What Would You Tell Your “Year-Ago-Self”?

To my favorite people on this earth, this post is for you. For the mommas and dads, the caregivers, the extended families, the close friends, the everybody in this community… read through. I hope you can find value in this as much as I have.

Reflection is an essential piece of existence. If you don’t obtain the ability to reflect, how do you know where you are? How do you know where you are going? It’s a skill that we are all on varying abilities with, but nonetheless know of its importance. In years like 2020, where everyone wants it to end and move forward, I think one of the most important things we could do is to reflect. As you all know, with the most challenging times, comes the most valuable lessons.

So with that, I sent an email and social media post out just a tiny bit ago, asking parents to reflect; Asking you to reflect on this past year and all that it’s taught you. I asked you to tell me what would you tell yourself one year ago – pre-covid, pre-craziness, pre-routine-in-the-garbage. What would you tell a parent who was JUST about to go through this year the way it has been?

Well, this community, without surprise, came up with some incredible reflection points so here they are compiled together. This way you can use it to refer back to during challenges, or maybe you can find yourself in other parents’ answers. Our responses have been left anonymous.

Take more pictures, love everyone a little more. Hug your loved one’s longer and take time to enjoy the ride, no matter how turbulent. Enjoy the little moments in life.”

What would I tell my “year ago” self?… every year is a new checked box. Things I worried about came into existence last year Whether it was good or bad, our cup was full. Full of unfortunate diagnoses and hospital stays but also topped off with extreme growth and experiences that allowed us to look at things from a new perspective.

So, I would tell myself to BREATHE. “Breathe and remember who the F@!ck you are” Don’t stop, don’t stop believing, don’t stop asking questions and don’t take NO for an answer. Positive vibes only. Your anxiety will not change the outcome you cannot control. We’ve come this far. Stay strong, you’ve got this.

Let’s see what you’ve GOT 2021!”

Do what makes your heart smile! Your happiness in life is so important and you are worthy enough for it!”

I would have told myself that you’ve got this; it won’t look pretty; it’s OK that is doesn’t; but you are way stronger then you will ever imagine.

I’ve also identified the many blessings within the chaos and there were MANY.”

I would say to my one year ago self, “Know and own your worth, so that others will too!  Also, schedule outside time-get to the beach to watch the sunset as often as possible, get the kids connected to nature!”

Value your immediate family because when all else fails and the world shuts down they will be there to support you and you them. Really make them and your well being a priority over work and everyday nuances because it will make stressors feel less challenging.

Also, do more research on therapies outside of what people or social services tell you. Ask questions and don’t be afraid to advocate for your child even if it make others uncomfortable. We as parents need to challenge the current systems to achieve the appropriate services for our children.”

I have been on a path of creating a place or sense of peace within myself and my home, so there is a sanctuary from the outside things I/we can’t control: health or medical challenges, work, politics, extended family drama, etc. Sometimes that “sanctuary” is a moment to pause and get my bearings, while other times it is our home that is a refuge from all THAT STUFF.

So one of the first things I would tell myself is to keep creating space for that sanctuary and be fluid in how it is represented. Be kind to others outside of the home and be supportive but guard my sanctuary from those situations (COVID) and people who seek chaos.

There are things you can’t control, so accept it and play the hell out of the cards you are dealt.

Tell myself that it is ok to be an introvert. I prefer one-to-one connections and that’s ok.

I would strongly support myself in continuing to refrain from rejoining Facebook, even when others tell me it’s the ONLY way to connect during quarantine.  It does not work for me, and that’s ok.  I LOVE my life and I ADORE my family.  And I will not lie about my life or misrepresent it in order to have that false representation of a Facebook life. And reading other people’s versions of their life just upsets me and there is no room in my head for THAT.

Feel the feelings and acknowledge the impact.  And then take a deep breath, put one foot in front of the other, and get to work on dealing with a setback.

Find the motivation, the support, the cheer leader.  Find your “people,” your tribe, the folks who are in your corner and get it.

Build your child’s team to be a good fit for your child.  The right therapy is most important, because more is not always better. And the person that works best with your child might not be YOUR first choice.

Attitudes are contagious so find a way to be happy every day.

Apologize and try again tomorrow. EVERYONE messes up, and everyone needs a do-over at times.  It’s ok.”

Health and Family are everything. Take one day at a time. Be your own and your child’s advocate. Put one foot in front of the other and carry on.”

The love from your family will make you strong enough to pull you through the best and worst of times.”

Here’s what I would tell myself…

“To remind myself that growth is uncomfortable; that the challenges you face will inevitably help you see the world differently and a little brighter when you reach the other side.”

Chaos has the ability to stir everything up. It has the ability to make you feel like you can’t see straight and that your own two feet can’t find the ground anymore. This year has exposed a lot of negativity but it’s also created so much beauty. It made us realize the importance of things like: Quality time with loved ones, hugs, the ability of technology to still connect us with one another, the people who are really important to you, the ability to travel, family time, being employed, etc.. And perhaps some other important aspects of the availability of toilet paper, eggs, and chicken at the store. 🙂

It went back to basics…the basics we unknowingly take for granted each day, until now.

And that beauty, outweighs any of the negatives we could ever experience. I recently read a book that I’d like to share a passage from:

The alternative is to decide not to fight with life. You realize and accept that life is not under your control. Life is continuously changing, and if you’re trying to control it, you’ll never be able to fully live it. Instead of living life, you’ll be afraid of it. The beauty in life is the willingness to live it.”

Michael Singer, The Untethered Soul

I know in particular there have been so many moments of feeling rock bottom for you this year, but I’d just like to remind you of how exceptional you are and no matter how many times it’s knocked you down before, you always get back up. Having grace with yourself is sometimes the most important piece that’s missing.

Keep rooting for yourself…we are rooting for you, too.

Happy Holidays to you and your families. ❤️

Love always,

Team Breakthrough

Christine Astarita