Dear Post-Pandemic Gianna,
I know the last year and a half has been… rough to say the least.
While I knew that we would get out of this pandemic someday, it was hard to see in the beginning what the future would look like, and who I would be by then. And though we’re not fully there, seeing the light at the end of the tunnel has made me start to reflect upon the lessons learned, about myself and about life during the pandemic.
While it is impossible to know exactly what will happen in the future, here is my wishlist of goals for the future based on what I learned during the peak of the pandemic.
Continue holding space for a judgement-free zone.
Historically you have been harder on yourself than you would be on anyone else. It could be for a number of reasons, for feeling ashamed of your body, feeling like people didn’t support you or believe in you, having big dreams that you didn’t want to let go of, or just pouring everything into proving people wrong. Yes, you’ve been a fighter, and over the pandemic, you somehow worked longer hours and more jobs than you had ever done in the past. You have tried to keep up your dancing, and fitness, and tried to maintain relationships with those you love and care for. But you’ve also been kinder to yourself than you ever have. Your growth as a dancer, as a singer, as a teacher, and as a person has come from the kindness you’ve started giving to yourself. Giving yourself permission to accept a failure, or to say no to another job, for changes in your body, or to eat things that make you happy have changed your life. You have learned that being kind to yourself allows for the brainspace to create beautiful things, to invest more love in those who really deserve it, and to heal you from the things in your past which haven’t been dealt with yet. Putting all the pressure back on yourself will not only prevent more of this type of amazing growth, but will also take away your newfound happiness and ease. Please keep this part of yourself as you go on.
The pandemic has led to slowing down, feeling your emotions in real time, and accepting them.
Invest in yourself.
It can be hard to spend money, I know, especially when you have always felt that money shouldn’t be taken for granted. It has been nice to see you start to invest in yourself. While spending a little extra on a nice haircut might not have been necessary, paying for singing lessons or on an audition outfit you feel great in for post-Covid times definitely was a valuable use of your money. Making bigger purchases, such as a car that won’t break down, or spending money on training programs has also been a major financial investment at this time, which is serving you well. Even when it may feel scary to see the money in your bank account going down, please try and remember that investments have returns and currency flows - if you make a smart, educated investment, the returns will be just as fulfilling.
Patience is important.
You have always been so impatient. It is hard to wait for things to happen, especially when you are in a field that depends on being ready in the moment. You have been known to make snap judgements, and to act without weighing the pros and cons. The lockdown on the performing arts halted some huge payoffs you had been waiting for, career-wise. It is so easy to grow impatient as you wait for normalcy to return, and to allow that impatience to turn into anger, or sadness, or even apathy. However, in this time you have learned a lot about patience. You have waited to get back to the studio, waited for your students to come back, and continue to wait for normalcy… or the new normal, to return. Be patient for just a little longer, with yourself and with the industry, and things will start to come back, maybe even better than before. Having patience, and waiting through the nearly fourteen months of the pandemic so far has allowed you to see what life was like before, and given you the opportunity to turn that chaotic, non-stop energy into something more gentle and fulfilling. Continue to be patient, it will help you to make smarter and more deliberate choices down the road.
Always try to be the true you.
I remember someone telling me that struggle brings out the best in people, but I would argue that going through hardship only shows the world who you really are, and forces you to face whatever parts of yourself you have chosen to ignore. When you were younger, and especially once you got to college and got a taste of the real world, you started putting on layers and becoming someone who couldn’t be hurt, but it also meant hiding the real you, and the person you were becoming. This pandemic has led you to shed the skins that weren’t serving you anymore, the ones that hurt you and the ones that were holding you back. Pre-pandemic, life was moving so quickly around you, and it didn’t allow you the time to get to know yourself. The time in lockdown was an unintentional, intense time of self-exploration.The pandemic has led to slowing down, feeling your emotions in real time, and accepting them. During the pandemic you decided to stop investing time and energy into things that bring you down, therefore, keeping you positive. You are confident. You are engaged and focused. You know what you want and are willing to put yourself out there to do it. People say that you are open, relatable, and they feel like they can know you better. Most importantly, you know yourself better now. You know your worth and your potential, and behave in a way that lets others see that too. Moving forward, continue to be genuine, and honest, and kind. Continue to stand up for yourself and go for what you want.
In summary, Future Me, I hope that you will think of this pandemic as a blip on the radar, and the moments of fear, anxiety, and sadness that came with it as fleeting emotions. This wishlist shouldn’t just be that- a wish- but more of an intention and promise to yourself. At this point, I feel as though I am finally growing into my skin, and I am so optimistic for the future and what is to come post-pandemic. The lessons learned while in lockdown, and challenges you’ve overcome to continue finding purpose in this ‘new normal’ are what you should keep close to you, as you continue to grow, learn, and become the best person you can be. I can’t wait to see what comes next.