With every new year comes the feeling and drive to set new goals and intentions. If our involvement in the Beauty has taught us one thing, it is that there needs to be focus on self-love in addition to the promotion of physical beauty. 2018 is the year to forge ahead on the journey towards honouring and embracing ourselves wholly! It’s time to truly embody the notion of être bien dans sa peau. After all, you have to learn to love and honour yourself before you will truly expect others to. To help inspire you on your path, we ask our Academy Director Sherelle French to share her personal thoughts for 2018 with us…
It is that time of the year when we start to think of what is important, what to change , what to strive for and what to leave behind. For me, I am entering my 47th year , and I now know what they mean when they talk about entering a “mid life crisis.” Having recently had cancer and a near death experience, I know all too well the importance of cherishing every single moment and being grateful, but this mid year crisis brings something different.
It is in this 47th year of my life as I reflect here beside my fire in Italy that I contemplate a little sadly about how fast things have gone. Why it seemed like only yesterday that I was a girl in high school with big fanciful dreams and a life stretched out before me. Where has that time gone? The embers are dying down on the fire now and as I stare into them I hear my nana’s high pitch giggle and my mother in law’s wise voice as she offers me advise on being a new mother. I can hear my father in law chuckle as he lifts my daughter Mignon on his knee, all the while saying, “Who’s the pretty girl? Who’s Poppy’s baby?” All of them have gone now and all is silent.
Now in my 47th year I see myself in my own two daughters just as if I was a fly on the wall of their life. I see them skipping into life with wide eyed anticipation, I hear them longing to be older and more independent and my melancholy reflections make me say things to them that puzzle them like, “ just enjoy every moment, it goes so fast” and “when I was a girl____oh that feels just like yesterday.”
I believe that it is at this “mid life crisis” moment that we keenly become aware that life is speeding up and that longest half of anyone’s life is the first 21 years . We become aware that the end is fast approaching and until this point it had all been a great silent and unknown quest for meaning. We all started this quest the moment we were born . There have been times we have lost ourselves in other things , a job, a hobby, a relationship, but we always come back to the knowledge that we are on this journey. At times I have looked at passersbyes and wondered, do they feel the same as I do? Or maybe they have grasped “it” and only I have lost the way.
A wise man once said to me over 20 years ago, to obtain true happiness and contentment in life, you must have three things. If any one of these is missing, then you will feel a hole in your heart that can’t be filled. Now as I reflect back on these words, I see the wisdom in them. These three simple principles still ring true for me and even more in my stage of life. He said, you need someone to love, something meaningful to do and something to look forward to.
Someone to love
In late 2010 when the doctor told me I had ovarian cancer, one of the first things I thought of was how precious the relationships I had were to me. Not a single moment was wasted with those I loved in the months directly after this diagnosis and I also became keenly aware of not losing precious time with idle or negative conversations or relationships that were toxic and not genuine. My relationships became 100% authentic and current. What I mean by that is that if I was to die that very moment, that everything was up to date, all my love had been spoken, hurts voiced, resentment and anger put to bed, everything had been made current and authentic. I must admit this did require some hard conversations and a willingness to be open and honest about past hurts , misunderstandings or walls that had built up unnecessarily between those who meant the most to me. This state of living authentically and making one’s relationships current is truly liberating. It is as if the weight of all the unseen baggage I carried magically evaporated and was replaced by light. I found it freed me.
Something meaningful to do
I think this is a big one for many people. Having met 100’s and 100’s of girls through The French Beauty Academy each year, I am keenly aware of the great need that everyone has to find something meaningful to do. I believe that God has a purpose for each person here on earth and like I say all the time to my daughters, you have been born here at this moment in history, with all your unique gifts and talents for a purpose that only you can play. Once you discover these gifts and align them with your divine purpose- then the magic begins. In a small way, I feel that the my purpose and that of the French Beauty Academy is to help students uncover those gifts and set them on the right direction. My advice to you is to never begin that search for meaningful purpose by chasing money. I would begin by looking for ways that you can use your gifts to benefit society and those around you and concentrate on giving and adding value. I promise you that if you do this that a profound sense of purpose will ensue and money will follow behind that.
Something to look forward to
For me, this is a very important part of why I continue to set yearly goals. In my life’s quest for meaning, I have become strikingly aware that the reaching for and obtaining the goal only affords you fleeting happiness. Soon that joy you had so keenly anticipated evaporates and you are left wondering, what next. I now realise, as I look back on my life, that it has been in the fun of striving and the anticipation of reaching the goal- that the joy occurred. That is why despite having reached every single goal I have ever made for myself (some have taken many more years that I anticipated, but all have come just at the right time) that I still take the time to write new ones down today. Believe me, the joy that comes from obtaining things is fleeting but the journey is priceless.
The fire has died out now and the house is quiet. I guess my reflections for new years can be summed up this way: Every day of the year, you can begin a new you, new year. These three life lessons centre more around one’s character rather than what one has, gets or looses in 2018. For me, this happiness does not depend on what a person does in 2018 but what a person is.
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