Helllllllo 42...A Birthday Letter to Myself
I’m starting a new personal tradition. Each year, just before my birthday, I’m going to give myself the gift of a birthday letter. This is my version of celebration-meets-goal-setting. A practice in taking pause and taking inventory.
So if this is a personal letter to myself, why am I sharing it with you? Well, for a couple of reasons: first, it’s been such a wonderful year and I want to celebrate with the people I love the most. And second, it has a few lessons I’ve learned, plus there are very personal things in here (I finally open up about surgery and dating) that I haven’t shared on Sips yet. I believe much of the magic in life is in sharing your celebrations with those you love and giving voice to your goals and dreams. In short, I’m sharing this for celebration, inspiration and accountability. So here we go.
A letter to 42-year-old me from 41-year-old me:
I’m writing this on September 22, 2018. You’re a week away from turning 42. Holy cow.
Before we go wild with goal setting for your 42nd year (because we know how much you love goal setting), let’s look back at 41. You did some major stuff this year. To be honest, as you write this, you feel like you need to catch your breath and have lived five years in this one. But it’s also so fun to look back. A few of the highlights:
Fall 2017: You got strategic with your personal finances. You’ve always been relatively good with money, but you never really had much of a strategy around it. You made money. You spent money. That was it. But in 2017, everything changed when you hired Financial Gym. They helped you set your personal financial goals (surgery! puppy!) and they motivated you to let go of dead financial weight (your condo!). A year later, you are proud to say you are no longer the owner of a condo in Florida and your net worth has skyrocketed. The win: You are on your way to being extremely financially independent and you’re super proud of yourself. Life lesson: You’re good on your own, but you’re amazing with others. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and invest in yourself.
Fall 2017: You did something that was – hands down – one of the best things you’ve ever done. You got a breast reduction. You’ve wanted this for 10 years, easily. Over the past decade you didn’t do it because at first you didn’t really need it (they were beautiful, just a bit bigger than you wanted). Then you needed it, but couldn’t afford it and you refused to go into debt financing it. Then you needed it and could afford it. Bingo. Mom came to be with you and take care of you after your surgery. It was her first visit to NYC and the most time you’ve spent with her since childhood. You cried when she left. The win: You feel better than ever. A decade-long goal was accomplished and you paid for it in cash money because you got your finances in line like a boss babe. Life lesson: Don’t wait to do the things that really matter to you. If you had known how incredible you would have felt by doing this, you would have done it years and years ago. You would have done whatever you needed to do to earn the extra money. Next time you really want something – don’t wait. Figure it the f*ck out.
Spring 2018: You sold that dang condo. Ugh. That condo. You bought it when times were high and everyone was scooping up condos. You thought you were a fool if you didn’t buy. Hello homeownership. Then shortly after buying it, you met a boy and fell in love and moved. Hello landlord(ship). You then spent a decade as a landlord. Overall it was smooth sailing. You lost a little on it each month, but just sort of absorbed it as cost of living and didn’t think much about it. That was until Winter 2017 when your tenant quit paying his rent and didn’t move out. You had already set a goal with Financial Gym to sell the place by summer 2018, so this was the sign you needed. You evicted him (that was fun), put it on the market, sold it and celebrated. When most people sell a home after TWELVE years of ownership, they make some money on the sale. But not you. You broke even because the market had tanked so much that it took 12 years to get even on it. As nice as it would have been to have a payday, there was nothing you could do to control the real estate market and you just had to let it go. The win: Buh-bye condo! No more losing money each month, no more dealing with renters paying late, no more wondering if the AC unit will go kaput or the roof will need to be replaced. Life lesson: Sometimes you net zero in life and that’s okay. The payoff was letting go of the stress, anxiety and unknowns that came with owning a place you didn’t live in and didn’t want in your life.
Spring 2018: You started a podcast! Okay, so this is one of the most fun things you did this year, by far. The podcast never would have happened if it weren’t for the blog, so yay for Sips of Sunshine! The blog is still going strong and, like the blog, the podcast is so fun because it’s 100% yours and you have full creative license. The podcast has been a little source of delight. You love storytelling and there are things you just can’t get on paper the way you can speak them. Because of the blog and the podcast, you’ve shared stories and vulnerability on a new level with people you know and strangers you’ll never meet. People have reached out to you in ways you never would have experienced if it weren’t for Sips. So many connections over the past several months. You’ve even received Facebook messages from people you didn’t know even remembered you or thought about you, sharing their most vulnerable moments or stories about how you’ve impacted their lives. Whoa. The win: This has created a connection line to others – you feel meaningful and connected on a whole new level. Life lesson: Don’t be afraid to show deeper and more interesting layers of yourself to others. Your vulnerability encourages theirs.
Spring 2018: You re-hired your life coach. In 2017, you were at cruising altitude and didn’t feel like you needed her on retainer anymore, as much as you loved having her in your life. You also wanted to save the money for your breast reduction. But as you entered 2018 and saw the year ahead, you decided to work with her again. Not because you needed direction as much as you could see a big year of universal gifts flowing your way and you needed someone to help you manage the blessings and opportunities. As expected, she’s been the perfect partner to work with you as you’ve navigated 2018. The win: Magic, baby! Life Lesson: You don’t just need a partner in tough times, you need a partner to affirm, celebrate and navigate the blessings and abundance too.
Spring 2018: You gave a TEDx Talk. You manifested the shizzle out of this and it happened. April 28, 2018. You spoke to the world about breaking the cycle of inadequacy and loving the life you have as the first step to true abundance. The win: You achieved a lifelong dream and you’re helping people redefine success. Life lesson: Your limiting-beliefs are all lies; you can do anything you put your mind to. Identify your next limiting belief and go for it.
Summer 2018: You started writing a book. It’s a fiction novel about a girl living in NYC and it’s going to be a 2020 NYT Best Seller so you should start practicing your penmanship now for all those books you’re going to sign. The win: You came up with a brilliant book idea and you didn’t overthink it; you just started writing. Life lesson: You lived your entire life thinking you weren’t creative and look at you now. You can reinvent and rediscover new parts of your mind, spirit and personality every day.
Summer 2018: You prioritized self-care. In summer 2018, you took 2 weeks of your life to purely care for your body and mind. The first thing you did was spend a week at MountainTrek in the mountains of British Columbia. This is way too involved to type, but you can listen to your podcast about it. Then right after MountainTrek you booked a week at a Well & Good retreat. You spent several days in upstate New York with likeminded women meditating, journaling, dancing, laughing, practicing yoga and so much more. You dedicated this summer to wellness and it worked. You’ve never felt better. The win: You feel so good. Life lesson: Your body wants to feel good. Give it what it wants and it will reward you.
What. The. Heck? Did you read all of that?? It was overwhelming to write and what’s funny is that it didn’t feel that overwhelming to do – you just put one foot in front of the other and did each thing step by step. You definitely had moments of feeling pushed too far, extending your creativity and vulnerability muscles too much, and needing rest. And you took those moments seriously. You dedicated entire weekends to yourself, said no to plans and requests, and prioritized self-care.
You’ve really thought about what 42 looks like. You’ve spent the past two years moving some major personal mountains. You’ve unblocked a ton of stuff from your past. You’ve opened your energy and your mind up to a new level of curiosity.
So 42…some goals and thoughts:
Love: You have had a fun year for love. You’ve connected more with some really amazing men this year than in the few past few. You can feel that love is getting closer by the day. However, you’ve also filled your cup so full that sometimes you wonder where love fits in. The lie: You don’t have time for a relationship; your life is too full of other things that excite you and you would have to pull away from those things to focus on love. The truth: You will find and create the time for the right person and he will support your goals and passions, just as you would support his. The goal: You will open yourself up to love in new ways. You’ll be open-hearted and open-minded. Not forcing it, but also not fighting it. The affirmation: There is space in my life for love; I am inviting, open and curious about meeting the man of my dreams.
Wellness: 41 was a big year for wellness, fitness and self-confidence. 42 is the year we take this newfound passion for fitness and wellness and keep the energy flowing. This year, you will continue to invest in your wellness through retreats, time at the gym/outside, nutritious food and listening to the podcasts you love so much about wellness. The lie: This is just a passing phase and you’ll slide back into your old habits by Christmas. The truth: You are seeing results from minimal changes – just 30 mins at the gym weight training and some small changes to your diet have completely shifted how you look and feel. It’s not hard and the benefits are so worth it. The goal: Consistency – just keep doing what you’re doing, girl. Book a 1-week wellness retreat in 2019. The affirmation: My body craves healthy food and movement.
Creativity: 40 was the year of the blog. 41 was the year of the TEDx Talk and the Podcast. 42 is going to be the year of the book. You are intended to write this book. It is intended to be a success. Write. Write. Write. The lie: You have an inflated sense of self and think you’re a better writer than you are. It won’t get picked up by a publisher, you’ll self-publish and only 10 people will buy it. The truth: When you feel things in your soul, you know they are right. You feel this in your soul and it will be a huge success. The goal: Finish writing by March 2019. Secure a publishing deal by July 2019. NYT best seller Summer 2020. The affirmation: The book is intended to be a success. I will lean into it – fearlessly.
They say the days are long and the years are short. But when you look at it like this, a year feels really, really long - in the best way. Celebrate every minute of it.