“What if on the day I die, the person I became meets the person I could have become.”
What did you just feel? Excitement? Curiosity? Fear?
Initially, I felt a pang of anxiety. Acknowledging this feeling of being uncomfortable is important, however. It is a signal that perhaps I am not living up to my highest potential. What if the person I met was “better” than the person I had become?
Then, almost immediately, I wondered the opposite; what if the person I could have become was sadder, less fulfilled, and less loving? What if I hadn’t taken a chance and come to NCSU? What if I had stayed at that corporate job instead of starting my own businesses? What if I had allowed difficult experiences to shape me for the worse?
I like to think that I am naturally an optimist. I have realized my optimism is for others and not for myself. We all know that we are our own worst enemies. My therapist says that I speak so highly and lovingly of the people I care about, yet I do not extend that kindness to myself. Be a best friend to yourself during Grad School.
On occasion, I will do a journaling exercise where I write out what an ideal day in my life would look like. What is ideal “Alysa” like. What time does she wake up, what does she eat, what books does she read, how frequently does she practice the piano, how does she earn money, how does she stay in shape, what does her living space look like, how does she choose to respond when faced with a less than ideal situation, etc.
Moments of reflection and gratitude have allowed me to intentionally shape a life that brings me more joy and fulfillment when compared to two years ago. There is still work to be done, but it has helped. Try it out for yourself sometime. And if you do, let me know. I’d love to talk to you about the experience.