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…

3 Days 3 Quotes Challenge-Day 2

Hello again and welcome to Day 2 of the quote challenge!!

First, I would like to thank my sweet and adorable WordPress friend Deepika Kumaaraguru from India for nominating me! If you haven’t visited her blog yet, YOU MUST!

Not only is she an amazing person who has accomplished so much in her life at such a young age, she’s a published author who has written 2 books before her 20’s, a fellow Disney fan and a lover of Zumba 😛  Her sense of humor is awesome and her comments on my blog are extremely motivating and fun to read, she cracks me up every time 😀  Deepika and I are big fans of the Ellen Show and she comes from a medical background like me too!  We have so much in common Deepika we will have a blast when we meet one day!! ❤

So here we go with day 2.  These quotes are by Alan Watts an inspiring author who has a wonderful perspective on life that I just can’t get enough of these days.

The rules are:

  1. Post three quotes each for three days
  2. Nominate three bloggers with no repetition
  3. Thank the person who nominated you

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I nominate anyone and everyone who would like to participate in this quote challenge, it’s an inspiring thing to do ❤ and it’s fun.

Much Love ❤

Jen
xo

Finding Joy

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How do you find joy in your everyday life?  What are you passionate about or what lights you up from the inside out?

For me, joy is the result of practicing daily gratitude because when you focus on what you have, it changes your perspective and creates joy from within.  Joy is what gets you through difficult times, it turns on a light when you’re in the dark, it heals wounds and can make your soul sing.  Joy is contagious and can spread like wildfire if you allow it, we’re all connected so it’s better to spread positive vibes and emotions that lead us in the right direction.

In today’s busy world, stress and anxiety are topping the charts of workplace absence and prescription medications.  It’s not overly surprising because the faster the world turns, the faster we run and when we’re running, we’re not paying attention to what’s around us.  It’s only when we slow down to catch our breath and notice the little things in the moment; that’s when we are able to find our joy.

Here are a few ways you can begin the search for joy in your everyday life.

  1. Play with children. They are innocent creatures who love to laugh and goof around
  2. Let your inner child out too. Just like the picture above, we all have that little girl or boy inside of us, waiting to get out again so get silly and let loose
  3. Learn something new such as a language, recipe, or sport
  4. Explore nature. It is the most beautiful and imperfect thing on earth
  5. Travel somewhere new and exciting. Do this solo or with someone you like
  6. Surround yourself with animals. They have the most unconditional love to share with you
  7. Be romantic. This allows you to use your creativity and can find joy in two places at once
  8. Spread random acts of kindness to strangers. The appreciation they feel will come back to you tenfold
  9. Play a musical instrument or put some music on. This is soul food and can be very healing
  10. Sing a song no matter what your voice sounds like. Remember that inner child?
  11. Read a great book or see a movie you’ve been waiting for
  12. Helping others creates huge amounts of joy from within
  13. Wake up those endorphins in your body because they will definitely make you feel better
  14. Meditate or practice mindfulness. Enjoy the silence for a change
  15. Write something, anything. Keep it private or make it public it’s your choice but keep it positive and inspiring
  16. Dance in the rain and get soaked. If this doesn’t make you feel like a kid, I don’t know what will
  17. Be like a cat and take a nap. Time to feel rejuvenated again
  18. Watch a sunrise or sunset. Not only is it live entertainment, it’s free and it’s beautiful
  19. Take a hot bath or get a massage
  20. Eat your favorite desserts like cupcakes or something with chocolate
  21. Spend quality time with friends and laugh so much it hurts

Sometimes the best way to find joy is to surrender to what is.  By surrendering, you are opening your heart and mind to the infinite possibilities of what life can offer you.  It’s not about giving up, it’s about letting go, and the benefit to letting go is finding joy.

 

Much Love ❤

Jen

 

Transformation Is A Beautiful Thing

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Inspiration can be found in many corners of our life and in the lives of others.  Life is in motion at all times and if we stop and pay attention, that’s when we notice inspiring moments, people, places, and things.  Personally, one of the greatest things I love to see is how someone can transform themselves from being in a negative state to becoming their own superhero.  It’s not about winning a popularity contest but about being the best version of yourself after struggling with something so difficult for so long and coming out of it beautifully.

When I think about transformation, I think of metaphors because what metaphors can do is open our mind to a new perspective and deeper understanding of the potential transformation.  It’s like a window or a doorway we can move through and find ways to relate it to our situation.

‘Meta’ means over and beyond and in transformation, it is over and beyond reality.  My favorite metaphor of all is the caterpillar becoming a butterfly through the power of metamorphosis because one step over and beyond the caterpillar, the butterfly emerges.  In life when we try to step beyond a belief, behavior, fear or circumstance, a metaphor can transform a person ‘s perspective and trigger their values which allow them to step into joy in their life.

For example, a person who has a fear of public speaking may be struggling inside this cocoon for some time but wants to overcome it through transformation.  Just the mere thought of having to get up and speak to a few or many people can start the heart palpitations and make someone freeze right in their tracks because of stage fright.  This person’s main goal is to avoid public speaking and social events at all costs, mainly because they are shy.  The struggle is within their own mind and trying to silence the  negative voice.

I was speaking with a friend recently and he said not only can shyness get in the way but add a language barrier on top of everything and you’ve got yourself a fearful scenario.  I can only imagine how hard and uncomfortable that must feel to be around people you can’t connect with.  He gave an example where his workplace required them to do impromptu group speeches in front of everyone and his first instinct was to run and hide but since he wanted to transform his fear into something more comfortable, he remembered the first lesson from the book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey.

Be Proactive.

In this lesson, Covey talks about taking responsibility for your own life and stresses the importance of focusing your time and energy on the things you have control over in life.  In a matter of minutes, my friend took this lesson and applied it to his own life right before facing one of the most fearful things; public speaking.  He changed his self-talk from negative to positive saying “Don’t freeze, focus on the audience instead of your own awkwardness, think of how you would want to see a speaker, put yourself in the shoes of the audience and see yourself from their perspective so you can transform your fear into something you love.  Imagine yourself being courageous even if you think you aren’t.  Be yourself, no stress or pressure, you are surrounded by friends.  Learn to laugh at yourself, life is too serious, be imperfect so people can connect, enjoy yourself and live outside your comfort zone.”

He stood up and managed to convince himself of everything he said and faced his fear by talking about his imperfections by making jokes with the audience.  People were laughing with him, and it gave a soaring boost to his self-confidence which made him continue even more.  He felt both shocked and happy with himself that day because it was a life changing moment, a real transformation where he struggled so long with negative self-talk but in the end after all that hard work, he emerged beautifully like a butterfly.  What a perfect example of going over and beyond his reality and honoring the value of courage.

More times than not, we struggle in our minds and hearts about who we are and about how we want other people to see us. We wrestle with worthiness and shame all at the same time when really we all belong together and we are more similar than we are different.

When I asked him how he felt about that day he said “It changed my outlook towards socializing, facing fears, being vulnerable, handling pressure situations and making friends in general.  And every victory I have had since that day, I attribute to this one act of mine where I overcame myself.  And, needless to say, making friends has been not as difficult as I feared since that day.  I survived.”

Bravo my friend for daring to live courageously, keep rockin’ the shark fin 😉

Transformation is a beautiful thing.

“How does one become a butterfly?  You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar.”  ~Trina Paulus

 

Much Love ❤
Jen

Quotes (A to Z Challenge)

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For those who know me well, I am a quote fanatic!  The beauty of quotes is they give a powerful message with minimal words and they make you think or even change your perspective.  This can be very helpful if you are going through a tough time because by reading something related to your situation, it can create possibilities instead of keeping you stuck where you don’t want to be.  It’s all about inspiration and motivation 🙂

I have a quote section on my website if you haven’t visited it yet and today I will share some personal new favorites with you.

 

“The cure for pain is in the pain” ~ Rumi

“Sometimes the bravest and most important thing you can do is show up” ~Brené Brown

“Begin to live as though your prayers have already been answered” ~Tony Robbins

“If you don’t have a vision you’re going to be stuck in what you know.  And the only thing you know is what you’ve already seen” ~Iyanla Vanzant

“Success means we go to sleep at night knowing that our talents and abilities were used in a way that served others” ~Marianne Williamson

“The entire physical world is nothing more than our classroom and the challenge is for us to decide whether to make that choice that enhance our spirit or drain our power” ~Caroline Myss

“See the light in others and treat them as if that’s all you see” ~Dr. Wayne Dyer

“Hide your craziness behind a beautiful smile” ~Paulo Coelho

“Emotional freedom comes from loving the parts of you that feel unlovable” ~Cheryl Richardson

“The way that other people judge me is none of my business” ~Martha Beck

“Life really does begin at forty.  Up until then, you are just doing research” ~Carl Jung

“You cannot find your soul with your mind, you must use your heart” ~Gary Zukav

“Life is short, break the rules, forgive quickly, kiss SLOWLY, love truly, laugh uncontrollably, and never regret ANYTHING that makes you smile” ~ Mark Twain

 

I hope these quotes fill your heart and soul with love the same way they do for me ❤

Have a wonderful day 🙂

 

Much Love ❤

Jen
xo

 

 

 

 

Positive Ripple Effect

ripple_effect2   Hello to all my friends and followers!  I hope you are enjoying your summer and making time for friends, family and the things you love.

I decided to share a few of my favourite quotes and sayings I came across in the last little while that help inspire me and carry on.  I have to admit, I am a big lover of quotes and sayings because of the impact they have on opening the mind to a fresh, new perspective with greater meaning and they only contain a few words in a phrase or two.  It just goes to show that even a little stone thrown into the water can create a ripple effect extending out to others.  Therefore it is highly important to keep your words and actions positive because they not only affect one person but everyone around them.  Sometimes a good quote is just what you need to stitch the tears in your heart back together again.  See which ones speak to you…

“Some changes look negative on the surface but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge.”  ~ Eckhart Tolle

“Everything is just as it needs to be.  And if we would forgive, our minds and hearts would open and we could see another possibility.”  ~ Iyanla Vanzant

“Make peace your ultimate goal when you want something.  If you get what you want, that’s great.  If you don’t get what you want, you are still peaceful.  This will prevent emotional self-destruction.”  ~ Marianne Williamson

“The longest journey you will make in your life is from your head to your heart.”  ~ Gary Zukav

“The root of suffering is attachment.”  ~ Buddha

“To be successful means you have to live your own dream, not somebody else’s dream.”  ~ Arianna Huffington

“The art of being helpful is behaving as if everything we do matters-because we never know which things might.”  ~ Gloria Steinham

“People are like stained glass windows.  They sparkle and shine when the sun is out but when the darkness sets in, their beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.”  ~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

“When you awaken love and laughter in your life, your mind let’s go of fear and anxiety and your happy spirit becomes the healing balm that transforms every aspect of your human experience.”  ~ Jesse Dylan

“One of the essential tasks for living a wise life is letting go.  Letting go is the path to freedom.  It is only by letting go of the hopes, the fears, the pain, the past, the stories that have a hold on us that we can quiet our mind and open our heart.”  ~ Jack Kornfield

“Look for the answer inside your question.”  ~ Rumi

“When you hold on to your history, you do it at the expense of your destiny.”  ~ Bishop T.D. Jakes

“There is also something deeply lovely about uncertainty:  the possibility of optimism.”  ~ Joan Wickersham

“Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words.  Keep your words positive because your words become your behaviour.  Keep your behaviour positive because your behaviour becomes your habits.  Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values.  Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.”  ~ Mahatma Gandhi

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”  ~ Maya Angelou

I hope one of these great quotes creates a positive ripple effect in your life so that you can pass it on to someone else.  Always move forward.   See you in August!

~ Jennifer Juneau

ADOPTING AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE

100_2346 (3)  October is upon us and in Canada, Thanksgiving is just around the corner which means the maple leaves are changing colour and putting on an amazing show!  The weather is surprisingly warm right now and dare I say it, we haven’t seen rain for days.  People seem happier when it’s warm and sunny outside.  We have so much to be grateful for here!  Since Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful, what a great opportunity to write about gratitude.

Adopting an attitude of gratitude is a wonderful way to immediately increase your level of happiness.  It’s something we can all do to lift our spirits instead of depending on other people or things to do it for us.  It’s not easy being grateful all the time, but I’ve come to realize that when you feel least thankful, that is when gratitude can give you the best gift which is perspective.  When you learn to say thank you, you have the ability to see the world in a whole new light.  It doesn’t have to be big, it can even be the man who served you coffee at your favourite coffee shop gave you a free cookie or maybe it was a sunny day and you were able to enjoy some of it outside.  Even on the days when it has clearly been a bad day, being grateful for one thing like the fact you were able to eat or that you are alive, counts just as much as the rest.  It’s easy to be grateful for the big stuff that happens once in a while, but every single day is giving us something to pay attention to and that is what I am writing about today.  If you look hard enough or reflect on your day to find something that you can be grateful for, your attitude will improve and you will feel less stressed.  One way to keep track of this is by keeping a gratitude journal.  Just knowing that you have something positive to write about in your journal allows you to look at your day differently, maybe with more forgiveness and patience. This way on each day, you can write down whatever you feel grateful for, it doesn’t have to be long, just make the day count for something good that crossed your path.  The beauty of this is that it creates a history of all the real life events that happened in your own life.  If you are ever feeling down or blue, your journal is an instant pick me up because it is a reminder of all the positive things that are out there and they are yours to re live. If more people could re frame their lives in the positive, imagine what a satisfied society we would all be living in?  This doesn’t mean put on your rose coloured glasses and step outside, it simply means slow down, look closely and pay attention to all the good that’s around us because it’s there.  It’s like Maya Angelou says, “even the caged bird sings” and you can too.  Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!     -JJ