• Stephanie Dawson

Sunny Thoughts - Turn Grief into Gratitude

We said yes to everything (see Sunny Thoughts - Say Yes to Everything for the previous blog on this). During those active months leading up to the move, though, in the background I felt a constant sadness about leaving people and things that were so dear to me. Now I am sort of on the other side, albeit as a vagabond jumping from air mattresses to random hotels to more air mattresses, eventually to land in our new home.


It feels silly to even mention my emotions about moving. I was leaving I life I loved for a life that I could easily love just as much. I didn’t feel like I had the right to be sad over something that is far from tragic. Real pain is thinking about family members who recently passed, starving children, and climate change. And anytime that Boris Johnson starts speaking.


There's just no way around the fact that it can feel nearly impossible to say 'Goodbye' or ‘See you whenever one of us visits, which will be far more difficult, less frequent, and expensive than when we used to regularly meet up spontaneously for coffee’. The only rational option forward is to start becoming grateful for what we DO get to do.


A fabulous cousin told me to give myself some grace and space. Everyone should have a cuz like her. Grace and space. Something I would have never dreamed up on my own, but I took her advice and I have allowed myself to feel all the feels, whatever they are and whenever they show up. Grief is a strange thing, as it tends to pop up at bizarre times and places, with no predictable trigger. At the car wash, on a run, discussing different oven options with the guy at Best Buy...


Another friend gave me exceptional advice to keep my heart open to all the possibilities when I arrived, as our new life will only be as good as we allow it to be. I have kept her advice close, and a few days ago I started missing my old neighborhood and all of its conveniences, so I went and got a Costco membership. I admittedly got a bit excited. It might not be exactly what she had in mind, but I was feeling pretty grateful for the cheaper gas and a lifetime supply of paper towels.


My emotions are still floundering over the Atlantic, but my body has made the move. At every turn I have had to be aware about looking at what I get to have, and not what I have to give up. At some point, for the sake of our mental health, we have to bring our thoughts up into the present, into a mindful state of being. Channel our inner yogi and turn past-focused grief into present-focused gratitude, to hopefully be rewarded with a newfound happy place.


So I am saying goodbye to grief and good morning to gratitude - the healthier ‘g’.

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