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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Project Self: Self-Discovery

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“And you? When will you begin that long journey into yourself?”  ~Rumi

Just when you thought you were drowning, you were actually learning how to swim.  Just when you thought you were falling, you were actually learning how to fly.  Just when you thought something was ending, something new was beginning.

Sometimes in the midst of struggle and challenge is when you see what you are made of, how you survive and where the greatest lessons of all are found.  When you are in the moment it can be pretty darn hard to see it this way, but speaking from experience, I know this to be true.

What does self-discovery mean to you?

In my own life, I’ve come to define self-discovery as many things but it all starts with taking the time for YOU.  Such as going on a journey within, by yourself and for yourself.  Becoming aware of your character and true potential, your wants, and needs, likes and dislikes.  Knowing your values, setting boundaries and what you can tolerate in different life situations.  Accepting everything about who you truly are, especially the imperfections.  It’s about ownership of where you went wrong, learning life lessons, forgiveness of others and especially of yourself.  It’s about finding your purpose; we all have one.  In a way, self-discovery is also self-awareness.

When you know yourself, you are empowered.  When you accept yourself, you are invincible.

The opposite of self-discovery is denial.  Denying who you are to others and to yourself.

Many don’t know who they are or what they want, but somehow give unsolicited advice to others on how to live their lives or they tell lies.  Unfortunately, this never ends well.

The photo above in this blog describes self-discovery so well.  Sometimes we need to let go and peel away the layers that no longer serve us to get down to the good stuff of who we really are, who we were meant to be.  If we want others to know who we are, we need to know ourselves first.  How can we expect others to figure us out when we haven’t even tried to do that with ourselves?  So how do we do it?

I’m not an expert, but one way I did it was through writing and journaling.  To be able to do this, you need to be on your own without any distractions.  Another way I went on my self-discovery journey was through solo travel.  When you are traveling on your own, you depend on yourself 100% and you quickly find out how to trust your instincts and who you are.  Thirdly, there is an amazing questionnaire designed by Patrick Betdavid that you can download and fill out on your own one quiet Sunday afternoon in your happy place.  It might be at the beach, the cottage, or wherever you feel most comfortable.  Be honest as you do this because that’s the right answer.  Yes, it takes time but that’s what it takes.  You’ll come out of it a new and improved person and how awesome is that?

When you decide to go on the journey of self-discovery, the benefits are positively endless and amazing, such as bringing more happiness, fulfillment, freedom, and opportunities into your life.  It can be a bumpy road but it’s definitely a road worth exploring simply because you’re worth it!

This is the purpose of the Project-Self blogs, like this one, Self-Betrayal, and Self-Care.  To raise awareness in ourselves because everything starts and ends with US!  It’s easy to blame others but that only keeps people stuck.  If we want to evolve in life, then we need to take responsibility for ourselves in what we say and do.

Let’s be kind to ourselves, stop beating ourselves up…we are enough.

I invite you on your own journey of self-discovery…happy travels 🙂

 

Much Love ❤

Jen
xo

**Copies of “Winning While Losing:  The Upside of Heartbreak” are available at online bookstores worldwide and at the FriesenPress Bookstore.

All my gratitude to you ❤

 

 

 

 

Practicing Self-Care…Like A Rockstar

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Lately, I’ve been thinking about how I can practice more self-care while I continue to heal and learn from my divorce.   I don’t know about you, but when you find yourself on your own, the only person who can take care of you is you.  Self-care is not an option, a luxury, or some “woo-woo” thing.  It’s the real deal and necessary if you want to survive.  Self-care is for everyone who is living, breathing, and has a pulse; so yes, that means you.

It doesn’t mean spending a lot of money but instead, it’s about paying attention to your needs and what makes you feel good by putting yourself first.  This is not a selfish act, because if you plan on taking care of others such as your kids or loved ones, you need to take care of yourself first because it’s just like the oxygen mask theory on the plane.  When you have what you need, you have something to give.  Just as you recharge your iPhone, you need to recharge your life.

Take a time out for yourself.

Let go of the “disease to please” others.  Sometimes you need a wall, not a door or a bridge.  We need to get comfortable with disappointing others for our own health and well-being, knowing and expressing what works and doesn’t work for us. That’s self-respect and possibly another blog.

This blog a collective group effort to share thoughts, ideas, and ways that other people practice self-care so we can all learn from one another.  The response has been outstanding and fun by amazing men and women in all walks of life.  It’s an honor to write this blog, no names are mentioned except one who offered and is happy to do so.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who participated and contributed, I am eternally grateful and inspired!

So grab a snack, drink, and blanket, and curl up somewhere comfy because this blog will give you something to ponder for awhile.  Let’s see what these rockstars said in their own words about what self-care means to them!!

“Self-care for me is this very struggle I have at 7:28 am right now. How it takes me to scroll through social media to leave the bed and get going for the day. Somedays are like that. Somedays, it’s easier. I decide to wake up go for a run, shower, cook my breakfast and work is set in motion. Self-care is unfollowing that particular person who no longer provides any constructive drama to my life, who may be negative in a way. Self-care would be not always obliging to everyone’s notions and once in a while say fuck it and do what I need to do. Self-care would be sleeping until I am tired of sleeping, watching Netflix until the series gets over, giving in to 2 am burger cravings. Sometimes it’s heart over mind, sometimes mind over heart. Whatever helps me get through the day, frowning or laughing”

“I believe in taking days off every now and then to recharge and reset. If you do a repetitive job you have a greater chance of burnout. A three-day weekend can help”

“Making myself important”

“Taking a nice walk, with or without my little dog”

“The healing power of listening, making, and moving to music…3 part series”

“For me, self-care is all the little things we do on a daily basis to take care of us, the body, mind, and soul. As simple as brushing our teeth, taking a shower, drinking water, eating the right food and having a laugh”

“Self-care to me is when I purposefully check out mentally, remove all of the «titles» that define me on a daily basis (mom, wife, manager, sister, daughter, etc.) and do something that will make ME happy in that specific moment. It is when I am just me, in my essence, and listen to my needs”

“Being at one with nature. Walking the dog, biking, paddleboarding, just about anything outside that doesn’t include a phone or computer”

“By going to LIME”

“Going to read at the British café, drinking tea, going for walks and doing home spa nights. All things I do alone”

“Working a four day week, exercise, taking walks, eating well! I think we do a better job as we get older and come to terms with what things we should embrace and those to avoid. Also having school-aged children frees up some time I didn’t have before!”

“Long baths. Playing with my dog. Singing at the top of my lungs and dancing around the house”

“Surrounding myself with positive supportive people and monthly massage!”

“Reading an inspirational book by a certain local author:)”

“Love to sing at the top of my lungs in my car when alone. Lying in bed doing some breathing exercises. Play with my doggy”

“I do three things…..Xbox (fabulous escape from reality), needle felt and walk”

“Self-care for me is body, mind, and soul. Meditation is my biggest self-care go to! I am a certified crystal and energy healer so I tend to work with Crystal’s a lot”

“Hot tub + wine + a good book, gardening, walking my dog, long phone calls with my mom, and anything that gets me laughing. Oh! And kayaking!”

“Yoga, dragon boat, weight training, massages, pedicures”

“While I try to actually do something that sounds more cool or effortful, sometimes my self-care is simply snuggling up to watch a few episodes of my tv shows with a drink in-hand –> without the risk of being disturbed. I never skip that one”

“Learning new dance styles ( Right now learning Kizomba ) to exercise the brain. I go for an acupuncture session and a massage once a month. I try to make better choices for my diet as I am getting older. All of this is important to my self-care!”

“Some days it’s simply eating nourishing food and getting 8 hours of sleep. If I’m particularly stressed it involves things like yoga, meditation, deep breathing. Self-care means whatever I need at that moment to support my mind, body, and soul”

“Naps. Beach. Boundaries (in all areas of my life). Positive Affirmations. Netflix and chill”

“I’m really bad at it. But getting better. I have started running with a group of ladies who have never run before. Its great all starting at the begging together. Plus there is the talking afterward. I also do Zumba. My personal favorite though is I invite friends over once the kids are in bed and drink wine and chat. I am a social butterfly. If I don’t talk I go crazy!”

“Self-care for me is doing more things that I want to do, things that interest me, inspire me. Its also being more aware of my inner critical voice so that I am kinder to myself”

“Time for yoga and meditation rewires the brain and produces dopamine naturally – the feel-good hormone”

“Self-care for me is taking the time to meditate, spend time in nature or have a salt bath”

“I say “no”… a lot. I have learned that knowing my limits, and not over-committing is the best thing I can do for me. Also, massage & chiro. If my body isn’t functioning, it makes everything more difficult physically, emotionally and mentally”

“To me self-care is … Tuning out the “noise” and tuning into my divinity and creativity through meditative practice. This has many forms, including meditation, being in nature, yoga, and art”

“Combination of Reiki, nature, coffee shop chats and doing something creative”

“Mindfulness taught by the heart institute, a hot coffee, good book quiet time in my crappy garden, jack pine trail to feed the chickadees, and biggest (and toughest of all) saying no. Just no.”

“Participating in spiritual development through meditation, prayer, volunteering, being in nature, practicing yoga etc”

“Kickboxing, BJJ, tea and a good book”

“Yoga, pick up soccer and receiving craniosacral therapy!”

“Yoga once a week, biking a few times a week, reading, going for a daily walk and having a personal training”

“I run. It’s moving meditation for me”

“So happy you asked this. I need to do more of this. I go for a walk near the river or walk my dog”

“Volunteering. Putting others needs ahead of my own helps to center me”

“Giving attention and love to womb. Connecting to sexual energy and vitalizing body with tantric breathing techniques”

“So many things! I absolutely love what I do for a living, I work out 5 days a week, I meet up with people I adore for lunch often, I spend time with my teens, I volunteer my time and donate back into organizations I believe in, I do things that make me feel good! I feel very lucky to be at the place I am today!”

“Yoga, Saltastic, and sleep”

“Sunscreen – for my future self”

“Read. Garden. Lunch with Friends”

“ I do things that make me happy. Take time for exercise, go to the spa, indulge in my favorite food, sleep, take time for me, spend time with friends, spend time with my dog, cry (releases feel-good hormones and actually makes you feel better!). Basically, I do me”

“5 min facial & 10 min pedicure at home. Perfect for the busy momma’s”

“Hula hooping to my favorite tunes!  As a busy mama & entrepreneur, I love knowing that I can easily grab my hoop any time. Even as little as 5 min in my hoop can completely shift my energy & my headspace. It takes me out of my head, raises my vibrations, releases tension, relaxes muscles, lifts my heart… I feel like a new woman after being in my flow for a bit!”

“ I bought an infrared sauna for my house, why – because I’m worth it to have time to recharge myself through reading or music, or just enjoying the sweat”

“Taking quiet time to connect with my heart – last night that meant sitting in my little urban garden with chai tea taking in the scents of the flowers and the lush beauty of all things green”

“Gardening. Short story..Once upon a time, I told my children gardening was soothing to my soul. They were both very young, grade 1 or grade 2. One morning I was driving them to school, backed out of the driveway, and just stopped in front of the house and said to them “oh look at the garden”.  My daughter, who is 4 years younger than her older brother, said “What’s the big deal about the garden mom?”, and my son turned to her, and said: “Emerald, you know it is soothing to her soul”  Heart melt.”

“Daily morning meditation, practice and teach yoga, writing, listening and chanting my favorite mantras”

“Face masks, saying no and journaling”

“Morning run and exercise, good nutrition, regular sex, meeting with friends, weekly massage and acupuncture, Epsom salt baths. I live with chronic anxiety and depression. I’m am very aware of this and self-heal. I thank the people around me for keeping my mental health in check”

“I bake and share the reapings of it. I read my Bible and pray. I take my meds. I have friends”

“By taking one hour for myself when I wake up to follow this routine: 10 minutes of meditation; 10 minutes of reading; 10 minutes of visualization; 10 minutes of reciting positive affirmations; 10 minutes of exercise; and ten minutes of journaling. To me, self-care is about always meeting yourself at the level of consciousness at which you want other people to meet you.  It’s about not being afraid to set boundaries with others and treating yourself like a queen”

“I am now addicted to taking time for myself when I wake up. No one can rush me and my family knows and respects my Queendom”

“I find time to relax and treat myself – foot/hand spa with shellac pedicure/ manicure, bubble bath in bathtub with relaxing music, eat my favourite food, relax watch movies at home eating ice cream, popcorn and others while watching with your loved ones then take a nap Wow, nice life without any kids with me just me and my darling”

“I’ve learned to enjoy the little things each day. Like for instance I’m currently exhausted and have a ton of house/pets/business work to do today but I’m laying down writing this while my pet bird is semi-sleeping beside me giving me kisses. I prioritize sleep and I make sure every day I am contributing to some hobby of mine I enjoy to do like crafting, painting, hiking, knitting, writing”

“Swimming laps or calling a friend”

“Sipping wine in my high heels.  It feels great and you look good too!”

“Reiki, QiGong, strength training, lots of time in nature, dancing, bodywork, prayer, journaling, blogging, self-inquiry, therapy, keeping old friends across time and space, learning from teachers that I admire, doing Shadow work, and doing work that matters to me”

“Knitting can be so relaxing”

“Investing in myself; being more self-aware of my needs and how I can reach goals with a soul and be happy on my own”

“Walking away from relationships that are a one-way street.  Nobody deserves to be disrespected.  Allow yourself to heal, take a break from dating and date yourself instead”

“Watching Super Soul Sunday makes me feel inspired every week”

“By helping others who are in need”

“Nurturing friendships, spending time with my kids doing something fun and crazy like ziplining”

“Eliminating negativity from my life for my own mental and emotional health”

“Solo travel, or travel of any sort.  It fills my soul and I need this”

“For me, it’s taking time with people that are important to me that makes me feel good”

“Knowing when it’s time to walk away from a job/relationship for your own health and well-being. Hire a life coach and make the switch. I’m worth it”

“Meditation. Yoga. Exercise. Sleep”

“Knitting, sewing, aquafit, yoga, guitar playing, painting, gardening, walking”

“Walking somewhere new in nature and taking photos of everything beautiful”

“Writing, Zumba, PiYo and Salsa Dancing”

“Playing the drums, listening to music, playing football outside with my friends”

“Listening to music, playing video games and sports, spending time with friends”

“Self-care is made of the two most basic and simple words but the implementation of it is not that simple or that basic.  I say this because no one teaches us this.  No one tells us that we have to take care of ourselves first.  We’re always asked and expected to care for others and put others before us.  This distracts us from the fact that we gotta take care of ourselves first to take care of others.  So, we learn this simple thing the hard way and the tough way, by seeing ourselves injured and hurt mentally over and over again, till it struck us.  And then once we know this simple rule of self-care, we become a matured and wise person with each passing day.  We take decisions with confidence and are ready to face difficulties and tell NO when we don’t feel like saying YES for the sake of others. This is the change in our thinking and this is the change which we as a society needs; to make everyone feel at home with themselves.”  ~Darshith Badiyani, Bangalore, India, age 27

After reading so many loving thoughts and ideas, I hope you feel inspired to practice self-care…like a rockstar.  It just goes to show there are several ways of doing one thing, we just need to look within and make time for ourselves because we count too.  Many thanks again to everyone who contributed, you are all AWESOME!

Much Love and Gratitude ❤

Jen
XO

 

PS:  If you are new here and would like to follow my blog, please click the “Follow” button in the bottom right-hand corner, enter your email and every time I post, the blogs will show up in your inbox so you can read it!  Welcome aboard!

My book “Winning While Losing:  The Upside of Heartbreak” is available at online bookstores worldwide and at FriesenPress online bookstore.

~ Dare to live courageously…

 

 

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