A Letter from my Future Self (#reverb10)

This month I am participating in the #Reverb10 project with 4,000+ other bloggers (read the archive of my entries on my Tumblr); a daily prompt to help people “reflect on this year and manifest what’s next.” I’m also incredibly honored to contribute as an author - today's post is a response to my own prompt:

Future self. Imagine yourself five years from now. What advice would you give your current self for the year ahead?

Dear Jenny,

I am so proud of you. You've worked really hard to get where you are, and I want you to relax now. You have so many good things coming, you don't have to work as hard as you think you do. Enjoy your life and watch things unfold, all in perfect time. Time to square your shoulders back, hold your head high, and keep moving through your life with grace and ease. And don't forget to smile!

From my perch five years from now, I can tell you that you will not remember all those little tasks, deadlines and emails you worry about. You've got the small stuff covered. You've accomplished every goal you've ever set and then some. I hope you are as proud of yourself as I am.

Amidst all the external definitions of success, please don't forget to look inward.

A few reminders:

  • Take care of yourself. Eat well. Exercise. Get outside. Get plenty of sleep. Rest and remember to spend plenty of time alone. Put yourself first so that you can share your best gifts with the world.
  • Be nicer to yourself. Weighing ten pounds less does not make you a better or more interesting person. Weighing ten or twenty pounds more does not make you unloveable. For every day or every moment you criticize yourself, you are cheating yourself out of your fullest joy.
  • Face some hard truths. You will hit rough patches. You will have more "lowest moments of your life." Again you will find yourself feeling dark and depressed. Again you will find yourself going to sleep fully clothed because you cannot muster the emotional energy to get undressed. These moments always turn out to be your best teachers. These are the moments that will help you serve others in new, extraordinary ways.
  • Let people in. You will know when the time is right. When it is, let go. Let yourself love with abandon. You don't have to protect yourself so much. You will still be able to take care of yourself if and when these relationships end, and they will have given you new perspectives on life.
  • Forgive yourself. It's time to stop carrying all that guilt. That you could have been nicer, more accommodating, more supportive, more generous, more selfless; that you could have given more time and attention - or even more love. The past is in the past, and you are doing the very best you can. The very best does not mean perfect. It is okay if you aren't perfect -- none of us are.
  • Live your life on your own terms. Stop looking for everyone's approval. Stop living in fear that if you say or do the wrong thing, you will lose people forever. If that happens, it wasn't meant to be. Stop auditioning for other people's lives and embrace yourself, exactly as you are.
  • A note on judging others. It is so easy to do - we all do it. But be careful who you judge, what you turn your nose up to, and the opinions you rally behind without questioning. They almost always come back to teach you a lesson by giving you the very experience that you were so quick to judge. Treat others with respect, compassion and an open-mind at every possible moment.
  • You are capable of so much more than you even realize. We all are. You have infinite power at your fingertips and it's just waiting for you to engage it. Take those risks you are afraid of taking. Trust yourself. You've gotten yourself this far in your life -- keep going. Even more greatness lies ahead if you can just take the leap, even in those moments where you can't see the other side yet. Dream even bigger! Reach for the stars - they are waiting for you.
  • Soak it up, baby! Whew - this is heavy stuff. Remember not to take yourself too seriously! Lighten up, laugh, have fun, be young, sing and dance your heart out. Celebrate! Be thankful for all of your gifts and blessings. Honor them by letting yourself experience bliss at every opportunity. Let the bliss grow and expand. Sprinkle gold dust around everyone and everything you can see.

I know you know this, because you've said it before -- you already have everything you need. Time to stop chasing and start embracing. I have no doubt you will do it with flying colors. You already have.

Oodles of love and cupcakes*, Jenny


*P.S. Yes. That is ACTUALLY a picture of a french-toast bacon cupcake.


P.P.S. Pictures and highlights from the recent trip to New York City:

I had the absolute time of my life in New York City last week, and plan on returning as often as I possibly can in 2011. Highlights: singing at the top of my lungs to "All I Want For Christmas is You" with my friend Julie in Toritilla Flats while watching Monday Night football, doing Yoga at 4am with a new friend in the Standard Gym, Wednesday's cupcake tweet-up (see below), meeting up with Gabrielle Bernstein at The SoHo House for coffee and her wise author wisdom, celebrating Ann's 40th with all of her wonderful friends and family at Cuba, and buying the 12-cupcake sampler pack from Crumbs for immediate consumption in The Standard Lounge one snowy afternoon.

Here are a few pictures that capture some of the fun:

Cupcake tweet-up at Eleni's in Chelsea Market with amazing blogger ladies (so fabulous that a random passer-by asked for my business card because we "were so inspiring!"). From left to right: Top row - Monique Johnson, Chloe Tashjian, Teresa Wu, Me, Sam Karol, ChaChanna Simpson; Bottom row - Lissy Carr, Allie Mahler, Ginny Becker and Diana Antholis.

The fabulous ladies of the cupcake tweet-up

Here's a picture of me and Ann (my NYC Angel) before her birthday party:

Me and Julie at Tortilla Flats:

Jenny Blake and Julie at Tortialla Flats

Can't wait to see what those of you participating in #reverb10 reply to today's prompt! And much love and gratitude to the #reverb10 team: Cali, Kaileen & Gwen.