There have been two phrases that I have used this year far more than I ever thought I would (besides the obvious F-words, anyway!). And yes, it is only April.
Accept the reality.
Lean into it.
As a number of you know, my husband and I packed up our life at the end of last year, quit jobs, sold our belongings, moved out of our home, and left friends and family for an adventure-filled year abroad. It was our dream and we were finally making a reality.
We had a list as long as our arm of places we were going to go, adventures we were going to have, and friends that we were going to see along the way. Nothing was going to stop us. This was OUR year. We worked hard for it. We had sacrificed for it. We had finally bitten the bullet and taken a chance to bring it to life.
Now, before you stop reading because either a) you are so sick of reading articles about Covid-19, or b) you are thinking “tell me she isn’t trying to throw herself a first world pity party about her travel plans being cancelled”, I can assure you, I am not.
If anything, the biggest lesson that this year has taught me so far is the power of just accepting where you are right here, right now, and then working out how you can make the best out of it.
I have learnt that when we become so attached to plans that then cannot come to fruition exactly as we had planned, we can then miss out on a new adventure because we are so wrapped up in the loss of what we had fixated on.
We then miss out on the adventure that perhaps was more destined for us. The adventure that will bring greater learning and greater challenges than the one we had created for ourselves. The adventure that allowed us to embrace the small things, or enjoy more valued time with loved ones. The adventure that will add to the story of our lives.
It is completely normal to grieve a loss. So often though we only associate loss with that of a loved one.
We associate it with a family member, a friend or a pet. Yet, we grieve the loss of plans too. We grieve the loss of something we worked and strived so hard for when we know that it will no longer happen the way we had planned. Or happen at all. And depending on the circumstances, some of these losses will be easier to come out the other side of than others. That is where time plays a valuable role. Give yourself time.
But. And this is a BIG BUT.
Once you have hit that limit that you set yourself to grieve, you turn the leaf. You move forward. You accept the new reality and start to lean the f*ck in as best you can to make the most of the new reality.
I have seen friends over the last few weeks lose jobs, shut-down businesses, postpone weddings, postpone honeymoons, travel plans, business openings, business plans etc. These are all worthy of a grieving period. But, remember what I said above…… once you have hit the limit that you set yourself to grieve, you turn over the leaf, accept the new reality and lean into it fully.
Staying half in the past of what could have been, and part in the future of what could now be means you are in neither.
Am I saying that you won't have days where you fall back into sadness, a sense of mourning or frustration? Of course not! You absolutely will, and let yourself do that. But, only for a period of time that you allow yourself. Then, you Lean back in.
When we realised that a lot of the plans we had made this year were likely NOT going to come to fruition, and that the places we had so desperately wanted to go were now indefinitely on lockdown, I felt a sense of loss. Failure. Frustration. And most definitely anger.
I defaulted to below the line thinking. My initial thoughts were “Why, of all the years!”, and “But we worked so hard for this!!”, and “Of course this would happen to us!”, and “But this was it, this was our only shot!” …. and I’d convinced myself that it was all over and that this year that we had worked so hard to create, the year we had dreamt about, fixated on, would amount to nothing.
I most definitely threw my toys out of the cot and threw myself a pity party for one.
Then I realised that we were still away. We ARE on an adventure. We’d committed to being away for the long haul and had decided not to go home, so now it was up to us to make the most of it.
To step up. To Lean In. And so, we did.
This year will look nothing like the year we had planned. And I'd say this would be the case for most people. The goals and plans I had at the start of this year will likely not come to life in their original form. But that is ok. Because we have accepted that reality and we now make way for other goals and other experiences to come to life.
We make way for real adventure.
And so, with that all said, if you have found yourself in a situation right now where your year hasn't turned out the way it was supposed to. If your goals and plans have been cancelled, postponed, or ripped completely out of your hands, I encourage you to try the following….
- Allow yourself to grieve - but with a time limit.
- Accept your new reality and write it down so it is real. What have you lost or what has now changed?
- Lean in to your new reality and think about what you can now do with it. What can you create? How can you embrace it? What will you do differently?
If you are having trouble working through the mental clutter right now. Or, if you need help pivoting and setting new goals or plans to keep you on track and motivated, email me at [email protected]
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