A friend of mine recently posted a short poem sharing her current feelings of being worried, her struggles with her insecurities, and searching for answers within herself. It struck me differently and I found myself lost in her vulnerable venting and the way she expressed herself, freely and openly. Mind you my friend is but 21 years old and is an artist with such a strong and beautiful voice finding herself in her journey in the music industry. As I was reading, I was immediately taken back to my twenties and I remembered how many poems and journaling I was doing. It was my coping mechanism for the growing pains I was going through. Writing was also my escape from the heart-wrenching pains of homesickness. I missed home so much while I was in the US. I remembered how even calling family members would be too much to handle, and not because I did not want to talk, but I would always anticipate the pain of how empty I would feel once I put the phone down and had to be back in the reality of where I was.

It’s funny how inspirations come to you. You have to be open for the universe’s constant signs. My friend’s personal sharing was that for me, hence I decided I would take that to write this blog. I can’t remember the last time I went back to my old notebooks, dairies and journals. I read most of them, and I still am. Yes, it’s that much! I forget that every year I would make sure to buy a new journal—if not two or more—and I would journal everything. Everything I was feeling at the time being young and in college and working and figuring myself out in the world I was in…finding my identity and listening to my own voice. Reading, I found a lot that was actually hard to read because I allowed myself to be so vulnerable at times and did not hold back in my writing. These were my private thoughts that I spilled out when I was by myself. Each entry was a story of how my day went, or how some incident affected me, the breakups and the sweet crushes of the boys in my life at the time, and the very real insecurities I had about myself.

What stood out the most in my journals and what I found to be almost repetitive throughout my writing on the journey as a youth was my fear of the unknown and the struggle within myself to believe in myself, to find my passion, to figure out what life meant to me, and to understand where my purpose lay. It reminded me that your twenties are really a beautiful rollercoaster of emotions and feelings, and even though at the time we don’t realize just where we might be going, feeling lost and confused as to the choices we must make to set the direction and path for our future selves, we forget to enjoy the process. That’s what I wish I could have told my younger self if I could go back in time. I would tell her Trust the process; enjoy the journey. I would tell her that everything that I was feeling and going through were all shaping me to become the woman she was about to be. Me. Right now. And I’d like to believe that I’m pretty awesome to be honest.

So, then I thought, well, I don’t want to have to wait until I get to my forties to give myself some advice about how I should have handled life now, in my thirties. Why not instead imaginatively dream of what my future self would say to me now? So, in my me-time, with the kids playing outside, I got all my cushions I had in my house to place in my bathtub, got my music and wine, and got to my computer to get to writing. Bathtub? Cushions? Well, when you have two boys as active as my babies—trust me—the places you find for peace and solace will surprise you. My AWiB parents, I know you know just what I’m talking about.

As I settled into my comfortable cushioned tub, I remembered the first time I’d ever had a spiritual breakthrough when I was about 24, maybe 25 years old. I had literarily nowhere else to go at that specific time and place when I found myself breaking down and running into the bathroom; the tears would not stop for hours. In that pain something inside me lit up, and I felt an energy so much greater than I was and outside of myself but somehow within me. That pulled me through and got me back up. Nothing was ever the same after that for me. I was not aware that spiritual journey had just begun.

And so back to my imaginative daydreaming of my future self and her advice for me. I felt at peace and not fearful of the unknown. It’s weird– I guess when you grow up and personally after going through the loss of someone close for the first time, your perspective on life changes. I think I would tell myself that even though I may not be seeing the changes I believe should be happening to me, that in fact I was changing and growing and becoming stronger than I could ever believe. I would tell myself to allow tears of frustration to come whenever I felt it and to not be ashamed of what I currently think might be my weaknesses—they are really hidden strengths that I have not gotten to appreciate yet. I would tell myself to not take anything so seriously and to enjoy the very simplest things in life. I would tell myself to enjoy spending time with myself and to acknowledge the strength in admiring myself, by myself; to not search for validation and comfort outside of myself. I would tell myself to continue the paths of the new habits and routine I am creating for myself and believe that, however minuet they may seem to me now, they are in fact creating the right paths to a better, a happier, a healthier and a more wholesome me.

I would tell myself to enjoy the process, my journey, and to be proud of exactly where I am now. I would tell myself to not be afraid of change and to always be open to it because it’s the reality of life. I would tell myself to not hold on to grudges, to let go of expectations, and to allow life to flow and unwind. I would tell myself to not be so hard on myself and to remind myself of my greatness. I would tell myself that everything that I think I need right now, I should see as I already have.

What would you tell yourself?

Let your mind run free, and be kind to yourself.