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The zombie apocalypse

I don't know if you follow Mel Robbins or not, I personally love listening to her New York wisdom. She's painfully honest with her stories and I think that's why I love listening to her.

I'm going to share with you her email of this afternoon, no not to me personally

(although it kind of feels like it)

as she refers to the pandemic just as we've all described it here in our village, like something out of a zombie apocalypse film!

The only one I've watched was with Simon Pegg but I get her point!

Now we're slowly creeping out of our homes blinking in the lukewarm spring sunlight, how do you feel looking back?

Has it all been a bad dream like Bobby Ewing getting out of the shower a year after he died?

I knew you would want to see it again, can you believe that was 35 years ago??!!

So why am I including this? Well, March is all about debt awareness, or at the least, making a fresh start on your financial wellbeing after the year we've just experienced.

It can be hard to think about a smart professional woman being in financial trouble especially a sell out on stage / got her own tv program kind of woman. But she has more than once fallen apart in every sense, I find her style and her resilience so refreshing & inspiring that I hope you will too. You see we're not alone!

Hey Lucy, Remember me? It’s your pal Mel. I know, it’s been a while. I actually checked. The last time I sent you a letter was in October. In it, I asked you "What you wanted your life to look like," and thousands of you responded with incredible things to say. I find it ironic that I ended that newsletter saying by "Talk to you next week…" and then proceeded to ghost you. I didn’t mean to. It’s just that the wheels came off in my life, like so many things did in the pandemic. And, so, here we are six months later, and we’re still standing. I appreciate you still being here with me. I woke up today and realized it was exactly one year ago that the pandemic turned my life upside down. Isn’t that wild?! If you think about it, it was probably right around now that it turns yours upside down too. The NBA had just canceled its season, hand sanitizer was starting to fly off the shelves, and none of us had a clue how much our lives were about to change. One of the things that helped me find my courage and clarity this past year is reminding myself something I deeply believe about life:

This moment is preparing you for something you can’t see yet. There is an experience, a person, a skill, or a lesson that you need for something amazing that is coming next.

Trusting that perspective has been a game changer in my life and it grounds me in faith and hope. It helps me maintain my humility and perspective when life is easy and it helps me find my resilience and strength when life is hard. And boy, were these last twelve months hard as hell. A year ago today, I was in New York City taping the 168th episode for Season One of my new daytime talk show, The Mel Robbins Show. Around 4:30 P.M., I walked into the control room to debrief with the team and my Executive Producer, Mindy Borman, announced the news: "We just heard from CBS, they found Covid-19 in the building." You could hear a pin drop in the room. She continued, "They allowed us to stay a few minutes to finish taping this episode but now we need to evacuate the building." Then she turned to me and said, "I’m so sorry, Mel. The show has been cancelled, the season is over, and we need to leave the building right now." Life always changes like that, in an instant. And even if you know it’s coming, you’re never quite ready for it. We all stood there in silence for a second. No one knew what to do. You could hear the fire trucks approaching in the distance and as their sirens got louder and louder, someone said, "Well, I’m outta here." And then, everyone scattered. Mindy and I ran up the back staircase and headed straight to my dressing room. Mel, take everything of yours that you can carry. Who knows when we are going to be able to get back inside this building. I grabbed everything that wasn’t nailed down: dozens of blazers, my collection of sparkly high top sneakers, my favorite jeans, a bottle of gin that I had stashed under the sink, and a robe with the show logo embroidered on it that Sony Pictures Television had given me as a gift when the talk show debuted eight months prior. I jammed everything into two large garbage bags and we dragged them toward the

elevator. I was trying to be my normal upbeat self, but honestly, in this photo of us in the hallway at CBS, I’m just in shock:

It happened so fast, I never had a chance to say goodbye to the team of 135 people that I had been working with for eight months. The fire trucks were parked outside as we left the building, pulling my bags behind me. Across 57th Street, the rest of our talk show team was evacuating our office building, along with the staff from 60 Minutes, Last Week with John Oliver, and Entertainment Tonight. A production assistant had run to get my car from a parking garage and pulled it up in front of CBS Broadcast Centre. I hugged Mindy, got in my car, and pulled onto the West Side Highway. All I could think was: What the hell is happening. As I drove up I-95, with the New York City skyline disappearing in the rearview mirror, I felt like I was in the opening scene of a zombie apocalypse movie. Within a week, our college-aged daughters were back home. And, I had gone from pursuing my dreams to hoarding toilet paper with the rest of the world. Every morning that first week, when all five of us were home, our house was a tsunami of emotions. The kids were in shock, angry, frustrated, and revolted against our quarantine rules. When it was clear the "You'll come back after spring break" message that every college was sending was a joke our house was in a full-on nuclear meltdown: "I can’t go back to school? Noooooooooo! I can’t leave the house? I can’t see my friends? No one has Covid, mom. You’re acting insane."

I felt insane. I was sad. Chris was sad. We were drinking way too much. My business started to feel like it was in a financial free-fall. Speeches were canceling left and right and then my publisher laid off 45% of its staff, and my book contract was canceled. This meant I had to return the advance the publisher had given me over a year ago; money I had already spent. It felt like I was trying to pack a parachute while falling off a cliff. Then we got the news that one of our daughters’ closest friends at Boston College lost his dad to Covid-19. He died on a ventilator in New Jersey. He was 51. Exactly my age. Then my friend’s mom. Then another friend. I started to hear the same thing from people all around the world who follow me online: I'm overwhelmed, I'm sad, I'm angry. I’m scared for my parents. I don't know what to do. I just lost my job. I’m a frontline worker and I’m exhausted. I'm scared I'm going to lose my business. I felt the exact same way. When your life changes, it always brings up old shit. And my old shit includes nearly going bankrupt, struggling with anxiety, and periods of my life when I was drinking myself senseless. So the pandemic and the fallout in my life was what you might call a "trigger." I felt like I was in a financial free-fall again. I started reaching for the booze to numb my mind, just like I had done a decade ago. I started feeling stuck and powerless, just like I did a decade ago. I started bitching at my husband, Chris, just like I had done a decade ago. I started second guessing myself, just like I did a decade ago. What I needed during this time was the same thing you needed: reassurance and encouragement. I needed to be reminded that this moment was temporary and my dreams still mattered. I needed to be told that my losses and sadness were real and that I was allowed to acknowledge them and grieve. I needed to be reminded that I had the strength within me to figure it out and build something even better in the future. I needed someone to tell me that I would be okay. I needed to be told the truth: I had faced challenges before and this challenge, like all the others, would make me a better version of myself and make my life more meaningful. The truth is, at 51, I didn’t feel like reinventing myself, yet again. The idea was overwhelming and it pissed me off. Do you know how many times I had already reinvented my fucking life? I bet you can relate to that feeling too. Plus, I didn't know what to say to my kids who were struggling with sadness, anger, depression, and anxiety, having just had their lives and their independence cancelled. I didn’t know how to keep my team motivated when I didn’t feel motivated. I felt isolated and lonely. The only person who seemed to be doing okay was our 15-year-old son Oakley, and that’s probably because we were all so overwhelmed, we just left him alone and he played video games for 16 straight hours every day. One morning, I was standing there in front of the sink brushing my teeth and I thought: God Mel, you look like hell. And I did. The woman in the mirror looked pale, exhausted, and beaten down. I felt bad for her. She was sad and lost. She was worried about her kids, her parents, her husband, her finances, her business, the frontline workers, and everyone on the planet who had the virus. But, who was worried about her? She needed encouragement. She needed to be reminded of who she was and the strength inside her. She needed someone to cheer her on. I wanted to give her a pep talk, but the words evaporated inside me. So, I gave her the only thing I had to give: I lifted up my hand and gave my reflection a high five in the mirror. It was a simple gesture, yes a little cheesy, but it was an act of kindness toward myself. Something I needed. And even better, it didn’t require me to have to say a damn thing. The act of raising your hand to give yourself a high five is a form of cheering, encouragement, and optimism. You don’t need to give yourself a motivational speech. The action speaks louder than words ever could. Honestly, it felt good. When you high five yourself in the mirror, you are fulfilling your fundamental emotional needs. You see yourself. You hear yourself saying, "Great job" or "You can do it" or just, "I love you." And, you are acknowledging your unique self, because you are affirming your physical presence and whatever it is you’re facing in your life at that exact moment. A high five is also something a teammate or a coach gives you to acknowledge your effort. When you high five yourself, you’re recognizing your own strength and potential. You’re saying, "You can get yourself out of this mess. You can rely on yourself. You can seize this opportunity and meet this moment." You’re saying, "I believe in you." A high five to your reflection makes you feel like you are not alone. It affirms that you’ve got your own back, and you always will. That person returning your gaze is someone you can trust, and someone you should learn to love, because of the nearly eight billion people on the planet, you’re the one person who will never leave you. What started this morning has become a daily habit, and I now see so many of you around the world high-fiving yourself in the mirror too.

That’s why I wanted to write to you today, for the first time in nearly six months. Yes, the pandemic turned my world upside down, and I finally feel like I’m back on my feet again, the wiser and the better for all that I’ve gone through. That daily high five habit saved me and so did reminding myself that this challenge was preparing me for something to come.

So, I wanted to reach out today and give you a high five. I wanted to tell you, you’ve done an amazing job this past year facing everything that life has thrown at you. I wanted to raise my hand, in a virtual salute, and say "I see you" and "I am proud of you" and most importantly, "I believe in your ability to take everything you’ve learned this year about yourself and what matters to you, and use it to make this next year of your life one that’s worth celebrating." The pandemic made me realise how critical it is to keep your dreams alive, no matter what is happening in the world around you. You can’t give up your dreams because when you do, you give up on yourself. No matter what’s happened in your life this year, good or bad, your dreams are still inside you. They are there waiting in the back of your mind. You need them now more than ever. As the world starts to come out of lockdown, right now is the time to turn toward those dreams. I want you to pull them from the back of your mind and use those dreams of yours like a search light to guide you forward. The life you dream about is absolutely within your reach. You can have the body you’re proud of, the work that makes you feel alive, the greatest love of your life, and despite what you've told yourself, you are never too old, or too young, and it's never the wrong time to reinvent your life, even if, like me, you don’t fucking feel like it. You have a beautiful life ahead of you, and every single morning, you have a choice. You have a choice when you look in the mirror to stop picking yourself apart, and start picking yourself up. You are capable of achieving anything, as long as you learn how to cheer yourself on. At the beginning of my note, I said that one of the things that helped me this past year is telling myself that this moment is preparing me for something incredible that’s coming. Every day I’d remind myself that there is a person, an experience, a skill or a lesson that I needed during this pandemic for something amazing that will happen down the road. That perspective has been a game changer, and that brings me back to you. I have two questions to ask you: 1. What’s the biggest lesson that you’ve learned about yourself and your life during the past 12 months? 2. What might change in your life if you started cheering for yourself?

PS: I’ve launched a new video series on YouTube. It drops every Thursday and it's called #WhatTheMEL. It’s your weekly dose of inspiration, insight, advice, and of course a lot of humour. I'd love for you to check it out and subscribe!


So I will leave you there with your thoughts - please feel free to start a chat in the forums. They're brand new and lonely, they need some attention.

Like my dog, he's shouting at me to go for a walk... bye for now

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