I’m awkward in this new role of mine and it’s uncharted territory for me. Decisions, mirrordecisions … this feeling of indecisiveness is unfamiliar to me. My reflection in the mirror is the same – but in all honesty “where have I gone?” is really all that I can see. The youngest of four, always fiercely independent, on my own at an early age – outspoken and confident. Outgoing and unafraid of new challenges. I lived in the moment almost to a fault. Mistakes were merely opportunities to learn a lesson – failure was not defeat but just a momentary pause to recharge and go after it – better, wiser and stronger. So where am I? Where is that person?

The last couple of weeks have been challenging – I have failed miserably at some of my “second-firsts” the kind of failure where all you want to do is run home and hide underneath the covers! I haven’t wanted to write – my journal reads with only one sentence pages.

I needed to change the internal dialogue – what would I say to someone I love if they were struggling [what have I said to my children] and immediately my perspective began to change.

In the same way that I had worked to become a couple for 30 years – I needed to give myself the permission [and time] to learn a new language of becoming “singular” and by my own definition what that meant for me in my own life – my own journey. Give myself permission to change my mind, permission to fail miserably – permission to absolutely have nothing but disdain for all of the “second-firsts” that I was now having to navigate. And since I have no frame of reference in widowhood my decision making efforts will truly have to be a trial-and-error process.

It’s freed me up to approach each new situation without the feeling of “win or loose.” I can experience defeat in my second-first attempts but not feel defeated by failure. I love the quote by Maya Angelou; “You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”