Weekly Gratitude #4: Luckiest Girl in the World

This morning I looked out at the ocean and I felt like luckiest girl in the world.

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I can think of a million reasons why I am not the luckiest girl in the world.  I have definitely had my share of bad luck.

But this morning as I looked out at the ocean, drinking my peppermint bark iced coffee, I feel like the luckiest girl in the world.

Maybe it is because I am still here.   I survived.

Maybe it is because I have an awesome daughter and I enjoy all the time I spend with here.  Even if she does try to push my buttons sometimes.

Maybe it is because I live in such a beautiful place with four very distinct seasons.  I see the cycle of life every year.

Maybe it’s because of the peppermint bark iced coffee.  It is the Christmas Season after all.

For ever reason I can think of that I am unlucky, I can think of another reason for which I am lucky.  It is just about what perspective you choose to take.

 

Weekly Gratitude #2: Snovember

 

One of my biggest regrets I have from my “before” life was that that I did not take the time to notice all the beauty around me.

I was an “as soon as” person, always concerned about what was coming next that I was not focused on the present.

I made a lot of changes in my life this year.  I have worked on my life from the inside out.

One of the biggest changes I have made was also one of the simplest changes.

I take time to look around me and notice all the little changes.

This also helps when you have a small child.  My daughter has taught me to see the delight in all the little changes that happen in nature.  Her enthusiasm is contagious.  Her school even has a naturalist come every week and they go out into the forest and learn about plants.

Though I could do without her acorn and rock collections she brings home.

I have always appreciated the fact that I live in the Northeast where we always have four very distinct seasons.  But now I notice the subtleties of when the seasons start to blur together.

I feel like Fall is a very popular season.  Everyone loves the Fall.  My local friends always post pictures on social media of their Fall activities.  And my friends who live in warm weather climates comment on my Fall foliage pictures saying how beautiful the leaves are. 

It’s a time of pumpkin spice, apple picking, flannel, and boots.

But now it is November.

The temperature is cold and we have even had some snow.

BTW, I am trying to make the hashtag #snovember happen.  Please, can we make it happen?

But it is not Winter yet.

Many people are putting up their Christmas trees and have moved on from Autumn.

I am not hating on people who start their Christmas enthusiasm.  Whatever makes you happy.  But I prefer to wait because the part of me that is still attached to my Catholic identity feels that Christmas really lasts until Epiphany (Jan 6).

But I’d be lying by omission if I didn’t admit that I have listened to some Christmas music.

I just choose to keep my November Christmas enthusiasm to a minimum.

The days are getting shorter and there is snow on the ground.  I am wearing my winter coat, hat, and gloves.

Winter will be here soon enough and winter overstays it’s welcome around these parts.  Every year.

I am going to hold out and continue to put pumpkin spice creamer into my coffee and I will continue to enjoy the late November beauty.

What are you grateful for this week?  Please comment below.

Since I’ve been gone

If you have followed my writing in any capacity, you may have noticed that I have taken a break.

Can I be totally honest for a minute?

I had to stop writing because I was just so sick of it.

I was sick of being a widow.

I was sick of feeling like I had to defend my feelings. It didn’t matter if those feelings were grief related or not.

I was sick of being put into situations where I felt like I had to defend my feelings.

I was sick of being defined by my grief and my widowed status

I was sick of all the projections and expections. From others and from myself.

I was sick of the grief. It’s not like I asked for any of this to happen to me or my daughter.

I was sick of people trying to take advantage of me. Plot twist: A few were successful. Ironically these people are usually the most vocally outraged when you set boundaries.

I was sick of the people who made me feel like less of a person because I had to accept their help.

I was sick of living a life full of empty dreams.

I was sick of people telling me how to grieve and how to widow.

I was sick of people thinking that they have a say on how I live my life. Everyone has a gosh darn opinion and most aren’t afraid to share it.

I was sick of people telling me that I needed to forgive God.

I had finally had enough.

I needed to retreat and recharge.

All my writing was private. For myself only.

I needed a break from y’all.

I don’t know why I said “y’all”. I am not a Southern girl at all. New England through and through.

And no, I am not dissing Southerners. My Southern friends will agree with me.

The reality is that when I created this blog, I wrote as an outlet to process my feelings.

A way to figure out my grief.

While I can’t say that I have totally figured this grief thing out, but it is much more manageable. Sure, grief still catches me off-guard at times but I know how to handle those emotions now.

I don’t need to write a 1200 word blog post every time the grief monster hits.

And even if I did write a blog post every time grief makes a visit, I do not feel like it would be beneficial to me or to you.

Unfortunately, life never goes back to normal. And how could it? I can’t go back to my life as a wife and mother with the absence of the husband and father.

There’s a gaping hole in what is now my former “normal life”.

And the only person who can fill that gaping hole is never coming back. At least not in any Earthly form.

So I need to figure out exactly what my new normal is.

I took this time of grief and emotional upheaval and purging to question everything I once believed.

I questioned all my relationships. I started to realize which relationships were real and which relationships were fake. Some were surprising.

Once you start seeing the truth, you can’t unsee it. Even if it’s inconvenient.

I now have no choice but to live my truth. At least, the parts of my truth that I have figured out.

I am still working on that.

But really, all of us should be searching for our own truths.

As I search for my truth, I don’t feel comfortable sharing everything.

But I will share what I can.

So what can be expected from my blog at this phase-

1) Any grief related material I feel a need to write about.

2) Aspects of soul searching that I feel called to share.

3) Race-recaps. I ran a race and I still need to write up a recap.

You are free!

We all spent time worrying about things that we can not control.

You can’t control the weather.

You can’t control the temperature or the humidity.  You can’t control the rain or snow.

You can’t control the economy.

You can’t control the government.

You can’t control the housing market.

You can’t control the stock market.  Or the global market.

You can’t control the currency exchange rate.  Or the tax rate.

You can’t control politicians or, ultimately, who gets elected.  You can’t control the political climate.

You can’t control what laws get passed.

You can’t control television ratings or if your favorite show will get canceled.  You can’t control which movies Netflix will remove next month.

You can’t control your family of origin.  You can’t control how you were raised.  You can’t control your family history or your genetics.

You can’t control your past or where you were from.

You can’t control when someone you love dies or when you will feel grief.

You can’t control other people.

You can’t control other people’s intelligence.  People are free to see the world how they interpret it.

You can’t control if people take your advice.  That is up to them.

You can’t control other people’s decisions.  People are free to make good and bad decisions based on the knowledge that they have.  Even if you do not agree with these decisions.

You can’t control people’s loyalty or honesty. You can’t control other people’s values.

You can’t control if people lie or tell the truth.  You can’t control people who manipulate those around them or people who always play the victim.

You can’t control how other people treat you.  People are free to treat people how they see fit.  People are free to hurt you, exclude you and not take your feelings into consideration.  People are free to talk about you behind your back.  People are free to treat you sh*tty.

You can’t control if people forgive you.  That is up to them.

But you, my friend, are free.

You are free to cancel your Netflix because they took away How I Met Your Mother.

You are free to vote for whoever you think the best candidate is and you are free to get involved in whatever issues matter to you.

You are free to associate with those who love you and make you feel better about yourself.  And you are free to disassociate with people who have a negative impact on you.

You are free to hit “reply” or “add friend.”  You are also free to hit “unfollow” or “unfriend.”

You are free to give advice but the recipient can choose not to take it.  And you are free to choose what advice you take from others.

You are free to set your own boundaries and you are free to enforce those boundaries.  You are also free to let people disrespect those boundaries.  The choice is yours. People will only treat you poorly if you let them.

You are free to walk away.  From toxicity, manipulation, and negativity.  You can control just how much bullsh*t you are willing to deal with.

You are free to re-evaluate your life at any stage.  You are free to keep what is working for you and you are free to leave behind what isn’t.

You are free to authentic and real or shallow and phony.

You are free to not give a f*ck about what people think.  You are free to do you.

You are free to invest in your hobbies and interests.  You are free to follow your dreams.

You are free to sell everything you own.  You are free to blow your paycheck at IKEA.

You are free to travel the world or be a homebody.

You are free to cook a gourmet dinner.  You are free to grab dinner at McDonalds.

You are free to give and receive love.  You are free to choose who to give love to and who to receive love from.

You are free to smile and laugh.

You are free to let go of past hurts and anger.

You are free to forgive those who have wronged you when you are ready.  But be careful because you are also free to let past hurts consume your life.

You are free to remember those who have passed however you want to remember them.

You can’t control what goes on around you but, ultimately, you are free to choose how you react to it.