Thursday, 8 March 2012

International Womens Day, a letter to my 'older-self'

Dear Jo (the me I am now),

Here you are, all grown up, the little teenage girl blossomed into a mature woman, not afraid to speak your mind, and live your life.  You have age and experience behind you, and lessons have been learnt, mistakes made, failures experienced.  You have the wrinkles of life etched on your face, and they tell your story.  Your body bares the scars of many operations and surgery over the years, and the ware and tare on your body of having been pregnant 5 times,  and given birth to and breastfed 4 children.  Age has deposited extra padding all over your body, and there are soft rolls and curves in places you never had before.  Despite all of this, you have learned to accept the way you are, and have new-found confidence in yourself.  You are not afraid to be yourself, you are all woman.

For many years you allowed yourself to be down-trodden, and you lived your life to please others, and fit in with them.  You never allowed yourself to be who you really are.  You settled down very well, living in your 'little box' with all its restrictions, and limitations, and it became 'normal' for you.  Eventually, you learnt with time, and with encouragement from good friends, that was not the life you were destined to lead for the rest of you life, and you broke out, no longer having to conform to the structure and boundaries which you had become so accustomed to.

As a teenager and young women those limitations were your own, you placed them there because of your lack of confidence, self belief, and fear of failure.  They became your own prison, stopping you from stepping out and doing things.  You had yet to learn how to overcome these self-placed restrictions, to be happy with yourself and to break free.  You fell victim to people who would push you around, and who reinforced your lack of self worth,  resulting in a barricade of wrong beliefs about yourself and stopping you from being the person you were meant to or could be.

Your greatest achievement has been raising your 4 wonderful children.  I know how much joy and pride they have bought you over the years.  But along with that, the pain that comes from loving them so much, that at times, your heart aches.  Grandchildren are not on the horizon yet, but I know the joy and happiness they will bring to you in years to come, and how much you will love them too.

You are still very much on the pathway of learning all about yourself and life.  Don't allow people to pull you down, or drag you down as you have come so far.  Such negative people are a drain,  and you do not need them in your life.  Accept constructive criticism positively, and learn from it.  You still have a tendency to try and justify yourself and defend yourself when this happens, it is a habit you seem to have acquired, and you really don't need to do it.  You also still tend to be very self-critical, and can run yourself down at times which really gets you nowhere at all.  You are getting better all the time, and as time goes on you get stronger and more resilient.

So here you are, living in the present, and with the future that lies ahead of you.  You still have so much more to give, and more of life to live, God willing.   You will continue to blossom, and grow old....both gracefully, and a little disgracefully!!  Do not be afraid of ageing, and all that it brings.  There will be joys, and there will be woes ahead as you go through the Autumn of your life to Winter.  Make the most of every day, because you do not know at what time God will call you home.  Do new things, go new places,  have new experiences, take risks, be each day as if it were your last, and continue to dance, laugh, sing, love and be loved.

Lots of love,
Jo (your older self)

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