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…

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Golden

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Golden ~by Ruth B

The fire used to burn
All the words used to hurt
But you’re not like us
You are different
I couldn’t see that that was a compliment
Cause the last thing I want now is to be you

And the flames don’t feel as hot as they used to
Burn, burn, burn,
They used to yell
You thought I was coal
My friend, I’m gold, can’t you tell?

Burn, burn, burn
They used to yell
You thought I was coal
My friend, I’m gold, can’t you tell?

Cause I’m not weak,
I’m not broken,
I am bold
And the fire you put me through turned me into gold
I’m not done, I’m no loser
Watch me take on my bright future
Tonight I’m no bronze, I’m no silver,
You’ll be thinking damn I knew her
But you didn’t
Don’t get it twisted

Out of the ashes you buried me in,
I, I am golden
I, I am golden

You tried so hard to break me down
Like a fire-breathing dragon,
But I guess I took your crown

You pushed for me to change for you
But I’m so glad that I stayed true to who I am
Burn, burn, burn
They used to yell
You thought I was coal
My friend, I’m gold, can’t you tell?
Cause I’m not weak, I’m not broken
I am bold
And the fire you put me through turned me into gold

I’m not done, I’m no loser
Watch me take on my bright future
Tonight I’m no bronze, I’m no silver
You’ll be thinking damn I knew her
But you didn’t
Don’t get it twisted

Out of the ashes, you buried me in
I, I am golden
I, I am golden

The fire that you tried to burn me with
It made me who I am
All the things you said I couldn’t do
Guess what, yes I can

The fire that you tried to burn me with
It made me who I am
All the things you said I couldn’t do
Guess what, yes I can

Cause I’m not weak, I’m not broken
I am bold
And the fire you put me through turned me into gold
I’m not done, I’m no loser
Watch me take on my bright future
Tonight I’m no bronze, I’m no silver
You’ll be thinking damn I knew her
But you didn’t
Don’t get it twisted

Out of the ashes, you buried me in
I, I am golden
I, I am golden
Golden, gold
I, I am golden, golden, golden.

Golden is one of my favorite songs that inspires me in so many ways.  It makes me think of my book which is about how I survived and coped through my separation and divorce in a positive way while trying to work as a single mother, pick up all the pieces and wear a smile through it all while dying inside.  I didn’t let this control me, I took control myself.

The book release date is March 2017 at this point and I will keep you posted as it gets closer.  This book is for anyone who’s had to live through heartbreak but came out golden because of it.  Don’t let someone push you around, you’re worth way more than that type of treatment and deserve real love.  Sometimes we don’t realize our courage, strength, and resilience until we’re in it and I think we’re all much stronger than we give ourselves credit for.

You deserve a pat on the back and so much more…

Much love and gratitude to you 🙂

Jen
xo

Silver Is The New Gold

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Your boyfriend/girlfriend just broke up with you or maybe you didn’t get that job you were counting on.  These scenarios are major disappointments in life and if you focus on the negative outcome, you miss the gift of finding the silver lining and life lessons that are often hidden within the situation.

Imagine one of the most challenging situations you had to face and thought you were never going to get through it.  Perhaps it was one of these examples above or something even bigger where the devastation was so great you were immobilized for weeks or months.

Sound familiar?

In hindsight, were you able to see if any good came out of the experience?  What were the life lessons you learned from it?  In what ways did that experience give your life new meaning?

Now think of a challenge you are facing right now.  How might you see your challenge in a new light with a different perspective?  What are some positive possibilities that could come because of this challenge you are facing?

When devastation and disappointment strikes, it’s natural to go into victim mode for awhile.  The key to surviving this is actually having the key to escape that prison you’re in.  Success and failures are two sides of the same coin and sometimes in order to be successful, one needs to fail.  Failures are life’s greatest teachers and are road signs telling us that we’re going the wrong way and we need to look for a new direction.  These are known as the crossroads in our life which can be a great opportunity for a life review to see what we have, what we want and what we can live without.  With every review, things become a little clearer which means you become a little happier and successful in finding your right path.

Let’s suppose that job offer didn’t work out for you and something even better came along.  If you would have been offered that first job, the opportunity for accepting the right one would have been lost to someone else.  By being patient and accepting the right offer you are able to find the silver lining of being rejected in the first situation.

Heartbreak is another story and maybe the most complicated one of all to fully understand.  Even though reasons for why a break up happened are so greatly varied, the feelings and emotions that someone experiences are the same no matter what the situation.  Anger, sadness, grieving a loss are essential feelings to go through in order to make sense of the situation and move forward.  There are times when one person no longer feels the loving connection they once had as a couple and despite the efforts of trying to repair things, it becomes time for them to walk away.  In life, sometimes people can grow with you and other times people grow apart from you.  As hard as it may be to accept this fact, all of this aids in your own personal growth and development because if someone who isn’t right for you stays, then you miss out on meeting the person who is right.

Once free from an emotionally dead relationship, that’s when the process of self-discovery begins which is a beautiful thing because when you know more about who you are, your values, and what you represent then you will attract like-minded people into your life instead of settling.  You become more loving and self-compassionate which allows you to extend that love to others, making it more authentic because it becomes an opportunity to open up your heart and mind.  When you hit rock bottom in a relationship, the only way to go is up because painful endings are beautiful beginnings.  Therefore, learning the life lessons and finding the silver lining in heartbreak are the best things that could ever happen to you and this is worth celebrating.

The possibilities are endless when finding the silver lining in life’s challenges and your job is to find them because silver is the new gold and trust me, you don’t want to miss it.

Wishing everyone a season of peace and joy this December.  Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all 🙂

P.S.  My book is due to be released at the end of March 2017 so I will keep you posted on that as well.  In it, I go through the silver linings I found and life lessons I learned which inspired me to write this post as well.

Much Love ❤

Jen

 

Love and Cardiac Complications

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The similarities between love and cardiac complications are endless and mind-boggling.  I think we can all recognize some of these crush and love moments whether they were brief or long; they existed or perhaps still exist for some.  I just hope you don’t recognize any of the cardiac complications!  Either way, whatever you do recognize, the important thing is that you survived.

Love vs. Cardiac Complications

You’re walking around feeling good, living your life = Normal Sinus Rhythm, good arrhythmia!

You meet someone, fall in love, heart is chaotic and skips a beat = Atrial Fibrillation, administer Esmolol

Passion = Ventricular Tachycardia, rapid heart rate over 100 beats per minute, administer Amiodarone.  If you are able to safely live in this zone then you are one of the lucky ones out there.

Love is lost, abandoned, betrayal.  Heart cracks and breaks open, total absence of electrical activity.  HELP! = Cardiac arrest, Asystole.  Like in the movies; “flat line.”  Administer Epinephrine STAT!

Scared, denial, chest pain, can’t breathe, shock….

Take some deep breaths = Administer Oxygen

Friends support system is called in they take care of you, give you comfort, food, love, support = Call 911, perform CPR and ACLS.  Administer Epinephrine again STAT!

Cardiac Defibrillation – “All Clear” shock the heart to help restart it = Clear some space for yourself while you push the “refresh” button on your life and start over

When we think about cardiac surgery we usually think about the mechanics, the anatomy and physiology aspects which are very important when trying to save a life.  What about the other roles the heart plays?  The invisible, emotional, spiritual roles that can only be felt, that can change the heart rate and electrical activity by a single word, song, story or any of the 5 senses?

I’m talking about love and passion.   This is something you never see during surgery but I’ve always wondered what people go through in their love life and how they survived that type of invisible but real heartbreak.  From the outside looking in, everything looks normal, but it’s not.  People often refer to heartbreak as invisible scars, holes, or cracks in their heart.  How did they stitch themselves back together again and carry on?   Did they really heal?  Has this ever happened to you?  How did you handle it?

Coping mechanisms for healing:  reading inspirational blogs, quotes, creative writing, music, movies, books, support and encouragement from friends and family, feeling grateful, finding the silver lining, learning the hidden life lessons, hugs, laughter, getting outside in nature, Zumba = these examples are the sutures that can help stitch the heart back together again.  It’s how I cope anyway…

Real friends:  Non-Absorbable Sutures – since the heart is the strongest rhythmic muscle in the body, non-absorbable sutures give the heart extra time to heal because they are in there for life, the long haul, they are flexible and strong.  These are your real friends.  If absorbable sutures were used on the heart, they would not hold it together and it would keep breaking, leading to death.  Not only that, there would be a medical malpractice case…

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Takers:  Absorbable sutures – the one who dissolved and left after all the work was done, temporary relationship.  In any case, never use these with the precious heart

Stainless steel wires close the sternum acting like a new shield of armor to protect the heart and give it extra strength.  Now you’re a warrior made of steel.

Recovery period:  sleep, get your strength back, start out slowly, exercise, eat healthy, take care of yourself, be kind, patient, don’t smoke!  Normal sinus rhythm again.  Smile!  🙂

Similarity:  you survived a cardiac complication because you were well taken care of by a team of caring people and you also took care of yourself.  The heart can function properly now and your broken heart has been mended and reinforced.  It didn’t kill you; it made you stronger. Are you ready to give another try at love, atrial fibrillation, passion and ventricular tachycardia?

Love can be complicated like the cardiovascular system.  We need to follow our hearts and what we’re passionate about to live our life to the fullest.  Eventually, we can return to Love and Normal Sinus Rhythm.

Take good care of yourself and the ones you love,

Much love,

~ Jennifer

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Courage Emerges Through a Broken Heart

Once there was a young boy who highly admired his father.  One day, the father asked the young boy to put the word “courage” ON his heart.  However, the young boy thought that the word “courage” should go IN his heart.  His father smiled and looked at the young boy with pride and said “yes, but the heart is very strong and resilient, sometimes so hard it is even closed off.  Therefore, we can only put the word “courage” ON your heart.  The young boy carefully took hold and picked up the word “courage” and placed it ON his heart as his father had requested.  The father then smiled with a tear in his eye and said, “it is only when the heart breaks open, that courage can fall IN and begin to grow into something truly amazing.”