Dear 20-year old me,
Let me start by saying that your life is lacking any balance, in fact it is hanging in the balance! When you are 41 you will be diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, a chronic illness that causes imbalance, or will it in fact be caused by your own imbalance? You are out of alignment; due to Parkinson’s you will find it easier to walk on your tiptoes than to put both feet on the ground, your body is telling you that you are tiptoeing through life hoping to make its safely to death. This illness will not go away until it has taught you what you need to know. Look at the cause and not the symptoms. You are creating many of your own health problems…
If my 43-year old self could give you advice, then this would be it:
Do what is important, not urgent. Slow down, or Parkinson’s will FORCE you to slow down.
Care for your body and it will repay you. Listen to your body; it will whisper to you in your 20s and 30s, you will ignore it, and so it will hit you with a drop kick in your 40s. Will you listen then?
Do an inventory of your life; if something doesn’t enrich you and give you joy, then get rid of it. Get honest with yourself, and I mean get really honest! Choose what is right for your health over what is easy. Make a list of the people, activities, responsibilities and habits that do not add to your life, and then delete! Step away from the herd, look at the areas of your life that are not working and change them. Dissatisfaction is sent to make you change.
Relax, you will not heal if you do not relax. 7am on a Saturday morning is not a lie in, the window cleaners do not care if you haven’t ironed the duvet that day, grass doesn’t need cut every 5 days, be a risktaker and use the ‘good’ John Rocha wine glasses that Ciara bought you. You will be tempted to hoover Ernie (the dog) every time that he comes in from the garden, don’t! Your body is a reflection of your inner state, you need to sit still and stop being so hard on yourself. Once you start to lighten up, your heavy dragging limbs will too.
You need to stop wearing your perfectionism like a badge of honour. You are a people pleaser, you do more than enough and need to step away from the ‘disease to please’. Those who think that others do not do enough are struggling with their own lack of worth, they seek their validation by attacking others in order to raise themselves up. Perfectionism is the thief of joy; being imperfect should not create shame. What’s the point of having outward success and perfectionism when your inner word is crumbling? You are just seeking fulfilment outside of yourself. The imperfect you is indeed just perfect to those who matter. You are not defined by a wage, house, car, status, or education. You are however defined by your heart, the energy that you emit, your daily good actions and how you make people feel.
You work too much; you don’t have to be constantly seen to be working. Being the first or last person in the staff carpark is nothing to brag about. Doing more than others does not mean that you are better than them. Don’t confuse having a career with having a life. Finally, lunch breaks are not for wimps!
Things don’t have to be this way; you need to picture your ideal life and say ‘no’ to anything that does not create it. Picture the life that you would be jealous of and go create it. Change is scary but not as scary as continuing to live like this. Treat your Parkinson’s like an assignment, learn from it and grow from it. Your life is a manifestation of the choices that you have made, a wise person recognises when their life is out of balance and then actually corrects it.
Will you listen?
If only we all knew then what we know now…