Dear 100 Hour Board,
In the mode of Board Question #91311, what would you tell yourself from a year ago? What would you say to the version of yourself who will be around in a year?
- Is this a The Good Place situation and can I reboot? A year ago I was attending what would turn out to be the last Writers@Work conference at Alta. I feel like I did my usual thing of socializing and doing great stand-up routines but lost my momentum due to a really intense downward mental spiral. Don't?
- Congratulations, you are healed!
Please see blow.
Dear past me,
Is the hope more than a pinprick now? Have I got news for you: we're doing it. Right now.
Your year is going to have big ups and big downs. Your summer is going to bring you something you have wanted for a long time, and then it's going to end, and that is going to be hard. You're going to have big whopping trauma reactions. You're going to wonder if you are just crazy and slip, again and again, into existential despair. There will definitely be times where you wonder if it is worth it and feel that you are incapable of getting better.
I'm shocked at how capable we are of getting better, so prepare yourself.
You, you marvelous weirdo, you are a great case manager. You are going to figure out how to turn those skills on to your own life. You're going to start figuring out how to manage the panic that eats your brain constantly in ways you aren't even totally aware of yet. You are going to start to figure out how to push through the moments around relationships that feel like life and death. You are going to learn how to feel and harness anger, first for validating and believing yourself and then for maintaining your boundaries and motivating change. You are going to make some hard changes. You'll end up back in intensive outpatient treatment and it will feel like a failure, but then you will realize that for the first time you are adequately and proactively meeting your own mental health needs and you will feel like you have super powers.
Darling, when you treat yourself like a time bomb that might go off at any moment, you behave like a time bomb that might go off at any moment. You have an almost infinite ability to feel compassion for others, despite whatever terrible things they have done. You are going to start learning how to give yourself grace this year, and then you are going to cry like a sap writing about it. (Get used to crying; we do it all the time now.) You are going to start learning how to treat yourself like what you are: a person who didn't get (as Anne the wondertherapist calls them) enough emotional goodies growing up. You are one of the children you worked with with attachment problems, but all grown up. Let yourself see yourself as you are, and give yourself the compassion and grace you need to start moving forward. You can do it. I happen to know you can.
I am so proud of you. From here I don't know how you've made it as far as you have. Tenacity and brainpower and compassion that honestly came out of nowhere I can think of. I know you feel like nothing. Your needs and emotions matter just as much as anyone else's. You have that written on your blackboard right now. You're going to learn how to feel it. I am so excited for you. I really think this has been a big year for us.
Oh, and making a decent living makes a WORLD of difference. Pro tip.
Dear future me,
Girl if you drop this ball we are going to have WORDS. But I don't think you will. I hope you kept pushing. I hope you kept surprising Anne. I hope you have an apartment and a cat or something. I hope you have been promoted because otherwise you are probably wicked bored by now. I hope you have a girlfriend but that you aren't just enmeshed to all getout. I hope you are telling people the truth better than we can right now. I hope you look in the mirror and know exactly who you are. I hope the turbulence is more manageable. We are worth all those things. Keep fighting the good fight.
- The Black Sheep
Past me: Yeah, you don't get to eat eggs any more. I'm sorry. Also, you're going to be trying a bunch of new meds over the next year, so get ready for that. I'm really sorry that taking care of Lil' M. is so hard.
Future me: I hope you've settled into Ohio okay, and that you've maybe made some new friends. Keep remembering to focus on what sparks joy in the long term as well as in the short term, and be okay with when something no longer sparks joy.
To "Past me and literally all readers and writers who have had a bad medical experience":
Doctors are not perfect and you should absolutely question their recommendations and consider your options. You may still come to the same conclusion with the same terrifying results but at least you will be slightly more prepared. Everyone and no one is to blame. Bad things not only happen to good people (almost exclusively, if you believe like I do that we are mostly all good), but bad things happen to prepared people and innocent people and people with the best intentions.
To "Future me and literally all readers and writers with children":
We don't know what weird thing we do today will be a treasured memory and which one will give our kid some weird baggage. Be thoughtful and try your best. Also I read that parents who do less housework and play with their kids more raise happier children, so I will keep on not sweeping.
Dear Year-ago Guesthouse,
1) Go to bed on time, please. We need more sleep.
2) It's okay to cry. This summer is going to be hard... like, really hard. And honestly, crying helps. Take as long as you need.
3) "Welcome and entertain them all! Even if they are a crowd of sorrows who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still, treat each guest honorably. He may be clearing you out for some new delight." It gets better... just wait.
4) Don't let other people tell you how to feel - you're a big girl and you will be so much happier when you make choices for yourself.
5) Please stop buying candles. You need to stop. I'm serious.
Dear Guesthouse 2020,
1) I'm proud of us.
2) I know that was stupid. But you wouldn't be where you are without me so gimme a break.
3) Life is full of changes, and that's okay. You don't have to try to preserve the way things were, because you can still be happy in a different kind of world.
4) Only one more year... and then 2 more years after that. You've got this.
5) Why are you still buying candles? I swear we talked about this.
To past me: "Bet all the money you possibly can on Tiger Woods to win the 2019 Master's."
To future me: "Are you okay? Did you survive the past two semesters? I'm sorry I put you through that but you're done with your undergrad so you're welcome #SorryNotSorry"
To Past Yay: Don't stress out too much about finding a permanent job, because things are going to work out. But also don't just sit back and do nothing, because things can't work out if they don't happen. Just apply for every job in your specialization within 100 miles and you'll be fine.
To Future Yay: Life is looking pretty stable right now. Is there anything unexpected on the horizon that I should know about?
I'm going to first answer and ask questions in the style of that question, then give advice.
Answers from last year: I have sort of figured out grad school/gap year more. And I cannot sing along to those parts of those songs, but I did learn the bridge of this Enrique song and a somewhat-passable Shaggy impression thanks to Sr. Surf, so we'll take it.
Questions for next year: What other songs have you learned? Did you stick with embroidery? I really hope you do. Are you still embarrassed about the same things?
Advice for last year: You're still not great at being a student, but that's okay, just maybe don't overload yourself too much. Also you're phone isn't going to work during one of the most stressful weeks of the year but no one dies so it will be okay.
Advice for next year: Make more time for people that are important. Keep your house looking generally respectable so people can come over whenever. Watch Community one more time and then try a new show; it's good but there are other shows, ya know?
Dear 2018 Soulful,
Life is kind of rough right now, and to be honest, the next couple of months are going to be terrible. Your eating disorder is going to get much, much worse; that Ukrainian guy is going to follow you to Boston then immediately crush your heart between his hands; you are going to start working 70 hour weeks again; you're going to get really pissed off at God.
But 2018 Soulful, it will be okay. Keep on keeping on. The light at the end of the tunnel is coming in just a few months. You are going to start a new job that you actually enjoy and that doesn't make you hate life. You are going to have some really fun and weird dating experiences as you try to get over that Ukrainian guy. You'll get over him. You're even going to meet a super awesome fellow. You'll be less pissed off at God. And best of all, in one year's time, you are going to be seven months eating disorder free.
So keep moving forward and double-check that you bought that plane ticket to New York before the week that you are supposed to be there. It will save you a good chunk of cash.
The Soulful Ginger
Dear 2020 Soulful,
Mostly I just have a lot of questions! How did our first ultra-marathon go? Which grad schools did we get into? Are we going to Georgetown? How do you feel about moving away from the mountains to live in a city? Do you think we'll be able to survive that? Or did you decide to scrap the career dream and decide that you want to live a life that is fulfilled outside of work? What does that look like?
Can we lead climb yet?
Just remember that you are amazing and even if you feel like you ultimately had to decide between follow-your-dreams route or the enjoy-life-to-the-fullest route, I believe in your tenacity and determination to have both of them. Because you're amazing.
The Soulful Ginger
Dear Past Rubik,
Please, whatever you do, do not forget where you put your car keys.
Dear Future Rubik,
So, uh, where did you eventually find those car keys?
-The Once and Future Frère
Dear Past Goff,
Well, you weren't wrong.
Dear Future Goff,
Keep going to therapy.
Dear 2018 Dragon Lady ~
New [Dragon Lady] is, unfortunately, not still a thing. At least not in the way you were so excited about. I'm still much better at housework. But I did not replace the kitchen floor by myself. I'm not super confident in DIY stuff anymore. However, I am super into discovering more about myself and learning more about who I really am. That, in and of itself, has been transformational. I am extremely thrilled about all 3 kids being in school every day, even if one is only half day. I did get a job, and just got an extension for another year! My life is not still simple. That was a blissful time. In fact, I just made it more complicated by opening an Etsy business (finally). Family History has been much better in the ward, but taking away my ability to do a Family History Sunday School put a serious damper in that. I have not yet taken another girls' trip, but I have one scheduled for this fall. My first cruise!
2020 Dragon Lady: How's your Etsy shop? Have you learned to navigate being an Obliger? What are your plans for full day freedom this fall? Work more? Make more t-shirts? Volunteer more? KonMari your house? Something else? Did Take Home Library survive the 3rd grade expansion and digital upgrade? Anything I should be aware of to prep myself for this coming year?
~ 2019 Dragon Lady