Last night I had a really meaningful conversation with my twin sister about the passing of our brother. You see, he passed away a few years ago – January 11, 2018 will be the four-year mark – and more often than not I live in a state of disbelief that he’s really gone.

We were frustrated in our conversation, wishing the old pictures we saw of him and of us together didn’t have to be blacklisted as “the last photo we took together”. To have a “last” of something so precious is always a tough pill to swallow.

“These two months are the hardest ‘stretch’ of time – every little thing can just trigger us to tears,” we said.

“It’s such a time of extreme highs and lows,” we said.

“I just miss him so much,” we cried.

Eventually our anger turned into exhaustion and we decided to say our I love yous and end the call. We still texted each other afterward, because a phone call followed-up with an “I love you” text is commonplace in the Costello household. We have a lot of love for one another.

And all of that love is what makes this two-month “stretch” leading up to and after his passing that much harder. We love him so much. Not loved. Not past-tense. Present. Love.

But as I was making a cup of coffee at work today, trying to get through this busy “stretch” of time right up to the holidays, I had that little light bulb go off. You know – the one that illuminates and shifts your perspective just a bit.

I realized that everyone has a difficult “stretch” of time in their life, and maybe even one that reoccurs the same time each year. Whether it’s the passing of a loved one that you just wish didn’t exist, those exhausting times at work where you know you’re burning the candle on both ends, or just adapting to a change that maybe you didn’t see coming.

We all have low periods of time that push us, bend us, break us, and make us stretch.

But here’s the good news.

When you push yourself to stretch amidst grief and chaos, good things are bound to happen. Because stretching results in improvement, refinement, and yes, even growth.



Get gutsy

Here’s an obvious statement for you: I thoroughly enjoy writing.

Not only have I put a lot of heart into this blog since September 2011, I also keep a journal by my bedside that is filled with scattered thoughts and stories, wrote and delivered a commencement speech for an audience of 4,000+, and of course have included writing into my career through blogs, news articles, social media posts, email content, press releases, event invitations, etc.

While I’ve begun to introduce my writing to platforms like Medium, one of my favorite fellow bloggers has recently inspired me to “get gutsy,” aka go for what it is that I truly want: to push the limits of my writing and make it a more instrumental part of my life.

Today I took steps to do just that. With so many ideas constantly spinning around in my head, it’s imperative that I organize and think through the ones that mean the most to me. So I set up shop at the corner bakery and got started. I brainstormed publications I’d like to freelance for, websites I aspire to be a contributor for, and key influencers – both locally and nationally – whose advice I value and am going to seek out.

I know that writing will always be a part of my life, if for no other reason than I enjoy doing it for my own well-being and happiness. Yet if I can expand my passion to help others and sharpen my craft along the way, I can only see positive outcomes from taking the initiative to make that happen.

So here’s to getting gutsy, pushing my limits and being open-minded to the journey ahead. Cheers.

If you have thoughts, ideas or suggestions for writing opportunities, I encourage you to continue the conversation and reach out to me or comment below.