This is NOT the Trip I Planned For! (Part 3)
This is the 3rd and final entry in my 3-part remix of the “Welcome to Holland” essay (you can check out part 1 here and part 2 here. I’m really amazed by all the great feedback I’ve received about this series…thanks for reading!
So you’re in Finland and you’re starting to get better and better at this new life. Yes, there’s mountains to climb, but you’re meeting people along the way and you’re finding out maybe this isn’t as bad as you originally thought. Heck, you’re even taking time to help others who are in the same place as you were. No before you stumble and go rolling down the mountain, let’s find out the three remaining tips I have for making your new home a great home:
7. Slow Down and Take Care of Yourself
Appointments! Appointments everywhere! And sleep? What the heck is that?
The reality is that Heart Parents: we’re total bosses. We can totally kick butt at this life once we set our minds to it and have good support. But just like a muscle that you work out, you will eventually get a little bit fatigued. Sometimes that fatigue is physical, sometimes mental, and sometimes emotional. That’s why it’s important to take some time to take care of yourself. After all, you can’t climb your mountain if you’re falling asleep at red lights. You can’t welcome someone to Finland if you can’t even get your butt outta bed. You are allowed to take care of yourself too! Ignoring your own well-being doesn’t make you some kind of hero…a real hero knows their limits. Go do something nice for yourself every now and then. Tell yourself that you’re pretty stinkin’ awesome. Be proud of the things you’ve accomplished. Get involved in a hobby. You’ll find that there are moments (a lot of them free or cheap) that can help you center yourself and make you really happy and focused. For more tips on self-care, read this post.
8. DON’T. EVER. GIVE. UP.
Don’t do it! You can do this…I can do this…we can do this! When you’re getting worn down, think about how much better things are than yesterday, or a year ago. Think about your heart warrior: look at how good he’s doing and how strong he’s getting. Think about every smile, every laugh, every step you’ve fought for. Grab onto those things, focus on them, dwell on them. Reach out for the hand of another traveler on this journey. We can help! And when that time comes and you’re down, but you start to think on the good things and gain some perspective, you start to realize you have more in the tank than you thought and you can keep going even stronger!
So when the mountain seems too tall, just know you’re not doing it for yourself. Someone depends on you. And when you’ve climbed all you can climb, you’ll find that you can climb a whole lot more.
9. Look Back…and Give Thanks
One day you will get to the top of the mountain you’ve been climbing. And when you do that I want you to stop and rest. Even for just a moment. Then turn around and look…look at how far you came. Maybe there in the distance you see where your plane landed when you arrived here in Finland. And maybe if you squint you can see the pile of stuff you thought you’d use for a trip to Hawaii but eventually left there. And then you can see where the mountain started, or that point where you slipped up and threw a grown-up tantrum, or the times you were scared or felt alone. And those times you met great people along the way. How…awesome!
Once you’ve gained that perspective, take some time to actually celebrate! You kicked that Fontan’s butt? Throw a party! You worked your butt off to pay off those medical bills? Well maybe you can’t afford a party, so – I dunno – throw down a pack of Ho-Hos and dance in your living room. Whatever it is, party like a boss. You deserve it! Live that moment up because you know when you turn around again there’s gonna be another mountain. But this time you’re armed to defeat it.
So there you have it. My remixed, brand new, 2015 version of “Welcome to Holland.” I really hope that “This is NOT the Trip I Planned For” has meant a lot to you. I also really hope you share this with your friends and also that sometime in the future you periodically come back to read these 3 entries so that you don’t forget what it’s like to live in Finland. And no, I’m not knocking Finland at all, I hear it’s a great country…it’s just a random one I picked that seemed like the extreme opposite of Hawaii. But I do want everyone to realize that we’re currently all living in Finland together…and when you think about it…Finland is awesome, Finland is beautiful, and Finland has probably given us a more meaningful experience than Hawaii ever could have, right? So let’s enjoy our time here, friends!