Do you remember the last time you wrote your “younger self” advice? The last time that I did it, it was to my sixteen year old self, reminding myself to keep wearing sunscreen. As I look back and start to write a letter to my 41 year old self… she is saying goodbye to 2019, returning from an early January “girls trip” to Nashville, only to slip and fall on a street corner after a yoga class, and break her ankle, starting 2020 off on a bad note. Not her first rodeo with a broken bone or her ankle, she was religious about taking care of it, and broke free from her cast and her couch in late February, just in time to join a friend in Salt Lake City for the Roots Tech Conference.
As the conference rolled out, so did COVID. Suddenly there was hand-sanitizer on every table inside the Salt Palace, and my 41 year old self, felt “safer” at the back of classrooms, as she navigated the week through a crowd of thousands. Her biggest concern was how swollen her ankle was going to be at the end of the day. She didn’t really comprehend what was going on in the world, and after the conference continued on to California, for a round of business meetings and to visit family. On her drive back to the mid-west, she realized that she hadn’t shopped since before her ankle was broken, and that there was only two rolls of toilet paper at her house.
She stopped at every Costco, Walmart, gas station, and grocery store along the way. Picking up a couple rolls here and there. On a whim she grabbed a pack of gloves, some cleaning supplies, chocolate. The words “who knows” and “why not” rang in her brain. By the time she walked in her front door on March 8th, the world had started to change.
So what would I tell myself a year ago? Here goes:
Make space, both “physical” space and time right away. You are really looking forward to getting back to yoga, walking, hiking, and working out after breaking your ankle, You’ll find yourself in the middle of your living room doing a virtual class, looking across the room to the kitchen and seeing dishes that need to be done, and get distracted. So go ahead, tear that guest room apart, and make space in your home that you can immerse yourself in yoga, meditation, and reflection without distraction.
You are going to lose someone that you love. This loss will be one of the hardest losses of your life, but your extended family will get through it together. Nobody will understand, because at the time you experience this loss, not enough people will have experienced it. You will feel helpless. Others will try and diminish or categorize the loss, in order to make themselves feel better about their own agendas. Continue to wrap your loved ones up in your arms virtually, take the time to cry, laugh and smile.
You are going to be more productive than you have been in your entire life. For the first time in a long time, you won’t be going many places, so make those commitments for professional and personal development, set those goals, and sign up for the classes. Don’t be afraid of being successful, hitting your goals, or dreaming to big. You have the time, so go for it.
You are going to work harder than you ever have. Your clients are going to need you around the clock, you are going to turn into superwoman, but if you don’t set boundaries, and ensure to take care of yourself, you are going to burn out. Start your day without distraction, and end it without distraction. Disable app notifications. Get rid of the distractions.
Read. You are going to get to the end of the year, and be insanely jealous of everyone that somehow read 50 books in the past year. Take some joy in picking out books, buy the ones that your great-grandmother loved, pick the popular ones, the “cancelled” ones, and the unpopular ones. Stick with your philosophy of reading books written by anyone, with any beliefs, as part of shaping your mind and growth, comes from listening to everyone.
You are finally going make Klijner. You know that recipe that came from Denmark with your Great-Grandmother that has been sitting in a box forever? Yes, it’s coming out of the box, and you are going to get it right on the first go-round. Despite everything everyone told you about how they have to look, you will learn, that it’s all about how they taste.
You are going to go camping, alot. You will immediately get judged by those that don’t think you have ever camped or know how to camp, and truly believe that you love sleeping in a four star hotel instead of on the ground. You will dust off those outdoor skills and spend time doing the things you love, so pull that tent out of the garage block those that are judging you out and enjoy.