Give Yourself Some Sound Advice

I get very reminiscent in the fall. Do you ever look back at the person You Were at some point in the past and think of what you might tell that person now?  From Who You Are today, what would you tell the You of 10 years ago?

Ten years ago, I was starting my second year of graduate school. I thought life was something to be taken very, very seriously. I was an adult and I was on my own in a very real way for the first time. And I was doing serious things that required serious amounts of discipline, responsibility, and focus.

Ugh. Just thinking of that time makes my body tense.

I believed—without a doubt—that the number of academic publications I had would impact the course of my life. I let my PhD advisor’s opinion of me matter more than my own opinion of me.

I compared myself to my friends who didn’t go to grad school—they had real jobs and real apartments and real lives, I thought. I worried that I was 23 and was still only attracted to men who were unavailable or uninterested. That couldn’t bode well for my future relationships.

I constructed a lot of rules for myself, thinking that’s what it took to succeed. I was just doing what I thought would make me happiest but life wasn’t nearly as joyful as it could’ve been. And it definitely wasn’t lived in the present. As a matter of fact, my life then was kind of lived for today, 10 years down the road. Interesting…

From Who I Am today, what would I tell that woman of 10 years ago? I’d love to have a long talk with her, but here are a few of the first things that come to mind:

  • RELAX. You can’t do it wrong, really. What you see as failure is not. What you see as success isn’t, either.
  • Outside of this small little world you’re in, no one knows your advisor. Or how many publications he has. And no one will care what he thought of you.
  • Stop preparing and live now. You’re already “there”.
  • Get out of your head. Set aside your beliefs and listen to your body.
  • Sit with the discomfort and learn from it. Do what feels good and let your emotions be your guide.
  • You rock, by the way. You’re doing the best you know how and you’re growing so much more than you realize. Life get’s good, trust me.

Which made me think…

From 10 years into the future, what would I tell the Me I Am today?

I got quiet and went to that place that knows. And here’s what I heard:

  • The things you still worry over are all part of the journey. The patterns you keep falling into are just material to work with—ways that you get to keep growing and help other people along the way. They’re a perfect part of the design. Try to be more okay with them.
  • Enjoy life. Indulge. Be in the moment. Notice how delicious it is.
  • Keep your values front-of-mind. Be with your baby, do even more of what you love. Always let your values guide your actions.
  • Enjoy this time of creation. Stop preparing and live now. You’re already “there”.
  • Get out of your head. Set aside your beliefs and listen to your body.
  • Sit with the discomfort and learn from it. Do what feels good and let your emotions be your guide.
  • You rock, by the way. You’re doing the best you know how and you’re growing so much more than you realize. Life get’s even better, trust me.

What advice would the Current You give the Former You? What would the Future You tell the Current You? Are you listening?

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