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

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10 Ways To Set Your Life On Fire

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“It’s better to be a lion for a day than a sheep all your life.”  ~ Elizabeth Kenny

  1. Housekeeping: That’s right, but not that kind of housekeeping.  What I am referring to is getting your mind, body and soul clean by re-organizing what is important to you and why.  Start making priority lists and discard the rest.  There’s nothing better than a good dusting to see what’s hiding underneath it all.  Keep your mind fresh and clean by keeping your thoughts positive.  Keep your body happy and healthy by exercising and getting rid of unwanted body fat!  Keep your soul revitalized by being true to yourself and not pretending to be someone you’re not.  Keep the fire burning by being authentic, not fake because fake fizzles out really fast.
  1. Hasta La Vista Baby: Say goodbye to narcissists and people who are not your true friends.  These types of people drain you and don’t have time for you so why hold onto them?  Respect yourself by knowing you are worthy and a joy to be around, it’s their loss if they can’t appreciate you.  If someone seriously wants to be a part of your life, they will seriously make an effort to be in it.  People who keep you hanging in silence for their own benefit need to be cut out immediately.  Not only is this selfish and hurtful, they aren’t worth it and life is too short.  Now you can start learning the words to #Alicia Keys song “This Girl Is on Fire!!” or any other song with the word #FIRE in it. Actions speak louder than words. 
  1. Connection: Say hello to the people who excite you and bring joy into your life!  People who make you laugh are definitely going to set your life on fire and fan your flames because not only are they fun to be around, laughter wakes up all the cells in your body, boosts your immune system and if done long enough, makes your face hurt in a good way.   Forget social media and get out of your house and off your phone!  Meet people face to face and start connecting with them on many different subjects.  You will walk away feeling content and grateful for knowing them.  Be kind to your friends and treat them right by making time for them.  If there is someone you have always wanted to talk to and haven’t yet, now’s the time to find the courage and “Just do it” like #Nike says.  Remember, this is an article on how to set your life on fire, not play it safe so get out there!
  1. New Hobby Anyone: Still trying to figure out how to use that epic camera you bought last year?  It’s time to take it out of the box and start snapping some shots!!!  Sign up for a photography class and make that commitment to learning something new outside your box!  By taking a new class you might find new friends and connect with people you never knew existed.  Whatever your hobby is, the point is to get started and try something NEW.  Not your usual hobby because new is what starts the spark and the spark is what starts the fire!
  1. Dance: What’s your favourite tune?  Whatever you love to listen to, get off the couch and turn up the music!  When music is played louder than usual, it can actually light you up from the inside out and bring back those loving feelings and memories.  Upbeat music causes this natural instinct to get your body moving and before you know it, you’re singing along and feeling great!  There is no way you can feel depressed when singing and dancing so it’s great to rekindle with the oldies but goodies or with the latest and greatest hits.  Remember high school?  You get to choose the music so tear up the dance floor and light your fire!
  1. Be Adventurous: Still longing to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, run that marathon, bungee jump off that cliff or get that wild haircut you always wanted?  If you are into that kind of risk taking then congratulations, you are living on the edge and your life is already on fire!  For the rest of us, adventurous can mean other things like zip lining, travelling or public speaking.  Yikes!  When you do something new, it’s exciting and it can have several positive side effects like bragging rights to all your friends and posting pictures of yourself everywhere.  You feel that sense of accomplishment for being courageous enough to do something outside your usual pattern of living and not procrastinating about it.  You know what they say, life begins at the end of your comfort zone.  Do what scares you!
  1. Spice It Up: Whether it’s an old flame your current flame or a new flame, this is a great way to ignite the fire within.  Just pick one flame at a time!  Life gets busy and we tend to ignore our love life more than we should.  When was the last time you bought something spicy?  All flames are precious so be kind, respectful and take care not to get burned or end up burning the one you care about.  Whatever you do, don’t burn a bridge.  Try to keep the fire burning between you in order to keep things interesting and alive!
  1. Make a Career Move: Easier said than done I know.  People tend to stay where they are because it’s safe.  Life is not safe people.  It’s about risk taking and being happy so if you have something in mind like a dream to work somewhere new or try something different, I am here to tell you that it’s possible.  Maybe you are a secretary who is very artistic and would love to paint.  Begin it.  Maybe you’ve always dreamed of working in another country?  That is a sure way to set your life on fire with culture differences and being exposed to new ways of doing your usual job.  Start exploring what’s out there and talk to people who have already taken that leap through the ring of fire.
  1. Book a Vacation: When was the last time you went somewhere fun?  Do you tend to go to the same place with the same people?  Well, it’s time to kick things up a notch.  Grab your closest friend and book that trip you’ve always wanted to do!  At one point in your life, you have to hit Disney World.  One of the craziest ways to set your life on fire is by riding the roller coasters like Aerosmith’s Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Ride.  When you hop on, it takes off like a rocket at 57 miles an hour with the songs “Walk This Way” and “Dude Looks Like a Lady” blasting in your ears from the speakers in the headrest.  If you don’t see your life flash before your eyes at that point… you must be dead.

 10. Hire A Life Coach: I know, it sounds like a sales pitch which it is and it isn’t.  So here’s the thing.  Coaching isn’t for everyone but let me ask you this; what is having your life on track worth to you?  What is the value in knowing who you are, what your hidden interests are, what excites you and what you are capable of doing?  By setting goals and creating an achievable action plan, you will be on your way to building your own fire.  Not only will you have amazing results in your life, but you will also have fun along the way!  That is definitely worth it so come on, let’s light that fire together!  Please feel free to check out my website at: couragecoach.wordpress.com or contact me at Jennifer.juneau1@gmail.com

Follow me on #Twitter @fjj_juneau or like my Facebook page #Courage Coach.  See you there!

**Contact me at jennifer.juneau1@gmail.com