Be Present

Recently someone reached out to me asking me how I do this life and how they find it so difficult to not be where they want to be or thought they’d be. Turning 30 this past week has made me think about some of the same things so I thought I’d share my thought process.

Is this where I thought I’d be and what I thought I’d be doing at 30? No. It is certainly not.

Is where I am and what I’m doing not good? Is it less of a life? A definite no to those too.

I think it starts with acknowledging feelings of what I thought my life would be. I don’t think stifling emotions is healthy or helpful. So yes, I did not think I would be where I am at 30. In my original plan, I thought I’d probably have a family by now. I thought maybe I’d have a child or maybe two. I didn’t think I’d be living on my own (well, with a roommate now) with my dog and dating. That was never what I pictured or what I planned.

That being said, I acknowledge that lost future when it pops into my mind but I also work on letting that life go. That’s not where I am. Sometimes it’s more difficult than others. But as much as possible I try to be present in where my life currently is so that I can enjoy that. Living in the “would be” or “should be” robs today of all that it is. It doesn’t make my life any better thinking of what I am not doing or what I don’t have. It actually makes my life worse because it makes me miss all the things right in front of me while still not having what I thought I’d have. Double loss.

I hear the non-wids saying “yes, look at everything that you do have” but it’s not looking at the bright side either. There is nothing “bright” about being a widow and again, I think trying to put a happy spin on something terrible is not helpful.

What I try to do is be where I am and build from there. It takes effort.  I’m trying to live and create a new life that makes me happy now. It’s not my old life and for that I am very thankful; trying to live my old life would be too painful and also set myself up to fail. It is about thinking about what makes me happy and trying to do that. It’s not a replacement or comparison for an old life. It is something entirely new. It’s not even less of a life than I had before. Maybe there’s a little widow guilt in admitting that but for me, it’s just different. It’s nothing I ever planned or thought but it is slowly starting to be everything I want now.

I get to travel quite a lot. I get to pick and explore new places when I have time off. I get to make that a priority on my schedule. I get to use my body and push my physical (and mental) limits to try new things or better myself at things I already know. I get to spend time in nature in the peace and quiet. I get to be around the best dog who loves being active with me and is the biggest sweetheart but also my biggest protector. I get to get to know and love someone new who opens me to new things and new ways of being. I get to make my own choices with my time, money, house and anything else. I get to decide what being “me” means.

My life is good in itself and my life becomes better for appreciating that. It’s not a replacement for what I wanted or had but when I focus on where I am and am present I find more joy in the moment and in my life now.



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  • Olivia Arnold
    commented 2018-09-06 18:27:21 -0700
    You said it all so well right there Jana! A broken heart and permission to start a new fearless life with a new mind. Great words!
  • Jana Bresenden
    commented 2018-09-06 11:20:36 -0700
    I love this so much! I never tried as many new things as I did after my husband died. My heart was broken…AND I have a new fearlessness in life. Like I got a permission slip to start over and try everything again with a new mind. No matter what is going on around me, at this exact moment, I am ok.