A few weeks ago, I thought I was dealing well with the current state of the world. Jump to one week ago, and I was not. In such turbulent times, it’s like being on a roller coaster with waves of emotion surprising you at every dip and turn. Last week was my complete loop-de-loop.
The best thing for me to do in those downturns is lean on my support system. After explaining my mindset, a good friend suggested a group of us take the time to reflect on a journaling prompt.
The rules were simple:
- Write a letter to myself detailing what I have done in these 90 days, being as specific as possible.
- Use it as a visioning exercise of where I want to be and who I want to become.
- Everything must be FULLY within my control.
- Be honest and compassionate with myself.
It wasn’t easy, and took a few tries, but once I got started, I became aware of all the fears and discomfort bouncing around my head. My letter became two parts – those fears and what was within my control to accomplish. Below is the first part of my letter, the difficult unknowns that gave me the POWER to take back control.
A note to readers: please be aware of your mindset prior to reading. This part of my letter speaks to my fears and unknowns, and may trigger your own. The unpublished portion of my letter lists the positive actions and steps I will have accomplished in 90 days.
My challenge to you: write your own 90 day letter to see where you want to be and what is within your control over the next 90 days!
To My 90 Day Self:
We’re currently in the midst of a crazy, unexpected global crisis. The impact is unprecedented and overwhelming. I know how hard it has been, both mentally and emotionally, to keep moving forward with all the negative news, quarantines, fears and uncertainties. I am not going to downplay the difficulties or the impact this all has to mental health.
Your fears are understandable and acceptable. Your lifestyle is completely up in the air. The “stuckness” you’ve been trying to avoid has been forced on you, with an unknown period of time where borders will be closed and flights will be grounded. Those emotions, life changes and personal growth opportunities you’ve been putting off have come to the forefront. Feelings of loneliness despite your surroundings are not unheard of. You’re vulnerable across the board – embrace it.
You don’t know what you want to do next for work. You don’t know how long you’ll be here. You don’t know where you’ll be next or how long you’ll be there for. You don’t know from where or when you’ll receive your next paycheck. You don’t know what the stock market is going to do or how to budget expenses for the coming months. You don’t know what will happen to your health or the health of your loved ones, and you don’t know when you’ll see them next. You don’t know when you’ll cuddle with the puppies again, or if you’ll make it to your friend’s wedding.
But greatest of all these is that you don’t know what you want. You don’t know what you want to work towards after this. Is it travel? Is it being somewhere long enough to make an impact? Is it solo? Do you work full time? Do you work remotely? Do you consult? Do you teach? Do you coast with some stability? There are more questions than answers, and with each question comes another question. You are living in a world of unknowns and no longer have control over the things that brought you comfort. The stability in your life has been ripped away – knowing you could plan and travel and find the next great adventure while supporting yourself as you went.
We are in a time of unprecedented job loss. Companies are and will go out of business. Many of us will struggle. Families will either come together or break apart. Lives will be lost. You have no control over any of it. The only help you can offer is social distancing and emotional support. The trick is balancing the emotional support of others with taking care of yourself.
So let’s take back control.
In the next 90 days, I have the power and control I need to be productive, loving and open. Coming out of this pandemic, this is where I will choose to be in my life…