I was looking at the year from its beginning on New Year’s Eve 2008/2009 when I had an epiphany moment that changed the course of my life forever to New Year’s Even 2009/2010 on which I found myself in New York City with my best friend doing, thinking and feeling things that I wouldn’t even have imagined I’d be able to do, think or feel just one year before.
Likely, next year at this very time, I will also look back and think “Wow, look where you were then and look at what is now.” You will, too.
If, knowing what I now know, I could have had a heart-to-heart with my 2009 Self, I’d have lots to tell her.
Dear 2009 Allison,
Your capacity for amazingness – for love, for victory, for pure joy – is infinite. The world is with you and for you. While you used to think there was a limit to how many good things and people you can have, I can tell you without hesitation that there is no limit. (Conversely, if you see the world as against you and with limitations not in your favor, this is what you will experience in return. Guaranteed!) Remember you were so scared that 2010 could never live up to the greatness of 2009? Yea, well you blew that theory out of the water.
You are fundamentally alone. Whether you are in a massive crowd in Vegas or at a Counting Crows concert or sitting in Starbucks with your best friend. Whether you are single or in a loving and committed relationship with the love of your life. Whether your kids are on top of you or in another country on vacation with their Dad, you (like every other human on this planet) are alone. There is but one person you are guaranteed to be with for life. Only. One. Don’t lose her along the way. Love that person, treasure her, treat her like gold (or whatever precious metal you prefer), put her at the top of your list.
There isn’t an answer to everything, Ms. Smarty-Pants. You don’t always need to figure everything out. Sometimes – many times — feeling and flowing are perfectly acceptable ways to go through life, too. Stop spending time trying to figure out what you might have done to deserve the goodness of great love or amazing friends or a safe, peaceful home. On the same hand, don’t pay mind to why someone disrespected you or treated you like crap. They have their own issues and their own life to live. Live yours and accept that you aren’t all-knowing about everyone and everything.
You are powerful but you aren’t in control. You have amazing power. Lots of it, and it can be used in all sorts of ways. But you control very little beyond your own reactions and thoughts. And what’s more, not much would fall into disarray if you stopped trying to control. Aside from your dog and your kids, your sphere of influence isn’t, in the words of your Bubby, so hotsy-totsy. Focus on what you can do and do it well. Stop filling your head and time with other “stuff” over which you have no say or influence. The world functioned before you came to it, and will continue to do so until some much greater force (along the lines of a giant meteor) tears it to bits.
First things first, not first things fourth or fifth. Feed yourself and your inner circle first. Do what matters first. Too many times you’ve let the most important people and goals fall to the wayside, and arrived at them too tired or stressed or spent to pay them the attention they deserve. And that is the exact opposite of how you should be approaching those people and things (including yourself) that matter most. You don’t have to answer every text, tweet, voicemail or request. You don’t have to be friends with everyone. The “delete” button works for “friends,” clients, work, shoulds and to-dos that do not work for you anymore. Use it! (And in the words of the great Anne Lamott: “No is a complete sentence.”) Your kids, your family, your best friend, your boyfriend, your Great Work – this is what matters most.
Stop trying to be so damn nice. Nice is a bullshit excuse. First of all, you are already nice without trying. Second, trying to be nice all the time becomes a full-time job and a full-time job means you don’t have time for most anything else. People won’t like you sometimes, and that’s ok. The more you speak your truth, the more some people will turn away. Not everyone wants to or is ready to hear it or face theirs. They may not like the changes they perceive in you. And that is not your problem. Meanwhile, the more this happens, the more those who DO resonate with what you have to say will start to show up. And they won’t expect that Splenda-sweet nice chick in your place. They expect you. The real you.
And, finally, the more you do and live all of the above, the more weird and awesome you will feel and your life will seem. You will feel scared a lot. You will feel naked, and not in a sexy Playboy kind of way. You will also act despite your fear…a lot. You got it goin’ on, Girl, and you don’t need to hide or deny it.
Oh, and one more thing, I love you. I really do.
Your turn: What would You of Today tell You of One Year Ago Today?