In my first post for this year I spoke about setting my goal for 2016.
In this piece I wrote, "I'm sick of treading water, I want to start swimming again in 2016. I want to propel myself forward and feel like my life is moving ahead again. So this year I've chosen 'growth' as my mantra.
It took me a while to settle on this word, because grief obviously evokes a significant amount of personal growth and I've evolved in the past few years. However in 2016 I want to let go of the notion that my life is in a holding pattern. I want to grow personally and professionally and end the year in a different place than where I'm starting it."
At the time I didn't really know what I wanted my growth to look like. I knew I wanted to evolve, to surge forward and blossom.
I hoped that growth would include finding my next great love but it's also about so much more than that. I had no idea that in a little over three months, my journey of growth would have made such incredible progress.
For a start, I've started studying again, 15 years after finishing my first university degree. I've now handed in two assignments and already broken through the mental barrier that I'd created to convince myself that my widow brain would never cope with academic pursuits.
As I shared last week, I've also come to the realisation that I'm ready to move out of our family home. Since Dan's death, I've been asked many times since when I'd move out of our house. I always replied that I'd know when the time was right and about a month ago, that prediction came true. I wasn't expecting it but it couldn't feel more right. It's another step forward that I can put squarely down to growth.
And, thirdly, something that I'm most excited about, in the past couple of months I've been working on a very special project with two of my dear widowed friends (pictured with me) to launch a charity organisation here in Australia to support widowed people through their bereavement, modelled on the incredible work that Soaring Spirits is doing for the community in the USA. This is a dream I've been working towards for almost two years, since I travelled to San Diego for my first Camp Widow after discovering there was nothing similar here in Australia, despite it being so badly needed.
When I first thought about this goal it felt like an impossible pipe dream. Much bigger than myself and anything I was capable of. But I just couldn't let go. It kept ticking over, waiting for the stars to align. Around six months ago I shared this dream with my two friends and they offered to come on board, bringing the much-needed skills that filled the holes I couldn't fill by myself. Now's it is becoming a reality and I've been so happy that I'm walking on air.
All of these things have involved a lot of hard work and I've been ramping up my self-care to make sure that it doesn't become over-whelming or open the door to the severe stress-induced anxiety that I've struggled with in the past. I feel strong, I feel capable and in control of my life.
I wish I could call Dan and tell him what I've been up to. I wish I could feel his strong arms wrap around me and hear him say he's proud of me.
I miss him. But It's because of him that I'm here, writing to you. It's because of him that I'm doing any of these exciting, life-changing things. It's confusing but comforting that in his death, he's still driving me forward, life a lighthouse, guiding my through the unknown.