I’ve been writing this letter to you in my head since you were in high school. Every time I learn something new about life, I wish I could go back to tell you all about it before you make all of those mistakes. I want to save you the pain. I want to give you hope. I want you to see how amazing you are exactly as you are. You went through so much pain in your life and I wish I could ease it in some way. As an adult, now I know I had to feel all of that pain and make all of those mistakes to be the person I am now but here are some of the wishes I had for you throughout my life:
I wish I could tell you to appreciate all of those horseback riding lessons, piano lessons, rides to softball and field hockey, dinners, and vacations.
I wish I could tell you to be nicer to your parents as a teen.
I wish I could tell you to hug your mom more often.
I wish I could tell you to go on more bike rides with your dad.
I wish I could tell you that having one good friend that actually has something in common with you is better than having all the “friends” that are popular.
I wish I could tell you that being cool is actually being who you really are inside and not caring what others think.
I wish I could tell you that all those little things that you do every single day (your habits and rituals) are actually what define who you are and who you will become not what you wear or how your hair is styled, what type of car you drive or how big your house is or who you wish you were.
I wish I could tell you that you don’t have to have a fancy title to be important. In fact, you don’t have to have a title at all other than you name. You are important because you are YOU.
I wish I could tell you that you don’t have to keep trying to be more subdued or less emotional or quieter, or less of a hugger, or less passionate or less than ANYTHING that you ARE. Stop being less and start being more of you. If you have to change who you are to be around someone, you are with the wrong person.
I wish I could tell you that your time with your loved ones is limited…don’t take that for granted. Spend the time.
I wish I could tell you that your appearance is merely the shell. What really matters, what really nourishes others is the yolk that’s inside.
I wish I could tell you that no matter what happens to you, playing the victim won’t solve the problem.
I wish I could tell you that in order to live the life you want, you have to do the work. If you want to be a parent…do the work. If you want a healthy relationship…do the work. If you want to help others….do the work. If you want to be successful in your business…do the work.
Learn to prioritize.
Learn to say no.
I wish I could tell you that you will feel happier after a hard day of fulfilling work that moves you closer to your goals than a day of being lazy watching TV.
I wish I could tell you that being busy does NOT mean being productive.
I wish I could tell you that making time to breath and appreciate life in-between all of the “things” is incredibly important. Don’t rush through life.
I wish I could tell you that when you start feeling overwhelmed that it’s time to start making a priority list and to start subtracting because anxiety is your mind’s way of using your body to tell you something is wrong when you haven’t been listening.
I wish I could tell you that it’s okay to admit you made a mistake and start over again.
I wish I could tell you that everything you thought that SHOULD happen in your life, won’t. But you will be so much happier than you could have ever dreamed with the life you create in the end (at least at 37).
It will all be okay kid. You’re amazing. You are going to help so many people. You matter. Your parents will be proud of you. You will find a husband that appreciates you. Your kids will mess up too…let them and realize that they need to learn too. You will be loved for who you are. You will learn to love yourself. Give yourself some grace. Work hard and be kind.
Now, go make some more mistakes to learn from!
Something happened recently that inspired me to actually sit down to write this letter. Something big.
I wasn’t always the happy person you know now. I have been through some real difficult situations and spent a huge chunk time in my life depressed and playing the victim thinking, “Why me? Why can’t it be easier?” I have been through a divorce. I had to start my life “over” at 30-years-old with two young children. I had people who were the best of friends stop talking to me for years. I hit rock bottom and wanted to blame and play the victim card over and over and over.
In the thick of it all a good friend of mine, Seth, who never stopped being the best of friends through it all, no matter how far or who each of us was in a relationship with or how difficult the other’s life became shared a quote on Facebook that lifted me up about an inch off the floor. I hit “like” for the page “Marc and Angel Hack Life”. The next day, there was another quote from them in my news feed. It made the mess of my life seem a bit clearer, like I could see the lighthouse barely in the distance through the thick fog. I found their blog page and started reading. Lightbulbs started turning on. I put my email address in and started getting their blog posts in my inbox. Reading their blog became the first healthy ritual I had at the time. Every few days I got a reminder of how to get my mind where I needed it to be to get through another day. Because, as Marc and Angel say, you can make it through the struggles of today. It’s when you start adding in the weight of yesterday and tomorrow that things get to be unmanageable.
I got a tattoo, my only tattoo, in Sanskrit that says “clarity of thought” (I think 😂) to be another daily reminder. It took YEARS and YEARS of these daily reminders to start to catch myself in a negative frame of mind and then more years to start implementing ways to redirect my thoughts somewhere more positive. I still played the victim regularly for years. Heck, I still do. But now I catch myself doing it and can redirect myself to a more positive space fairly quickly.
8 years later, I am so incredibly grateful to Marc and Angel Chernoff for their selfless acts of inspiration to the world. I have watched them grow as bloggers, as parents and as authors. They recently published a book called, “Getting Back to Happy.” It quickly became a New York Times best selling book. I bought it before it was even released and it will forever have a home on my shelf.
With so much gratitude in my heart, I sent a direct message to them through Instagram to say thank you. Just a sentence or two. I told them thank you and opened myself up to tell them that it is a dream of mine to photograph them one day. I didn’t expect a response. I didn’t even expect them to read it. Not only did Angel respond, she actually looked at my work, stared following me and agreed to a photo shoot. We started planning for me to fly down to Florida in January. THEN, as she and Marc gear up for their once-per-year, in-person conference, Think Better, Live Better, in San Diego in February, she asked me to be the photographer! Amazing. Not only do I get to meet them in person and photograph them, I get to go to an event I have always dreamed of attending and give back to them in the small way that I am able to by sharing my talents with them AND all of the speakers and attendees. My heart is so full on this day of Thanksgiving.
Today, I want to announce that in February 2019, I will be heading to San Diego to photograph Think Better, Live Better 2019. I can’t even begin to describe how much this means to me. I can’t wait to share this journey with you all.
In this whole business thing, I’ve been told you are supposed to have a “why” to keep you going when it gets hard and you want to give up. I have read that so many times and thought, “I don’t know!” I mean, my family is always a why but then I think, I could work anywhere and be happy as long as I get to be around people and make them smile. “Do what you do until you do what you love.”- Marc and Angel -And, in that, is my true why. I want to always be able to connect with people. I want to inspire them to be their true selves and not be ashamed. I think I can do that no matter what I do. The fact that I have a niche talent in wedding photography gives me a platform to help those I serve and their families. I want to inspire my couples, clients, and followers through my posts to learn these life lessons without all the heartache I felt over so many years of my life. I want to inspire and help to send the message of hope and clarity of thought that I missed the mark on for so long. I want to share this knowledge so that you all can build healthy, happy relationships from the start. I want you to be able to begin with yourself and let it saturate your entire relationship and marriage over the years. I want you to be able to pass it down to your children along with your legacy of love. Let’s make this the generation focused on real, solid relationships, peace and kindness. ❤
It doesn’t have to take until you are 37 (like me) to start to get it and understand. I feel like I am handing you the play book here that I wish I had all along. If you do one thing for yourself today, click HERE and follow Marc and Angel Hack Life. Read their BOOK! Follow them on Instagram. They recently started adding daily reminders on their Instastory every day which has been powerful for me. If this reaches one person, I will be so happy.
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone. Thank you for being here with me on my journey through life. XO – Megan