A year ago, I came across a really cool website called Future Me through which you can write a letter to the self that you will be sometime in a turn of a calendar page. I chose to pen one for the me I would be a year down the road in the hope that I would see come to pass what I was intending.
The experience was not so different from what I have done for the previous decades since I was 22 year old. It was inspired by a photo of me that was taken by a friend after returning from a 10 day Outward Bound journey via Dartmouth College. The trek took us through tranquil and treacherous territory, at one point had us traversing a narrow pass, and swinging ourselves around a sturdy (thank goodness) tree branch that over hung a ravine. Embarrassing as it is to admit, I peed my wool pants out of fear. I laugh at it now, since it was so friggin’ cold that it froze pretty quickly afterward and I was able to change them after we made camp and no one was the wiser. I returned home with frostbite on my fingers from scooping up snow with my bare hands (not advised), a sprained pinkie and ankle, bronchitis and bruises on my hips from carrying a 50 lb. pack. Since 1981, blessedly, they have all healed nicely.
One of the valuable lessons, besides ‘wear gloves’ was what I call Make A Positive Change. It was delivered by a young guide on the trip. He advised us that if things aren’t going in the direction we would like, instead of bitching, moaning and complaining, we were to ‘make a positive change’. Here on the course, it meant: If your socks are wet, change them or you could lose toes. If you are cold, put on a layer of clothes. If you are hot, take off a layer of clothes. If you are hungry, eat. If you are tired, sleep. Simple as that. 40 years later, I still apply those principles on a daily basis. My toes are still attached to my currently bare feet, I am eating breakfast now. I may take a nap later, since world worry weariness kept me awake throughout the night. I am dressed in a tank top that I got as merch from Michael Franti. He is a socially conscious singer-songwriter and world traveling performer who is all about the hugs and all about the love. His fans are called Soul Rockers and rock our souls, we do.
The photo below, gazing at an Outward Bound poster, perfectly highlights the experience. The tagline was something like, “These will be the most challenging/difficult and wonderful days of your life.” Indeed they were. I will never be that young and crazy again. This observation, from a woman old enough to be her grandmother. Every once in awhile, I engage in musings called What I Wish I Knew When I Was You. They always fall into the category of being true to myself rather than a chameleon who adapted to fit others’ wishes for me. I wish it hadn’t taken me all this time to become my authentic self.
It occurred to me a few days ago, that in November, my husband will have been dead for 23 years, nearly a quarter of a century. Holy sh*t. I am no longer the ’emotional contortionist who would bend over backward to please people,’ as he labeled me. I continue to shed my people pleasing persona. It’s not that I don’t care how others perceive me, it is that I care more about how I perceive myself. The rewards of that mindset have been infinite.
This is the letter I wrote a year ago to the me who was yet to be.
I am writing this in the midst of the pandemic. I am grateful that I am healthy as are my family and friends. I pray that by the time I receive this, it will all be behind us since a vaccine and treatment will be found. We will be socializing, hugging, and being with those we love. As a planet, we will have learned that we need each other. We will also be celebrating the election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris and the darkness that was the Trump presidency will be replaced by the light of hope and cooperation. The planet will heal itself. Peace and social justice will prevail. In my personal life, I will be financially abundant with more than enough money to pay my bills, save, donate, and spend as I see fit. I will have a loving partner with whom I share my life. Our family will be celebrating Dean’s first birthday with joy!
I am grateful for all the miracles.
I wish that all of what I had written had come true. We are not out of the woods yet. Yes, there is a vaccine to help ameliorate the impact of the more deadly version of the disease, but there are still far too many who are reluctant or outright refuse to get it. Yes, there is more socializing and hugging going on in my life, with family and friends who have been adhering to COVID protocol. That nourishment was sadly lacking 12 months ago. Closer relationships have developed and a deeper appreciation of those who share my world. The election outcome was what I fervently hoped but brought with it ensuing chaos perpetrated by the former president and those whose intention was the polar opposite of mine. We have seen signs of healing of the planet as well as devastating acceleration of environmental crises. On the personal front, I have increased my income with my full time job, consulting and writing gigs and as promised, did all of those things with the money. At this point, I am still a solo act and content with that. If someone shows up who can enhance my life and I, theirs, then that status will change. Open to Divine Timing. AND absolutely, we celebrated my adorable grandbaby’s one year on the planet with a small, intimate family gathering in January and then a larger outdoor, vaxxed birthday shindig in July.
I will soon be writing the letter to the me who will be turning 63 in October and seed planting for the coming 365 days. May it be a glorious celebration.
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Photo courtesy fo the author