Is it my newfound life outlook after surviving breast cancer? Post traumatic stress disorder from a close encounter with death? Being forced to grow up and deal with a major setback? Rough transition to midlife? Adjusting to the practical American adult-ing life? Or all of the above?
I can't pinpoint the exact trigger but this year, I've been experiencing major changes in the way I see and view life. One day, I woke up and it's as though I don't know this new mind and body my soul is inhabiting.
At the early stages of realizing this, acceptance didn't come easy. For 38 years, I thought I already mastered myself by identifying so well how I function as a human, what works for me and what doesn't. But as I start to rebuild life and recover from treatment, the tides have definitely turned. I'm a changed woman.
After lots of self-reflection, reading self-help books, researching online, talk therapy with family and friends and sessions with my shrink, I'm gently coming to a place of joyfully embracing and enjoying my new "normal" .
What is my THEN and NOW? Here are some that comes to mind right now. I'm sure there's more to add as I go through the transition.
THEN: I remember everything... names, streets, grocery list, cities, all kinds of information. They stick in my head fast and stays there.
NOW: I have to list things down or keep repeating the information in my head so I don't forget. Yup, chemo brain is real and as I patiently wait until it wears off, I have my NOTES to keep track.
THEN: Fancy restaurants, trendy clubs and cool bars are my jam.
NOW: Cozy cafes, hole in the wall authentic food shops or a warm couch and a glass of wine with a good book is where I'd rather be.
THEN: I operate in a fast pace and get everything done on my own because other people are having a hard time keeping up with me.
NOW: I move at a slower yet steadier pace and allow other people to assist me if it will help accomplish tasks faster and more efficiently.
THEN: I wear the lace nightie at home because it looks hot.
NOW: I wear cute pajamas with a fuzzy robe because it feels warm and comfy.
THEN: Long hair is attractive.
NOW: Short 'do is so chic and unique.
THEN: I easily snap at people who seem foolish, strange, negative or insecure.
NOW: I've become more compassionate, patient and understanding that maybe, just maybe, they came from a traumatic life experience and still finding ways to cope and recover from it.
THEN: Money, looks and fame is everything.
NOW: Good health, solid relationships and financial freedom is all that matters.
THEN: I unconsciously take care of others' needs and feelings first.
NOW: I check if I feel good and that my needs are met first before I agree to bend back for others.
THEN: Pampering such as massages, pedicures, and retail therapy are luxury.
NOW: They are part of self-care and I deserve to get them on tough days to give myself a break.
THEN: I exercise only when I feel like it and because I want to look hot and skinny.
NOW: Exercising regularly is now mandatory because my mood and inspiration depends on it. It also makes me feel strong and happy. The "looking hot" part is just a bonus.
THEN: I want to socialize, meet and talk to tons of people... basically, be friends with everyone in town. NOW: I limit my circle and cut back to a few but trusted and understanding ones. I'm still open to new friendships only if we can both benefit along the process.
THEN: I go for jobs that pay good, expose me to fabulous networks and give out nice perks and freebies. NOW: I've been working on building the JAYMEE WINS legacy project that gives me so much joy, inspiration and purpose. I have faith that money will come eventually but for now, my soul's happiness is my priority.
THEN: I was a crazy extrovert who wants to be the center of attention and life of the party scene.
NOW: I'm an introvert who is content reading, writing or editing at the corner of a coffee shop or the library.
THEN: Hot, mysterious guys with nice abs and a killer smile that knows all the right flirty lines to say and plays hard to get intrigue me. NOW: A good-hearted, secured, reliable man that shows consistency in his interest, who's got his shit together and is willing to help me achieve the same amuse me.
THEN: Commitment, responsibility, maturity. These words just sound too scary.
NOW: They are what I'm practicing and they are what I now desire to be and to have.
THEN: Delicious food is delicious and I will eat it... regardless if it has trans fat, sugar, gluten, preservatives and coloring.
NOW: Healthy and cleanly prepared meals are good AND delicious and this is what my body is craving for on a regular basis. The unhealthy ones are for a cheat day.
THEN: Skimpy clothes that show my cleavage, skin and legs matched with heels are the only outfits to wear to feel desirable. NOW: Wearing minimalist fashion such as tight pants along with kitty heels or cute flats that feel comfortable yet still somewhat show my physical assets in a discreet way makes me feel so sexy.
THEN: I bank on my pretty looks and how many heads I turn to measure my self-worth.
NOW: Keeping my wit, personality, character and values in check and count how many people I inspire or brighten up give me that self-given stamp of approval.
THEN: I have tolerance to hear out small talk, drama, bullshit, judgment and gossip because it's still a form of conversation and it makes me feel better knowing other people have it bad.
NOW: I'd rather work on improving myself and my issues or find inspiration to create blogs than engage in that. Oh and I have the balls to call out bullshit now instead of tolerating it.
THEN: Sleep is not important. I can always make up for it on the weekends or during down days.
NOW: I have to have 7-8 hours of sleep a night. Otherwise, my mood is horrible for the day.
THEN: I can live a day without chewing my food well and drinking only 2 glasses of water.
NOW: Not chewing my food well results to indigestion and not drinking 5-7 glasses of water a day gives me headaches. Therefore, they're a must.
THEN: I can survive without deep-rooted relationships. As long as I have money, social networks, and my looks, I'm good.
NOW: I crave for meaningful relationships from family and friends. It can be us just texting real time once in awhile or being next to each other doing nothing... their quality time and loving presence... that means everything. I can no longer go on without that for long periods of time.
THEN: I get a kick from buying expensive, branded things.
NOW: Practical cheap finds such as sale or outlet items or those from Walmart or 99cents Store that are awesome deals give me the thrill.
THEN: Before I post something on social media, I secretly ask, "Will they like it?"
NOW: Before posting, I ask, "Do I like it? Will it somehow make a difference, give joy and inspire?" If yes, I post. If not, I edit and make adjustments, then post.
THEN: I expect way too much in life and in myself. I want absolute perfection in everything.
NOW: I am simply grateful waking up, still breathing and very much alive. And life doesn't have to be perfect. It just has to have a sense of fulfillment and purpose.
THEN: I have to achieve unrealistic goals in this lifetime... look gorgeous, be rich, marry a Prince, travel first class, live in a mansion, drive a luxury car, and be at par with the Joneses. Otherwise, I won't feel accomplished.
NOW: I set realistic goals that I can reach on a day to day basis. It doesn't have to be grand achievements but rather, I feel great attaining them no matter how simple of a task they are like holding a handstand on the wall longer than usual or writing this blog. In the end, it's about celebrating the little day-to-day WINS that eventually contribute to the bigger picture of success in the future.
[TO YOU READING THIS: Have you experienced a life trauma that gave birth to your new "normal'? If so, have you fully embraced and enjoyed them? Change is never easy. But the stretch and growth it gives your spiritual muscles is so worth the transition. So go ahead! Acknowledge, accept and adjust. I'll be cheerfully welcoming you on the other side.]
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