“Not all who wander are lost”
I think I’m finally understanding what my therapist meant when she said, “I need to figure out what I want my life to look and feel like without you.” I think I was trying to race to the finish line by trying to believe that I can get back to my old self and operate and manage my life at the same level I used to before you passed. Like that would be the gauge or barometer to track whether I’m back to “normal” or not. But, now I realized I missed the point completely. I think trying to get back to “normalcy” and keeping “distracted” in November and December made me realize that I've been using the wrong thing to gauge my well-being. I was trying to get back to the person I was before January 7th, but I think I finally realize that's not the right gauge or barometer to use at all. Trying to get back to the person I was before January 7th is literally impossible. I'm setting myself up for failure because it's not a goal that is achievable or attainable. Somehow, it occurred to me in the last few days that I will never ever be that person I was before January 7th. She doesn’t exist anymore nor can she ever exist again. She died with you on January 7th, and the person that stands before me in the mirror is a stranger. I haven’t quite figured out who she is yet, but I’m trying to get to know her and be comfortable in her skin. So, that means, I can’t use my old self as the gauge or barometer of whether “I’m better” or back to “normal” again because this new person’s normal and better is completely different from the person I was before January 7th.
I know, it’s a good thing I’m good at course correcting when I realize I’m heading in the wrong direction!! The other day, I was on the phone with my sister and we were talking about all sort of random stuff like we normally do, and somehow we got on the subject of “failures.” She asked me what was my biggest failure in life?! I thought about it and said, “I really don’t have one!” She said, “Seriously?! You’re not that perfect!!” I said, “I’m not saying I’m perfect or that I don’t make mistakes or bad decisions because I do (more than I’m willing to admit), but I don’t consider them failures just because they were bad or poor decisions. I made the best decision I could with the most information I had at the time, and sometimes they’re right and sometimes they’re wrong. And, if the decision was wrong or it didn’t end in a favorable outcome, I would course correct and take the necessary measures to get myself on the right track." I'm always striving to learn something from all the mistakes or bad decisions in my life and hope that I don’t make them again!! Therefore, if I’m still learning from these mistakes or bad decisions, how can they be call failures?! Because they are not. It’s these so called "failures” that become lessons I need to learn to get me to the next level. I would only call them failures if I didn’t learn anything from them. So, I guess what I’m trying to say is that failure isn’t bad or the problem. The problem is when you don’t learn anything from these failures or mistakes. Nobody is perfect or has all the right answers all the time. All we can ever strive for is to take all the lessons we learned from all the mistakes and bad decisions we’ve made in our life and be able to use them to become a better person. That’s all we can really ask for in life, in my opinion!!
There’s a poster I’ve seen recently when I’m in the office that says, “A calm sea does not make a skilled sailor!” This quote speaks to me because when I reflect back on my life, I know I would not be the person I am or have the resilience I do if it wasn’t for all the trials and tribulations in my life. I think some people confuse my “sunny” disposition, positive attitude, and glass half-full mentality as a result of having life handed to me on a silver platter, but I don’t think people realize what I’ve had to overcome or the hard work I had to put in to become the person I am now. I didn’t have the best family life growing up. If anything, when I was able, I wanted to get as far away from my family as possible. I spent the greater part of my teenage years and 20’s soul searching and wandering the globe in a quest to “find myself” and the meaning of life because there had to be a better way than the life I knew and I also refused to end up like my parents. Growing up, the only way I knew how to resolve any issues or problems I had was to run away, to escape. But, what I’ve come to realize was the more I ran away or escaped, the better I became at being able to look at the problem and issue more objectively and holistically. It was like I was able to gain a better perspective when I was not in the middle of the problem or issue because it’s hard to get the big picture when you are inside the box. You can only see what is in front of you. But when you step outside of the box and look in, you’re seeing things from a different perspective because the view is broader and the bigger picture becomes more evident. So, I guess that’s why I'm always traveling so much now (even work travel helps with stepping outside of the box). This is the only way I know how to cope and deal with my problems; to get outside of the box so I can look in and gain a different perspective on my life. I guess that’s why my all time favorite quote from my 20’s is “Not all who wander are lost.”
I think a goal I want to set for myself as we embark on the New Year is to be able to come home from these “adventures” of self-exploration and soul searching without crying when I’m on the plane ride home. Yeah, can you believe it, it’s almost a year since you passed, and I still cry every time I come home from a trip (whether it be work or personal)!! If we’re being open and honest, I will admit that I still cry from time to time when I’m driving home from work. I guess the thought of coming home to an empty and lifeless house takes a lot of getting used to. Now, come to think of it, another goal I want to set for myself in 2019 is that one day the memory of you brings a smile to my face instead of tears. I feel like if I can do these two things, then that’s when I know I will be okay. These two things will serve as the gauge and barometer of the “new normal” I’m trying to achieve in my life without you.
I love you so much it hurts.
P.S. Did I tell you? I’m going to Spain in mid-January?! It should be a fun trip! I plan to be completely unplugged (at least from work) during the trip. I literally just realized that I used to be a very unplugged type of person until I worked at the fruit company. I didn’t even have a data plan on my cell phone until I worked for the fruit company. Can you believe that?! Yeah me either!!
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A grieving widow who is trying to find meaning and purpose from her tragic event.