Monthly Archives

August 2017

Learn How Choices Change your Life as a Widow

I am like you in that I struggle with schedules and budgets all the time. I am juggling these things for the first time as a widow. I have learned though that when I am mired down and things are not working the way I want, that I get to decide. Decisions have never been easy for me because I see all sides and pros and cons. I tell myself to jump in and just choose and if it does not work out, then I will readjust. I will no longer be stuck on the sidelines of life. I know from widows that I have shared with, that we can often be in a holding pattern, not only, not able to choose but unable to even see the choices. We can see through the fog eventually and start changing things to have a better outlook for the future.

I still own the grief and sadness of missing my husband constantly but I push myself to get up and do something about it. I have been part of grief support groups where we cry and grief social groups where we go, see and do. I have read books about pulling yourself together and managing your money as a widow. I have read books telling me I can be sad for as long I want and organization books to manage life as a widow. You know what I don’t see is anything about how to live a positive life after loss. How do we do it? Whether we are ready for it or not time marches forward. I don’t want to lose another minute.

Things I do know include that I want more time to travel and more time to quietly read. I want to make a difference in other people’s lives because I have always taught my children that is why we are here on this earth. I saw a documentary a brief time ago called “Happiness”. Apparently, they had done studies and helping others was the one thing happy people had in common.
Recommendations for helping with choices:

1. Gain clarity: Brainstorm all your ideas and write them done of what you would like to include in your life now and in the future

2. Set goals: Decide how you are going to get there from #1 based on your wants and desires. Maybe there is even a new dream for your future

3. Choose: Decide what you are going to start with to get you there to your goal or dream life.

I know I am not going to “get over” or “move on” or “get through my grief” so I must live life anyway with my grief in tow. My grief is only part of me not all of me. I am figuring out who I am again somewhat like a teenager. I just need to have better judgement than a teenager. Ha, ha! But seriously, our spouse’s life is not the only life here that matters. That doe not mean I love him any less. My life matters. I matter. You matter. So, let’s get working on living like we matter.

Traveling as a Widow

I’ve never been much of a traveler but as a widow I have discovered I like to travel. I’ve been ticking off places on my bucket list. I’ll be off on another trip soon. I know you have heard me say “try new things”. Travel is not as hard as I thought it would be. My daughter and I have disagreed on how to travel and scheduling. I like to be unstructured, arrive at my destination and decide what to do as I wonder around and discover things. My daughter wants every minute of the trip well planned and accounted for always in advance. We have taken trips both ways. I think there of course advantages and disadvantages to each. Are you a planner or spontaneous?

How do things change when traveling as a widow? I think the biggest change is who you travel with each time. I find myself open to unfamiliar places and new experiences. Maybe you want to finally take that trip you have always wanted to take. Maybe you will visit relatives more often. Maybe you will even take it a step further and move somewhere else. It is important to be clear on what you hope to get out of the trip. Are their certain things that you must see? Are you hoping to relax? Here are some tips for traveling as a widow that have helped me.

1. Each day you should have at least:
One thing to see, one thing to do and fabulous dinner plans.
2. Sit and take in the view
Do nothing but in some place beautiful. Breathe in the appreciation for being there.
3. Always be safe
Don’t get trapped alone and be aware of pick pockets.
4. Choose your travel partners carefully.
Traveling can draw you closer or further apart from your travel companions.
5. Choose your souvenirs carefully.
I well planned photo is much better than a shelf sitter.

This may sound elementary, but for someone like me who almost never traveled, these have been lessons learned. The biggest thing I have acquired is a bigger world view. People are the same all over. We all have our loves and dislikes. We all struggle with our relationships, and having enough money and enough time. There are people meeting their true love for the first time and those losing the love of their life, both every moment. Travel makes me think of the phases of our lives. I don’t know if I’ll ever date again much less find another romantic love, but I know I will never forget the life I have lived, those I have loved and the places I have been. Be bold and adventuresome and find you best self somewhere else other than just home. Life is an adventure don’t miss it.

I’ll finish with a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt: “The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”