letter #009 | dear younger me: rest.


Letter #009

March 13, 2023

lessons from the mountaintops

The day after my birthday, I took a 3-day trip up to the mountains with my partner. We drove up after a fresh snow had kissed the tops of all the trees there and our little cabin seemed like it was just floating amongst the mountaintops.

This was only my second time vacationing in the mountains, but with each trip, the serenity and simplicity of my time there captivated and moved me deeply.

There is something to be said about the slow and intentional pace of life in the mountains. Of life largely removed from the overstimulation of suburb and city life.

There was no honking, no loud car exhausts, no yelling, and the pace and intentionality with which everyone we met seemed to move, was truly inspiring. My partner and I both marveled during our time there that, “Wow, this is how life…should always be.”

The day we returned from our trip, our schedules changed at the last minute and we found ourselves both rushing off to meet with clients directly following our rental car drop-off.

It was a stark and unsettling contrast to the slow, intentional, and ease-filled living we had been experiencing for the past couple days.

I felt rudely jolted back into my “everyday life,” similar to the way an old rollercoaster jerks you choppily over its tracks.

It was an unwelcome feeling for sure, but in it, I realized a few things:

I no longer wanted that sense of deep and slow and intentional living to be a sort of “emergency brake” feeling that I only allowed after my stress levels had been disturbingly high for weeks to months on end.

Once I became an entrepreneur, that correlation grew to also include a metric of how much money I was making.

what is the cost of “making it”?

At the top of this year, I realized that my business was on track to having its first six-figure year. That felt pretty huge to me, a very significant benchmark to pass and in a way, I told myself that once I reached that goal, I had “made it.”

But what does that mean?

More specifically, what would the cost of “making it” be?

Now, as I soak up the past week’s gatherings and its many shared exchanges and declarations of love, that “goal” has all but dissolved.

I am retiring the idea that my worth and North Star should be tied to how much money I make or how many clients I have.

As I go forth into my 27th year, I want my North Star to be composed of:

  • the positive impact I am making
  • my physical strength and the rest, care, and nourishment I give to my mind and body
  • the steady and consistent time that I dedicate toward honing my crafts and developing my passion projects
  • the depth, strength, and authenticity of my relationships
  • the alignment of my inner voice to my outward actions

Personally, I am really growing to reject the constantly in-your-face narrative that celebrates chronic sleep deprivation, dangerously high stress levels, 60+ hour weeks, etc.

Having minimal to no time and energy for introspection, reflective work, family and friends (that, even then, is often interrupted by frequent notification checks) is just not the life I want for myself going forward.

I want peace.

I want to recognize and celebrate simple joys often.

I want gratitude and the softer side of Black femininity to wrap me tightly in its embrace and strengthen me gently.

pivoting: when was the last time you regretted following your gut?

It’s been almost two years since the last time my best friend tried to call me.

It was a Saturday morning in April, about a month before he took his own life.

I remember watching the phone ring and the sheer heaviness that I felt just trying to manage life back then. I told myself that I would call him back when I had more energy and wasn’t so tired, but unfortunately, never got that chance.

Despite being a business owner and “making my own schedule” even back then, I felt extremely tethered to the constant catering of my clients’ every need, often to the detriment of myself.

I was working 60+ hour weeks, with occasionally one—but usually no—days off, eating out constantly because there was never time or energy left to grocery shop and cook, poorly sleeping, etc.

I was successful by society’s standards, but suffering so deeply by my own.

I was making more money than I once thought was possible, but to this day, I would give it all back to have just had the energy to pick up my best friend’s call that day.

It was the last time he called me and the next time I saw his name on my phone, it was in a text informing me that he had passed away.

It feels like it’s been a long time coming, but this week, I will actually be taking proactive steps to reduce my clientele so I can reallocate that time and energy toward myself and other endeavors.

I fought against this notion internally for a long time, but I know inside that it needs to happen.

Recently, one of my mentors asked me whether I had ever regretted following my gut and the answer was a resounding no.

This move runs so counter to the way I’ve lived most of my life: chronically stressed, constantly rushing, not getting enough sleep, and rarely, if ever, making time for myself, and to give back to Amahni.

So this year is dedicated to that:

To honoring who I am at my core.

To slowly and deliberately making time for rest and unbridled joy and stepping forth toward my deepest goals, regardless of whether anyone else sees the value in them but me.

going forward…with light.

I’m steadily learning the importance of intentional rest and care for oneself and how necessary it is to turn some of the love we give others back inward toward ourselves, too.
I am learning the importance of just celebrating simple joys, sincere efforts, and the smallest instances of progress.

I don’t know what all comes after this.

Of this lightening of my workload and the gaining of more time to just sit with myself. To read more books and newsletters. To write and journal more. To explore new walking paths and heal and speak and really learn who I am and what I want for my life.

I don’t know what all comes after this.

But I feel empowered knowing that I can create something meaningful regardless.

I am so grateful for this life.

And I am grateful for you being here, too.

I’d love to hear from you.

Have any thoughts about this letter? Did anything resonate with you? Got an idea for something you’d like to see in a future letter?

Just reply to this email to let me know. I’m happy to hear from you and respond to every message.

Please make time to rest this week, Reader. Thanks for reading and I'll see you Monday.

With love,

Welcome to the Dear Younger Me newsletter! I'm so glad you're here.

I write weekly letters on personal development, life, and what I'm learning along the way. Delivered straight to your inbox every week.

Read more from Welcome to the Dear Younger Me newsletter! I'm so glad you're here.

how long? as long. Letter #027 June 16, 2024 dear younger me, This letter’s going to take on somewhat of a different form than usual. Or at least that’s what it feels like as I start this one—perhaps you can let me know after? Oftentimes, when I set out to write these letters, I feel: inspired, and positive, hopeful, and sometimes, even excited and upbeat. But honestly, I don’t really feel most of that circulating within me right now…maybe hope, but that’s it. And I don’t think that’s...

i dedicate this next part to you. 🚗 Letter #026 May 19, 2024 dear younger me, There’s something I would like to share with you 🤍 In 34 days, I’ll be moving on from sunny Southern California, the place I’ve called home for the last 10 years. I’d like to say this decision came after much deliberation…but it didn’t lol. I made it on Thursday and it just might be the easiest yes of my life so far. I’ve shared this plan with a few folks in person and the first question after “wtf, are you...

this isn't it for you. Letter #025 March 31, 2024 dear younger me, Good morning. I'm currently emerging from the most intense depressive episode I've ever experienced. I know that's probably not the intro you expected on this delightful Easter Sunday. But it's the truth. No long intro today—let's just get into it. in today's letter, we'll explore: world bipolar day (march 30th) my attempt to describe depression to someone who's never had it shame & mental illness→ when was the last time shame...