Tag Archives: reflection

Dear Me: 4 Bloggers Share Letters to Their Younger Selves

Do you ever think about the advice you would give your younger self if given the chance? What words of encouragement you would offer? Warnings you might express?

I once heard that your most inner voice is a version of yourself that exists ten years in the future. Isn’t that a lovely sentiment? Like reaching back in time to offer yourself the most gentle guidance!

With that idea in mind, I asked a few of my favorite bloggin’-ladies to share what advice they would give their younger selves. I wanted to know, if you could go back in time and deliver a letter, what wisdom would you share with yourself?

I believe the resulting letters are not only inspiring…but EMPOWERING! Take it away ladies…

Whitney from Hello Whitney

Dear Whitney,

You are EXACTLY who and where you’re supposed to be right now. God created your generous heart, tenacious mind, and unbreakable will. I know you tend to stress about things, but “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight.” No matter what anyone says, you’re a child of God and perfect the way you are.
(Proverbs 3:5-6)
Whitney

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Kanishka from A Silent Observer

Dear Kanishka,
Life is throwing random events at you. In all the chaos I still think you are making the right decisions. Yet you haven’t met you. Find yourself.

Don’t focus on the idea of a ‘career’ or ‘building a career’ just yet. Focus on your interests, talents and ultimate dream. You can write, visualize, create and inspire. Make that your life…

You are easily intimidated by people. Never confident. And trust only the things you already know. But maybe you should explore more. Don’t hide away; bring yourself out. It is okay to be honest, yet assertive. You don’t have to be straight out bold, but at least be a little courageous.

Apart from everything else and trying to find love, first learn to love yourself! You are most important to you and that’s all that matters.

With all my love,

Your future self

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Helene from Beautiful Is My Attire

Dear Helene,

Time will fly and you will not understand how! You only have one life and you have to live it as best you can. You have to love each moment and whatever it brings to you; good or bad, joys or sorrows, failures and successes, it’s all for you. Don’t struggle to understand yourself and find your way instantly. You may never be able to do it, or maybe everything goes as you plan. Just make sure you enjoy the journey and live with the momentum and energy that youth gives you. You will never again be 20, 25 or 28.

Don’t forget something else very important: you are unique, there is no one else on the whole earth like you and that is your strength. Don’t care if others do not agree with what you are doing, what you think or what you say. As long as you do what you really want and love, as long as you mean everything you say and believe it and as long as you are true to yourself.

And as for the mistakes you make, these will become your lessons. For the mistakes of others the recipe is simple: don’t forget to forgive. The same applies to love. Love powerfully, embrace your feelings and your emotions! You may hurt and surely you will be hurt, but everything will pass, everything will be forgotten, new loves will come again and maybe they will last forever this time.

So, live your life to the maximum, live powerfully and with prudence, without any fear of tomorrow, and always follow your heart and intuition. 

Yours truly,
Helene

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Kari from Life Kari Style

Dear Younger Kari,

I wanted to take a moment and let you in on a little secret. You marry a wonderful man. You’ll have your struggles here and there (everyone does), but you will be happy. Knowing that, don’t squander your young, single years worrying about finding him. In fact, you likely already have by this point. Enjoy living for yourself without having to make any compromises. Travel often. Invest in your friendships. Get a grasp on a healthy lifestyle now (you won’t struggle as much later). Cut back on the sugar. Do yoga (you’ll like it). Spend time with family. Save some of the money you’re making for some more great adventures later on. You are predisposed to working hard. Keep doing that. The experience you gain will be your bread and butter later. You’ve got this. I believe in you!

Your Truest Self,
Kari Chairez

What about you, dear readers? What would you tuck into an envelope to hand off to your younger self? I’d love to know!

Thanks so much to Whitney, Kanishka, Helene, and Kari for sharing their beautiful letters for this post. 🙂 If you haven’t done so already — go check out their blogs! And let them know I sent ya. xoxo 

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A Decluttering Thought Exercise

I’ve been in a real decluttering mood as of late. I did a clothes clear out, went through a few drawers full of odds and ends, did a once over on my book collection, and even edited the kitchen by quite a lot (cooking gadgets and utensils are my ultimate hoarding weakness!). Perhaps it’s the promise of a new calendar year that has me wanting to clear out the old.

Whatever the reason, it’s certainly been a successful few weeks in the minimizing-my-home department.

So, I thought I’d share with you the little thought exercise I use when I’m feeling apprehensive about letting go of *stuff*. Maybe it will help you let go of the material goods or possessions in your own home that cause you to feel bogged down. Here’s what I do…

First, I think of my happiest memories. Then, I try and identify what made them so great. Was it the people I was with? The place? A certain time of year or a feeling of security? Most importantly, was it the STUFF? Usually, as I compose bullet points in my head about these wonderful moments in my life, the “things” involved in the memories – the clothes and the knick-knacks and the books and the KITCHEN GADGETS (lol!) – sink to the bottom. After all, they’re heavy and take up space. Conversely, the feelings are weightless.

And many times I find memories created through the absence of possessions pop up, too. Like when I lived abroad as a child and the absence of tons of toys meant my sister and I went outside to play more. Or when Chet and I first moved to Miami and the absence of lots of furniture meant we didn’t just sit but explored.

Think about your very favorite vacation.
Do you remember everything you packed?

Now I’m not saying I could be one of those people who pares down so fully that they can live with 100 or less possessions. I love watching the YouTube videos those people make but I’m not naive enough to think I can disassociate all feelings from certain possessions. I’ll always have too many books and a drawer of kitchen utensils that can barely close. But once a year, maybe twice, I can edit. And my happy memories thought exercise is how I do it.

Are you successful when it comes to decluttering or do you find it difficult to part with possessions? How do you manage to minimize your home? Let’s chat about it in the comments below! 

My New Journal Approach

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Here’s the deal. I’ve never been a great historian of my own life. I admire the folks who keep detailed accounts of their days tucked away in composition notebooks and moleskines. What a gift to be transported back in time years later. However, try as I might, I’ve never been able to pick up this habit. (Blogging is the closest I’ve come!) I’d love to be able to look back at handwritten pages and recall dishes I ordered at restaurants and the songs I played on repeat for months at a time. I’d like to find sustainable ways to track my gratitude and personal triumphs.

So, what’s a girl who loves to start journals and abandon them three days later to do??? After a little reflection, I’ve landed on LISTS. I LOVE a list. I love to make them, I love to read them, I love to organize the random into neat little bullet points. Aha!

*Trumpet Sounds* Enter my new approach to journaling…THE LIST JOURNAL! 

keeping a list journal

And what do you think my very first list shall be? If you guessed a list of lists then *ding, ding, ding* you nailed it! A list of lists I want to write in my list journal.

Here’s what I’ve come up with so far…

  • Books that have motivated or inspired me to make changes in my life.
  • My favorite topics of conversation.
  • Where we take visitors when they come to Miami.
  • All the acts of love that made up our beautiful wedding.
  • Standard packing list.
  • Every speech piece I ever competed with.
  • Weird things I did when I was super broke.
  • Reasons I love Wink.
  • Stuff that makes me feel better when I’m sick.
  • A running account of movies seen in the theater.
  • Favorite YouTube workouts.
  • Everything I’m thankful for on a given day.
  • Folks I’d like to send letters to on a more regular basis.
  • Chet’s masterfully prepared meals.
  • My most worn clothing in a given season.
  • Books I would recommend to someone who wants to read more.
  • The best seasons of The Real World. 🙂
  • Childhood memories that make me laugh.
  • Photos I want to frame and display.
  • People I admire.

My thought is that recording lists, along with the date, will give my future self a nice window into where I was in the world (physically, emotionally, AND mentally) at the time of composition. Or at least offer me an outlet to reflect on past events, articulate my gratitude, and mindfully create space for happiness. Wish me luck!

What do you think? Would you keep a list journal? Got any tips for being a better personal historian? I’d love to hear!! xoxo 

P.S. My notebook system and how I prioritize my passions.

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On Writing: A First Attempt at Self-Reflection.

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As you may have noticed, Finding delight. and writing in general have taken a bit of a backseat for me these last few weeks. Long work days, with long play days (I’m trying to enjoy Summer to it’s fullest while it lasts : ) interspersed as well, fill up my calendar to bursting. I figured this step away would be a great time to reflect on my writing. I strive to continue to grow and remain, as ever, a life-long learner. Here is a current assessment of my writing–

I’ve always felt an intense need to know the stories of others. Perhaps due to some innate, busybody quality so deeply ingrained in my curious person I seek them out without a moment’s hesitation. Or maybe, and this is certainly the more forgiving explanation I tend to hope is true, it is within these narratives I collect that my own story gains meaning. Yet peering down a dark, forgotten alleyway in someone else’s story in search of clues to create your own is troubling.  I once saw a newspaper cartoon sum up the marketability of our stories rather aptly. Two bookshelves were shown in the memoir section of a bookstore–one labeled “People with lives way better than mine,” the other “People with lives way worse than mine.” As a reader, these subsections are comforting. Escapism and reassurance. Self-help and self-congratulation. But as a writer, I end up wondering; how can I tell my own life without touting my privilege or weighing the tragedy I’ve encountered against others’? Will anyone peer around a corner in my life and, startled, run right into themselves?

As I’m seeking to incorporate my own story into my writing much more than ever before, not always as the subject of- but at least the framework for-, I find this familiarity with the stories of others to be both a strength and a weakness. I know how to tease emotion to the front of the page. I have an understanding of what readers find compelling. I am honest. But I worry about relatability. I worry about form and length. And most detrimental, I still believe I can make the words and thoughts of another more beautiful than I can make my own. The reader is my best friend and my greatest enemy. I concern myself with people’s perceptions and approval before the first word hits the page. I’m not going to bullshit and say I would write for no one, that is a lie. I want everything I write to be read. I write FOR readers. In the end, I believe this audience awareness is an asset.

All of this being said, there is no particular aspect of my writing which keeps me awake at night. Yes, I could stand a refresher course in grammar–specifically commas, my writing teacher brother so sweetly pointed out. (I can’t help that I love them.) I have a penchant for writing as if my words will be spoken not read. Sometimes my style is anything but succinct. But I’m not losing sleep over any of these assessments. I know they can be rectified with practice and patience. What keeps me awake at night are my ideas and brainstorms. I lie in bed going over all the directions a topic could go, the sentences that could snap, the sources I could pull from. Even the perfect wording to an email comes to me as I settle in and keeps me restless in the dark for hours. For far too long these thoughts were overwhelming and resulted in little more than daydreams and conversation fodder. But more and more, I am learning to just wake up and write.

In the coming weeks I shall explore what this assessment means for me as a blogger and will attempt to work towards regaining some consistency with my posts. I am working with a Writer’s Group for accountability purposes (which is super nerd-alert exciting for me) and camaraderie. My current goal for the next week is not just to WRITE but to work towards a more organized process. Any writers out there? What are your favorite organizational tips? I’d love to try my hand at some of your ideas or discuss them with my new writer’s crew. : )