I’m in it with you.
The day was long. I sat on the concrete slab near the water watching as the sun slipped behind the hills to my back. Orange-pink brilliance slowly dripped off the sunset skyscrapers across the bay, the glass lit like fire. I had just finished a power walk, energized by the movement, open air, and R&B tunes that prompted my rhythm, but I’m tired. My mind is tired. Depleted by my 40-hour work week job (the one currently paying the bills) and the worries of this world, my world and my people. I lay back on this slab, still warm from the day’s sun and looked up to the wide, blue sky, breathing deep and wondering.
How do we keep going when it feels like the hardships, stress and overwhelm seem to outweigh the joys? I wondered how I can keep going when I’m overwhelmed and exhausted from the constant push just to make it to the next week without feeling so emotionally hammered. I ebb and flow. We all do. We ramp ourselves up with the “I can do it” slogan like a neon sign flashing before our eyes, then crash when we run out of the gumption that got us moving in the first place. Personally, I struggle with trying to go it alone. Separated 5 ½ years ago, now divorced, my overwhelm is greatly fed by navigating all the hard decisions, heartache and difficult news without a partner. An unexpected separation after a long-term marriage, and my kids in three different states when it happened, threw me far from what I knew and believed life to be. It threw me far from myself. It’s been a lot of intentional effort through grieving, pain and awareness to come home to myself and begin to find joy again birthed in healthy perspective. If you’re single, and navigating life alone, the stress of finances and the weight of decisions by yourself, now compounded by the fears and anxieties of a global pandemic may be sitting at your kitchen table with you. I get you.
I’m in it with you.
Friends that have known me for a long time tell me I’m one of the bravest people they know. They wonder how I keep pushing forward and how I step out to do scary things like starting my life over in a new state with a new job and with my daughter who was in high school at the time of my separation. Sometimes I wonder how I continue to have hope in humanity with some of the things I’ve experienced, but I do. I just believe. I believe in the power of the human spirit and our resolve in being able to make our lives what we want them to be with very intentional efforts and shifting our focus to gratitude for what is good, rather than hitting replay on what is wrong. Changing neural pathways takes some time, but it’s possible when we work toward a focus on the positives. We can re-wire our thinking and perspectives that can bring freedom and joy in our everyday living and fulfillment of our lives regardless of hard circumstances, though changing the way we think, so it comes naturally, can take a long time. Consider the process of breaking a habit taking a minimum of 3 weeks. Keep pushing. You will get there.
I’m in it with you.
I think one of the keys to being able to keep the door open to walk through on your way to wholeness is connection and support of others. We do need support and encouragement. We weren’t created to walk it alone, single or not, pandemic or not. Here’s a few things that have helped me:
1. Face Time or Zoom with family and friends.
2. Seek counsel from professionals when making big financial decisions.
3. Don’t let all your thoughts swim around alone in your head. Lean on the support of a trusted family member or friend to talk through important decisions. It helps to verbalize your thoughts in order to bring the pros to the top of the list, and, your friend may have an idea or two you hadn’t thought of. Journaling and pros vs. cons lists are great perspective launchers.
4. Meet friends or family at an open-air restaurant.
5. Find an outdoor group with similar interests like gardening, hiking or bird watching. For me, this is an outdoor leadership group that combines coaching with outdoor excursions. Joining this group was a challenge for me and I had to tell fears to take a backseat like "I'll be the oldest member, I've never backpacked in and wilderness camped...". I’m glad I didn’t let fears keep me from being who I want to be. This group was a huge step in the right direction for me.
6. Do what you know works and don’t stop, such as daily practice with mindfulness, stretching, journaling, eating well and exercising.
7. Focus on your strengths! Find out what you do well naturally and maximize that, rather than focusing on what isn’t a natural fit. This feels great, encourages you, and helps you find flow in all areas of your life, including understanding others better.
8. Tell yourself the truth and allow yourself to process through unwanted, but necessary, emotions like sadness and anger. Forgive yourself and others whenever possible. This will set you free.
I’m in it with you. Don’t go it alone.