If you’re anything like me, the COVID pandemic has caused my family to be more homebound than normal. While this new normal has presented many challenges (read: sharing space with your 4-year-old, newborn and work-from-home husband every. single. day. is exhausting!), it’s also forced me to pause. For my own mental sanity, I’ve been making a more conscious effort to take some quiet time to myself, where I’ll try to meditate, journal, or just bask in silence. Often, I find myself reflecting on the progress, transitions, ups, downs, and growth I’ve done in my 32 years on this earth. Some thoughts are more light-hearted, some get more existential. Regardless, I thought I should share in case some of them resonate with you as well:
- It’s never too early to adopt a skincare routine. I’m often haunted by all the nights in my teens and twenties where` I’d wear a full face of makeup and NEVER washed it off before bed. As trivial as it may sound, I always make it a priority to wash my face (even if I haven’t put on makeup, because let’s be real… makeup is a thing of the past for me in these COVID times!) and moisturize in the AM and PM! Oh, and for the love of god… wear sunscreen!
- You’re never too old to try something new. In my junior year of college, I had a breakthrough and realized I wanted to change my major. This was scary AF because I just spent three years imagining my post-college life a certain way. And, if you’re like me, changing plans last minute is super chaotic and I do not do well with chaos. But, you know what? It all worked out. To be honest, none of the jobs I’ve had have had much to do with my college degree. Similarly, if you’re in a stable, “good” career, it’s ok to leave it and pursue something else. For example, right after college, I got a job in banking. I was there for four years, but the last year or two was a struggle. I always had a serious case of the Sunday scaries that made me feel miserable. Rather than enjoy my weekends, I always had a looming sense of anxiety about having to go back to work. It took way too long to muster up the courage, but finally, I decided to quit and spend my summer as an unpaid urban farm apprentice. That summer was so transformative for me and connected me with people and organizations I would later be employed by. Until then, I had no idea you could have a job that ignited the fire and passion you have inside.
- You will survive that broken heart. Remember that one break up where you thought your world was ending? The one where you obsessed over every detail and wondered what you could have done differently? Listen up: You. Are. Still. Worthy. Of. Love. and You. Are. Enough! It is not a good look if you keep reaching out, asking questions, stalking their social media, etc. Get the closure you need, then move on and don’t look back. And, if it’s too hard or tempting, definitely give your phone to a trusted friend if you have a girls night where drinking is involved.
- The power of community is undeniable. I’m an introvert who is often controlled by social anxiety. Yes, I love a good dinner out (siiiiigh, remember going out to eat? Darn you, COVID.) with my girlfriends. But, making new friends is not a strong suit of mine. It wasn’t until having my first kid four years ago that I realized I needed to branch out of my comfort zone and meet new people. Expanding my network has helped me navigate some of the lowest lows of my life. It can be super scary to put yourself out there, but once I stopped making excuses (“These moms aren’t like me… they wear actual clothes for preschool drop off. They’ll think I’m lazy because I’m in leggings and have clearly not showered.” “I can’t possibly ask her for help on this work project, she’ll think I’m stupid!” “Those moms on the bench talking know each other already and won’t want to add me to their friend group.”) I was able to build up my network. A bigger community means more support. And more support is always a good thing.
- It’s ok to ask for help. I am the queen of gaslighting myself. I try to convince myself that my problems are not that big of a deal, that I’m overreacting, or that whatever’s bothering me will resolve itself if I just suppress it enough. And while that might work in the short-term, it’s definitely not a permanent fix. Finding a therapist two years ago was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I’m open and honest with my kids about my appointments to help normalize therapy within my family. There is absolutely nothing wrong with needing extra help and support.
What are some things you wish you could tell your younger self? Comment below with your advice.