grief life love

where i’m going from here

I chose this picture for this post because I look the way I feel … happy.

I’m feeling much more like my old self these days. In the last couple weeks, it’s like a big weight was lifted off me that I didn’t know was there. I’ve been a roller coaster the last year, but during the times when I was on top of the hills, they didn’t seem this high. Now it’s almost like I can feel my arms in the air, and the adrenaline of what’s to come again, and that is a really good feeling.

This past year, I always laughed. I always worked. I always planned. There always seemed to be something heavy following me around, though. It was like I was a prisoner in some way, with my ankles shackled together carrying a very big ball behind me. A lot of grief, a lot of fear, and some resentment and anger seemed to always follow me around. And even as the weight of that ball became lighter (or I built enough muscle to just pull it around easier), it was there dragging me into the past and making it so I didn’t see the present in a full, accurate way.

I’ve written mostly about grief on this blog since my dad passed away, but this blog was originally meant for something else. It was meant to be my positive, uplifting space on the internet. While I don’t regret the direction this blog has gone because life changed and no one could have predicted that, I’m hoping to share more thoughts on this blog’s original topics – love, beauty, happiness, friendship. I’m hoping, because of what I’ve been through, that my thoughts will have more validity than before. Soon after my dad was gone, this became the place that I could share some of my perspectives on life and death, and through that, I have discovered much more depth in me and my writing. If only I’d written more, I always think, but writing has been hard.

In the last recent while, when I discovered myself feeling more and more like me, I hesitated to believe it would last because in the last year my ups and downs have been pretty unpredictable. I have wondered if this top-of-the-roller-coaster-hill feeling will be temporary. Life will always be somewhat up and down, right? If it’s not grief that seems overwhelming, it will be something else. What I’m learning though, is I have to keep a balance inside me, and learn to be OK with the lack of influence I have in so many ways. In all reality, I can’t control very many things in this life, but more recently, I’ve tried to focus on the things I can.

How I view the world

I stopped watching the news around the new year. I have a tendency to dwell on the negative, scary stories. This was affecting multiple aspects of my life. I was fearful on a daily basis and everything felt like chaos. I was becoming very negative about the world and the city I live in. However, what I see in the news is not the full picture. I know because I worked in news professionally for eight years, and unfortunately, the bad stories generate more views, more clicks, and seemingly more excitement. It seems there are fewer positive feature stories as top headlines on news websites and TV stations these days, but all those happy things are still happening everywhere every single day, and it’s my choice to remember that and participate in the good. I will never be able to control the bad things that happen, but I can focus on the good and pray for everyone every day without watching the news.

How I view others

Everyone deserves friends and compassion. Just like me, everyone is seeking to be happy. The more I see others and their needs as equal to me and my longings, I will be able to share more love with them. Recently, I was told that although there are a lot of things out there that seem uncontrollable and confusing (like my dad’s death), love will always work. It works to solve problems. It works to mend burned bridges. It works to heal every single heart. You may never know if a certain prayer worked, or if science worked, or if politics works. You may also know when all of those things didn’t work. But love will always work in some way. I think it helps more than time or any other remedy someone can suggest for grief, depression, or anxiety. Love works. It protects. It wins.

How I view myself

My husband and I started a workout regimen this year and it’s not only given us more quality time together, but it’s improved how I feel about my overall self and body. I’m feeling better than I have in a while due to these 5 a.m. workouts and weekly climbs at the rock gym. We have goals together and separately (like me running a half marathon in May!), and I’m feeling a difference in my mind, probably due to extra endorphins. Beyond working out, I’ve also felt myself fall back into the creative things I love that hadn’t been consistent in my life for a long while. I’m designing more again, I’m putting effort into my Etsy shop, I’m taking pictures, I’m writing. I also sense my mind changing and gravitating more toward the things that make me feel lighter and happier. Just this last week, I created a “Happy” station on Pandora. So many melancholy songs on my Ingrid Michaelson station helped me through the last year, but I’m finding myself wanting to sing and dance again to upbeat, fun, and ridiculous songs like “Uptown Funk,” “All About That Base,” and, yes, “Happy.”

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I’m never really sure where this blog will go, but I have ideas. For now, I hope that some of these things might work for you if you are struggling. If it’s bothering you, turn off the news. Remember that love works. When you’re ready, set goals that remind yourself of the old you. If you’ve been through something hard, you’ll probably never be the same and that is OK. But there is hope. There is always hope.