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๐ŸŒŸ Letter #41 from a Learn-it-all ๐ŸŒŸ

6 min

A pre-pandemic letter within a letter

Hello fellow learn-it-all,

Greetings from snowy Chicago โ„

๏ธIt's been such a fun week welcoming in the new year and taking in time with family. ย I've been attempting to have more play instead of constant productivity. This letter is going to be briefer as I have deliberately minimized my screen time for time outdoors (photos included at the end). It's harder than you think being brought up in such a motivated family.

Without a doubt 2020 has rocked the boat. Life got shaken up, where things that seemed impossible became possible. It became a forcing function to question our lives more than ever before.

It's been a complex year with ups and downs, but above all a year to reflect and appreciate the most important things in life, ย which we usually take for granted. It's made me realize what I am truly grateful for: health, family, wellness, the people we love. Hopefully, 2021 brings new horizons and new projects but above all the essentials: health, relationships, growth, learning, and creativity.

If you are new here or missed last week's edition, you can catch up on the past letters here. If you are reading this for the first time, Iโ€™d love it if you signed up below:

Now, letโ€™s dive into letter 41 from a learn-it-all. Enjoy!

โœ‰๏ธ Reminder to open your letters

Back in Letter 27, I added an exercise as a call to action for you all to write a letter to your future self.

But first, why did I ask this of each of you?

This challenge was a way to pause before the fall and winter flew by. Its purpose was to put your best foot forward in the new year by capturing memories, thoughts, feelings, and learnings from 2020. Plus, it will be a nice gift to yourself at the start of 2021.

You don't know what to write about? The audience is for yourself so don't limit yourself. Here are some questions to kickstart the process for you:

Coincidentally, I wrote three letters to my future self at around the quarter marks of this past year that I recently opened. In the next part of this letter, I'll share the letter I wrote at the start of the pandemic. ย Wowzers, quite meta to have a letter within a letter ๐Ÿคฏ.

๐Ÿค” Reflecting

As I just mentioned I had the privilege of time travel. I journeyed back in time to the state of mind I was in before going back to Michigan to quarantine for the pandemic on March 15.

You probably can't make out my chicken scratch all too well. I'll share some impressions here from it:

To wrap this up, I want to share why I am going to continue to write my future self letters like these. I had a breakthrough today on why I find this so fulfilling.

These letters have been a part of my self-love practice this past year while simultaneously jumpstarting my mindset to reflect on what has happened. My love language (the way I like to receive love) is words of affirmation. This means that I highly value reading supportive words as opposed to receiving a gift, or act of service. There are five love languages based on Gary Chapman's book and you can take an assessment to find out your own here.

๐Ÿ–Š Writing

I have been processing my annual reflection. It is still far from complete.

These things take time. It's hard to press go and just magically have everything percolate on command like a genie asking for wishes. I am shooting to share highlights next week with you. In the meantimeโ€ฆ

Four thoughts while reflecting

1. The dichotomy has surfaced where I ask myself what is the ideal ratio of "being" versus "becoming"? I fear that if we are always trying to become something that we are not, then we do not enjoy the present. The growth orientation of constantly striving can backfire here.

2. While re-reading old journal entries from this past year, I realized that I don't review ideas enough. I want to be more cognizant of this in the future. It tends to seem boring to reread that old book or relisten to a podcast, but it's so powerful to crystallize ideas.

3. It's easy to think that grief is the same as gloom, but I don't agree. The gift of life itself is to appreciate what you have. Loss is a reminder of this. ย So when you have a fear of missing out (aka FOMO), remember that at least you recognize what you could be missing out on in the first place. That concert that got canceled. That company that made cuts. That family wedding that got postponed.

4. I am hesitant to create New Yearโ€™s Resolutions. I've been thinking about what we should resolve to do instead of changing ourselves every year.

๐Ÿ”Ž Word to define

Resolution: a firm decision to do or not to do something

The act, operation, or process of resolving. Specifically: (a) The act of separating a compound into its elements or component parts. (b) The act of analyzing a complex notion, or solving a vexed question or difficult problem.; a settled purpose; determination.

Etymology: late Middle English: from Latin resolution and from resolvere meaning to โ€˜loosen, releaseโ€™

Example: Let's make a resolution to not make new year's resolutions!

๐ŸŒŸ Quote to inspire

"The mind is everything. What you think you become." -Buddha

๐Ÿ’ญ Question to ponder

What do you hope 2021 has in store for you?

๐Ÿ“ท Photos of the Week

I got my cardio in with some family and friends going up and down this sledding hill countless times. The races were a hoot, so much that we managed to wreck two of the sleds. There was this jump where we all kept hitting and getting major air. I'm just glad I didn't get another concussion as 10-year-old Jen did.

I hit the slopes with my siblings for a couple of days. The warming hut was closed, so it became a challenge to see how long we could stay warm without getting frostbitten fingers and toes. The first day we made it 4 hours and the second day to 6 hours. I truly felt like I was in sync with the Wim Hof Method.

๐Ÿ™ Shoutouts

To Nate Kadlac for planting the seed for me to potentially adding an audio version to these letters.

I appreciate you reading this! If certain ideas resonated or you have feedback to improve my future newsletters, Iโ€™d love you to leave a comment, reply to this email, or send me a message on Twitter @JenVermet.

Never stop learning ๐Ÿ˜

Until next week,


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