Little nudges

July was rough for me.

My sweet, 92-year old grandma passed away. My husband had a severe allergic reaction to poison ivy that lasted almost a full month. Others in my family had some big health scares. Close friends of mine went through a number of hardships.

It was a lot. I would tell myself, “Okay, I’m ready for something good now.” And then a new piece of bad news would hit.

Of course, there were good things that happened, too. There were sweet moments and weddings and birthdays and smiles and laughter. They were just fewer and farther between, and they were layered with mental, emotional and physical exhaustion.

Yet today is August 1st.

A new month.

A clean slate.

Some may think it’s cheesy to consider a flip of the calendar a chance to start fresh, but not me. I constantly look for little nudges that get me out of my mental slumps.

So yesterday, the last day of July, I decided to let August 1st be a chance to start fresh. I used it as an opportunity to get motivated and clean the house. I redid our monthly calendar with excitement. I booked my first Pilates class for later this week. And this morning I chose to start my work week at a coffee shop vs. my home office. A change of scenery can really do wonders for the mind.

If you’re in a slump of your own, or maybe have just had a streak of exhaustion that’s been heavier than usual, I encourage you to let small things nudge you into a new direction.

Maybe it will be the first of a new month.

Maybe it will be a kind gesture from someone you love.

Maybe it will be the sunshine hitting your face.

Or maybe it will be something you choose to create for yourself.

Whatever it ends up being, let it shake off your exhaustion and bring you peace. Even just for a moment.


Of the essence

Two years have gone by since my brother passed away.

Two years since I got that phone call.

Two years since I wrote his obituary.

Two years since I read his eulogy.

Two years.

I know as the years continue to pass i’ll say, “wow – I can’t believe it’s been 5 years!” and, “wow – I can’t believe it’s been 10 years!” I’ll always be in a state of disbelief.

I can say with a fair amount of certainty that we have all lost someone dear to us. And it’s tough to tell how you’ll feel when a day like this sneaks up on you. Because there was such a strong unpredictability about how today would feel for me, I decided to plan ahead and give myself one simple thing: time.

Time off of work for one day. Time to perhaps organize my apartment, go to a yoga class, spend time with one of my most uplifting girlfriends, call my twin sister, check in on my family… just a little extra time.

Because one thing I realized is that time is a luxury we rarely ever have when we want it the most.

I don’t have the luxury of time to go back to my brother and have the million conversations that I wish I could. I don’t have time to hug him once more or tell him I love him. I don’t have time to argue with him over whether or not to keep Taylor Swift on the radio, or whose team is going to win the football game.

In the relationship between my brother and myself, I am completely and utterly out of time.

That is a heartbreaking reality that two years later i’m still learning how to both manage and adapt to.

Yet on the positive flip side – because I always fight to find one – I’m now acutely aware of this luxury of time, and day by day am trying to take advantage of the brutal lessons i’ve learned through the loss of my brother.

I’m trying to make the most of the time I have with those who I still have it with.

Whether that means taking extra vacation time to see my family over the holidays, or finally – after 10 years of friendship – having the courage to commit to a relationship with the man of my dreams, I’m giving life every ounce of effort I have left in this battered yet beating heart of mine.

It’s no secret that every day comes with a struggle and a challenge- for all of us. But it also comes with the opportunity to make the most of our time and the love we have for life and those we’re fortunate enough to share it with.

Life without my brother will never get easier. But the lessons i’ve learned from his loss will help me to make this life as beautiful as humanly possible.

I promise you that time is a luxury I will never, ever take for granted. And I hope you don’t either.

So now, how will you make the most of the time you have?