wellness

"Throw that list away." A letter to myself, a year ago.

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Dear Past Laura,

This time a year ago you vowed you’d be a different person. 

It’s not something you had marked down in a calendar of course, to be discovered on a cold July day next to a reminder about a dentist appointment. It’s just something about you I know to be true because every year, at this exact point in time, you have a reaction to life that’s as predictable as crying through The Notebook on a plane.

You suddenly realise the year is halfway over, and all those things you promised yourself you’d achieve, or change as you went through this emotional crisis this time last year are still sitting there on your To Do list, gathering dust as the clock continues to tick over. 

Of course there are some goals on the list we both knew you were never really going to do. So, I'm sure it comes as no surprise to you that you haven't kept a journal, sold the car you never use, or actually returned the numerous ill-fitting online shopping purchases that continually stack up inside your apartment.

At the same time, there's really no way to sugarcoat the fact that many of your other goals also remain untouched. 

There are words you promised yourself you'd write that have yet to find themselves on a page, trips you dreamed of taking that never progressed past the planning stages, and people you longed to meet or reconnect with who are not part of your life. 

Let's just say there are a lot of corners you could have turned down along the way this past year, but instead, you kept to the safety of the straight road.

Sometimes that worked out for us, but mostly it means that we've just left a slot of stones unturned.

I'm sure that reading these words might make you feel sad, or frustrated, like that time you cut your own fringe right before your friend's wedding... and ended up looking like you'd walked headfirst into a blender.

(Just stop cutting your own fringe at all, by the way, because here's a spoiler alert from the future for you: you're not getting better at it and no, it will not change shape once it's washed.)

But here's the thing I really want you to know, the thing I wish I could go back in time and reassure you of while you sit and ponder what this next year will bring.

The best things you achieved this year, along with the moments that taught you the most, were never on that list to begin with.

You may not have traveled to all of your desired destinations, but you've become so much better at not allowing your body to stand in the way of adventures.

You've swum in pools with friends, walked along the beach and into the ocean, joined dance floors, and posted full-length images of yourself to Instagram without being crushed with fear about what your body looks to others.

We both know there was a time when we would only stay covered up and out of sight from view, so I hope you take comfort in knowing that we're no longer counting on a changed body to equal a changed life.

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At the same time, while it's not a goal that looks impressive on a manifestation list, you've also set up a new home filled with furniture and plants, all put together by your own hands or paid for via a career you're proud of. 

 "I hope you take comfort in knowing that we're no longer counting on a changed body to equal a changed life." 

And every time you open the front door you look around your little home and feel very safe knowing you have this cosy, pretty space all to yourself.

I also want you to know that, just because you put some goals and dreams on hold, doesn't mean that they're not going to eventually come true, but life is always there to get in the way.

This year some of your dreams haven't come true, because you needed to look after someone, and needed to travel to hug your family.

But you're still toiling away at them and my only advice to you is to throw away that yearly goals list, especially the part that only looks good on paper. Instead, commit to a life list. 

A list that you've got a lifetime to achieve, rather than feeling like you have to pack it all into one year, filled with ideas that will make your life better, rather than a series of achievements that only look good to others.

So instead of making a list, maybe just jot that one note down.

P.S. And please put your passport somewhere safe, don't just through it in some random drawer and expect you'll be able to dig it up a year later, because let me tell you, I think this one's gone for good!

Feature Image: Supplied.

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