I know you want to believe in a better decade.
One that won’t break your heart.
One that will only bring you joy and love.
One that will redefine you.
Bring you good people who understand you.
Possibly a new love or two.
Money. Luck. And less grief.
I want all of this too.
But what if there was a different way to look at the new decade or the new year.
What if there was another way to expect a new chapter for yourself.
I don’t think we should be looking for more, for better, for other.
But for knowing. For understanding.
For feeling love regardless of how much love we have lost.
This year let’s look back and see the war zones we have been a part of and how we braved ourselves through them.
We are not here to be comfortable.
Sail through life as if we have already died.
We are here to be thrown in the midst of a big wave.
And swim our way out.
Here are my personal waves and lessonsI learned from new invisible losses while navigating life reentry from the loss of my first husband.
*These lessons apply to every kind of loss.
**These are my personal experiences and may not apply to all.
A NEW MARRIAGE
In these last 10 years I fell in love with a new soul mate.
But it has been so different to anything I expected.
It is a different kind of love.
One that is grounded in partnership.
One that needed time to grow to be what it is.
A second love may need a lot more time to grow than a first love.
We come into it without innocence, without dreamy eyes.
We bring tears within the first 24 hours.
We have fear. Anxiety.
We walk in to a new relationship, already tainted.
So it starts from a different place and it requires a longer runway.
Be open to experiencing a different kind of love and you will be pleasantly surprised.
BLENDING A FAMILY
Blending families and raising children that are not your own is not easy.
For the first time in your life you see someone wishing you away.
And this someone lives inside your home and you can’t run and hide.
And this someone is a child you can’t be angry towards.
And you think about your old life and feel like you will never be a whole family again.
You try to parent the kids you were given and you fail every day for years.
It doesn’t matter what you do and what you say, the way they see you without love is something you will always remember.
My lesson from this last decade has been one of unconditional care.
Not love. But care. That you keep caring for your step children even if they wished you were not in their life. You do what is right for your soul and your beliefs.
This lesson was tough.
I couldn’t run away from it. I couldn’t change it.
I couldn’t reenter from it. I had to let go of what I thought we could have together.
And that letting go gave me peace.
For those of you with blended families.
Some of you will feel incredible love and rewards.
And some of you will never have love reciprocated or see those rewards and we need to be ok with that.
We really can’t make our second life be inside the containers our first life was in.
A NEW IDENTITY
I became someone new in the last ten years.
I made impossible dreams come true.
And I realized that no matter the success, the accolades and the impossible quests ultimately they are not your life.
The identity that is still trying to emerge after loss has nothing to do with your conquests but with how you learn to love, live and laugh again.
That is the only reentry that matters.
And yes, create. Yes, succeed. Yes, become.
But don’t confuse it for who you are.
I am not my books. My work. My creations.
I am not even this letter that I have been writing since 2010.
I am a simple woman who is struggling to love deeply without fear.
I am a pedestrian always working on learning how to cross the street without getting hit by a car. Loss for me has been the biggest lesson.
Losing love has been incredibly hard.
But finally I am learning to let go and cross the street.
I am learning to love myself again and all the people in my life for who they are and for however long they are here to stay.
We are here to lose everything and everyone we love and still stand on our feet.
And maybe we are also here to find a way to make not lemonade with lemons but calm inside the tsunami that is called life.
Life may be an acronym for LEARN IT FOR ETERNITY.
We are only supposed to keep the love and the lessons.
Everything else is passing.
The perfect weight. The great car.
The big home.
The success. The money. The jobs.
Don’t work too hard.
Don’t stop dancing.
Sing even if you don’t sound good.
Be curious about people’s lives.
Talk to strangers.
They are on the same trip you are on.
They too lose everything and everyone.
They cry at night like you do.
And they all have a last day.
It’s the exact same trip just different lessons for their eternity.
Everyone is grieving. Everyone is hurting.
2020 is going to be a year made of both sadness and joy.
It is what it is.
The sooner we realize that LIFE means LESSONS, the less loss we will experience.
With crossing many more streets in 2020,
Christina Rasmussen is the creator and founder of The Life Reentry Institute, Second Firsts, and Star Letters, and the host of the Dear Life Podcast. Christina is on a crusade to help millions of people rebuild, reclaim, and relaunch their lives using the power of their own minds. Christina’s work has been featured on ABC News, NPR, The White House Blog, and MariaShriver.com. She is the bestselling author of Second Firsts: Live, Laugh, and Love Again, which has also been translated in Chinese and German and just released her second book Where Did You Go on expanding the mind in ways that allows co-creation with the forces of the universe. She is also writing her first work of fiction: a science fiction story about a woman on a quest to start over and begin a new life. You can find more information on her website and follow her on FB or Twitter.
Image courtesy of Octavian Rosca.