-respect and self-worth to remind us we need to set boundaries with people and sometimes walk away from it all.  Self-compassion plays a huge role when we are struggling through something like this and we can start talking to ourselves the same way we would to a good friend, in a loving and forgiving way that supports our mental and emotional health.  If you are not a priority in someone’s life then why is it ok to be an option?  If that person you are with is not a priority, then why do you keep holding on?  If someone is treating you badly, ask yourself why you keep letting them?  If someone can’t see your worth, make sure that someone isn’t you.  Rise up.  It takes a lot of strength and courage to let go of toxic relationships that only feed your ego and not your soul.  If you are in an unhealthy relationship and know it, ask yourself why are you staying?  What I know for sure, is that I would rather be on my own than with the wrong person.  Life is way too short and wasting time with someone or with yourself is not a good idea.  We all have a choice and whatever you decide, you are responsible for it.  If you want to make a change, then you have to take action because thinking about it won’t change anything.

By taking action, you are showing self-respect and self-worth because you know in your heart you deserve more than what you’re getting and you are honoring your feelings.  Bravo for realizing it because as soon as you do this, the world opens up and the Universe responds by supporting you.  Draw a line in the sand, stand up, say no, walk away, let go, do what you need to do but just make sure you do something that supports YOU.  Speak your truth!

I would like to share a short letter I wrote.  It isn’t for one person but for the collective bunch who try to disrespect any of us and can’t see clearly.

 

“Dear You,

I know you are struggling to pay attention to me, see me for who I am and make me a priority in your life.  I just want you to know, I don’t need your validation because as of now, everything is over and I’m validating myself.  I’m not upset, I’m awake.  I see what I want and need in my life and I know I deserve more because I’m so worth it.  Out of respect, I have to walk away and since this is a one-sided relationship, this doesn’t work for me anymore.  I can no longer sit here looking straight ahead and seeing the past and no future.

All I ever asked was for you to spoil me with loyalty, love, respect, affection, attention, friendship, and great conversation.  I can finance myself just fine.  Apparently, that was asking too much of you.  What is too much for me is waiting, wondering, and wishing for a life that doesn’t exist with you.  It’s too expensive for my mental and emotional health, I am worth so much more than you’ll ever know.  It’s unfortunate that previous relationships poison present ones because when things are not dealt with at the moment, they carry over into the next relationship.  That isn’t fair to either side but it happens all the time.  Future relationships lose their chance of being healthy if nothing changes from within.

Now I realize that sometimes you have to love people from a distance to let them become who they need to be and sometimes you need to love people from a distance so you can be the person you need to be.  I am owning my emotions so I can let them go while moving forward.  Due to the circumstances and as a sign of self-respect, I have to go.  Maybe one day you will realize you hurt the one girl who would never hurt you.

“People will teach you how to love by not loving you back.  People will teach you how to forgive by not apologizing.  People will teach you kindness by their judgment.  People will teach you how to grow by remaining stagnant.  Pay attention when you’re going through painful and mysterious times.  Listen to the wisdom life is trying to teach you.”  ~ Meredith Marple

All the very best to you and thank you for all the life lessons.”

 

Much Love ❤

Jen
XX

** I hope you are enjoying the Project-Self blogs so far. Thank you to everyone for reading and liking them.  As I write I learn and as I learn I write.  Working on myself is a process but it’s also one I enjoy doing and I hope you do too in your own life ❤

** “Winning While Losing:  The Upside of Heartbreak” is available at online bookstores worldwide and at FriesenPress online bookstore.  I am grateful for all the love from my readers.  Please check out the wonderful reviews people have left on my website 😀

~ Dare to live courageously…

 

 

Love More By Caring Less. Huh?

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I love my friends they are my rocks in life.  We lean on each other in times of trouble and in times of laughter so much to the point where we offer each other advice on everything.  It doesn’t always mean we take the advice from each other but it is very comforting knowing we’re all in this together with big open hearts and love.

Friends often give each other advice even when we don’t ask for it.  It’s because we care so much and don’t like to see our friends suffering so we try to brainstorm a solution for them right there on the spot, I know I am also guilty of trying to fix a situation. This can be interpreted in two different ways, one that it is being done out of love and protectiveness or two, they are controlling, judging and criticizing everything you do.

I can understand why someone might think about it in the second example because it may come across like an attack and they aren’t accepting you as you are.  “You need to change.”  Change is scary and when we’re scared, we get defensive.

Now imagine if I said to you “Well *friend* I just love you.  I don’t care what happens to you.”

Huh???

Does this statement make you feel more relaxed, less anxious?  To some, it may come across as something cold but if I were to translate it to mean, “I really don’t care what happens to you, no matter what you do, I won’t love you any less.”  Real love comes from people who are both totally committed to helping—and able to emotionally detach.

Try this example; think of someone you love but causes you to feel angry, sad or anxious.  Now write “If ________ would only ____________ then I could feel ______________.”  Now scratch out the first part of that sentence so only this remains; “I could feel _______________.”

Yes, your lovely friends’ cooperation would be lovely, but you don’t absolutely need it to experience any given emotional state. This is incredibly hard to accept—it would be so easy to feel good if others would just do what we want, right? Nevertheless, you can feel sane even if your crazy-making friend stays crazy.  This is the key step to loving without caring.

We need to find our own ways to be happy and not depend so much on other people, especially the undependable ones!  Even if all your lovely friends remain insane forever, it’s still possible you’ll find opportunities to thrive and joys to embrace.   The bottom line is that we are powerless over other people and when we can accept that hard fact, that’s when we start creating our own happiness.  There are days when it feels like a non-stop cha-cha where it’s one step forward and two steps back but you have to trust yourself and your friends.  It’s all in the power of letting go of control and loving more.

One day it would be nice to hear “Friend, I love you unconditionally—I don’t care what happens to you.”  This is the kind of loving and uncaring friend we should all have in our lives.  The one who lets us be who we really are, to be free to do and choose what we want.  Live and let live, love and let love.  And in the end they will love us till the day we die no matter what.  As you support your friends this way, maybe they will mirror the same support back to you.  Either way you can be happy so what do you care?

At the same time, if you disagree then I lovingly and respectfully do not care 😛

To all my loving friends out there ❤

 

So much love to you all,

 

Jen 🙂
xoxo

 

 

 

 

What I Know For Sure…Now: A Letter To My 21-Year-Old-Self

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Okay seriously, life is full of lessons whether you want to learn from them or not.  When you do learn, you expand your personal growth and development and make necessary changes so they don’t happen again.  If you don’t learn the life lessons, they will keep happening over and over until you do.  They won’t go away on their own.  That’s just the way it is…sigh.

No matter what age you are, something happened to you that affected your life and how you reacted to it changed you.  It didn’t kill you, it made you stronger.   But what if you could have a conversation with your younger self and give advice that would save you time and grief or give you confidence and perseverance in various areas of your life?  I know I’ve thought about this and I’d like to share what I know for sure… now.

Dear Jen,

You are 21 years young now and are studying very hard to become a nurse.  You have chosen a career path that is helpful and compassionate which aligns with who you are and your core values in life. Yes studying is hard, working in the hospital is hard but never give up because you are on the right path; you’ve got this.  Know that every day you will touch a life or a life will touch yours, this is the beauty in nursing.

What if I told you when you graduate you will move to another country to work and travel?  Not just once but twice. Nursing can open many doors for you and later on there is another big opportunity coming up that you cannot say no to, in Qatar.

Don’t always expect to be acknowledged and appreciated for all the hard work you do, people are tired and busy in their own worlds but in your heart, just know you are doing your best and in the end, you will be rewarded by Him.  Know your own self-worth because if you think you are cheap, people will see and treat you as cheap. Try not to control every outcome, just relax and enjoy the ride because you have so much ahead of you, a world of experiences that will blow your mind!

Life Coaching is in your future which is another beautiful helping profession and by walking this path, you learn so much about yourself in the process and it’s an automatic win-win for you and your clients. You will be so inspired, you will really love this but it takes work to get it going.  Don’t give up.

Relationships are complicated but a very big part of your life Jen.  Friendships are to be treasured and respected by both sides otherwise, it’s not worth it.  Everywhere you go, you will meet new friends and connect well with them for life because of who you are.  You have many amazing friends who inspire you so hang on tight they are your rocks during your toughest moments.   Don’t forget to be there for them too and love them with all your heart.  Sadly, one of your closest friends will be diagnosed with cancer and cannot beat it.  However, having known her, changes your perspective on life for the better because you learn to appreciate the little things, slow down and look within yourself for answers to life’s complicated questions.  You have all the solutions inside you, just dig deep because they’re all there.  You feel a deep sense of gratitude for having known her and you miss her.

Family is another important part of your life and you need to show your appreciation for everything they do for you.  Nobody’s perfect and everyone is doing the best they can, just like you Jen.  Perfection is a dangerous thing and not even possible so let it go.  Imperfections are what make people beautiful including you.  It all depends on your perspective, try to look at them as your gifts.  Your entire family loves you unconditionally, you love them too and you get along with everyone.

Ah, romance, romance.  You have met some really nice guys that showed interest in you so far and you have been interested in some of them.   But Jen, you need to have more self-confidence you need to love yourself more.  Learn how to be assertive and stand up to the ones who don’t treat you right and hold hands with the ones who do.  Don’t get blindsided by flattery, take it for what it is which is sweet.  Not every guy will understand your kind heart but that’s ok, it’s not your job to convince him of it.  Never let the good guy get away, easier said than done.  Romantic involvement is complex and fleeting.  Don’t settle for someone, make sure your man adores you, protects you, makes time for you, has the same values as you, has your back on everything and knows how to use a hammer!  This will save you a ton of frustration…

What you really want is someone who makes you smile, is proud of you, supports you and inspires you, is emotionally there for you and treats you like his queen.  Not a man who drains you or takes advantage of your good nature or abandons you.  He will love you with his whole heart by making you his number one priority and not let his external environment control how he feels or acts around you.

He must know his own core values and who he truly is on the inside otherwise he is a chameleon adjusting to every external environment, not a man.

If you are looking for a chameleon, go to Costa Rica.

Make sure he never interrupts you or puts you down in front of other people; he should be singing your praises instead.  You are a fine catch young lady and never forget that!  😉

You put everyone’s needs ahead of your own and deep down, you want your needs met too and why not?  People pleasing and putting yourself last is killing you without you even realizing it.  You need to take better care of yourself so you have the ability to take care of others.  Everywhere you go you are a caretaker.  Learn to set some boundaries for yourself otherwise people will walk all over you as if you were a doormat.  “No” is a complete sentence, remember that my love.  And whatever you do, don’t let the opinions of others influence you to the point of doing nothing.  You’re better than that.

Be very mindful of selfish people and narcissists in your life.  They are your biggest threat because they give subtle red flags and are very good at charming you.  Take off those rose colored glasses so you can actually see the color red.  They are only interested in themselves so don’t kid yourself into thinking they have something to offer you.  They are takers and you are a giver so you are vulnerable in this situation.  Be very, very careful.

I know you can’t see it now but your heart of gold will fall in love with one man and two children over the years.  Unfortunately heartbreak is in your future but this tragedy has its silver lining.  You experience two sides of the same coin but you are a trooper, a real warrior.  Facing these various betrayals are the biggest stressors you will go through but it’s not what happens to us in life that determines who we are, it’s how we cope and react to it that counts and you have excellent coping skills.  Like grace under fire. You are not a victim so don’t play that role, ever.  You might feel like you are all alone in this but you’re not.  You are stronger than you realize and you have God in your corner.  This is a time for self-compassion and practicing self-care, finally.  You have put this off long enough Jen so time to pay attention to yourself.  It’s self-discovery time.  Be a good example for your kids because they are always watching and taking notes.  Learn the lessons here and don’t worry so much, everything is going to be okay.

You really need a vacation, you should plan one.

Writing blogs for you is a positive emotional outlet and an incredibly important way of dealing with stress because getting your emotions out on paper or a screen is cathartic.  A wonderful healing tool for all.  Not only are you helping yourself but also helping others by letting them know we are all in this together, nobody is alone.  An amazing world of bloggers is out there and each person has something beautiful to offer, appreciate each and every one of them from your heart because they are probably fighting a battle of their own you know nothing about.  You learn to write your way out of this betrayal and when writing the story of your life Jen, don’t let anyone else hold the pen, own it.  You get to write your own ending.  On the other side of this fear is freedom so hang in there, you’re doing great.  You are finding your inner voice and are finally starting to use it.  Better late than never girl!

Exercise has always been a priority in your life but during this time you must keep moving more than ever.  The physical, mental, emotional and spiritual benefits are endless.  Exercise helps to get the negative energy out, clear your mind, release those endorphins and make you feel empowered again.  You meet more friends along the way who support you and you can’t imagine your life without them because they are just so fun to be with!  You learn new activities like Zumba and PiYo which you even become addicted to!

As you make your way through the pain with your kids, your vision becomes clearer and you slowly get your strength back, thanks to your family and friends here and all around the world.  Connection has empowered you to stand up for what you believe in and fight for your rights my little warrior.  You are getting to know and love yourself more and more each and every day, the butterfly is emerging.  One of the greatest lessons you can learn is to practice gratitude, forgiveness and surrender.  These are the silver linings in the dark clouds.  You will make it to the other side Jen, you are almost there so don’t give up now.  Music and lyrics inspire you and give you energy.  There’s one song that’s about standing for something and getting stronger which is exactly what you need right now.  You need to stand for you.  Share this song with your amazing friends and in the meantime…ROAR!

To be continued in another 20 years….

And this is what I know for sure….now.

Love,

Jen
xo