It took me at least two years of frustration and pain to understand the magic of solo adventuring.
When you have been married to someone for years, and you are used to having someone by your side every day, when all of a sudden that person goes,
you go blind and lost.
You lose everything but your name.
You see fear in everything.
You even get lost while driving around in your neighborhood.
Something inside of you tells you every day that life is no longer what it used to be, and you are unable to function.
You feel paralyzed in an invisible way.
Doing things in pairs was easier.
This solo thing requires emotional and physical muscles you do not have.
This letter is all about getting this solo thing mastered.
Not because I believe you should not seek to do life in pairs, but because you need to have adventures regardless.
So here it goes.
First we have to redefine the word adventure after loss.
Building the muscle of solo adventures is like walking around the block before going to the gym. Or even going up and down your stairs before you climb a mountain.
So at first, the adventures will not be huge daring explorations but very small tiny experiences even inside your house.
Dare to try something unlike you.
Step outside of yourself for a few moments.
And into a brand new world you get to create, in solo mode at first.
Try new music while you are in the kitchen.
Get a new toothpaste you never tried before.
Go to your closet and give away your favorite dress,
find a new one to replace it with.
Let go of things that defined you.
There are so many of those inside of your house.
Get rid of them. I have to be direct about it.
You need to use these solo, mini adventures to find out who you are.
Holding on to your favorite things will keep you from knowing the new self that is emerging.
After my husband died, I could not bare the silence inside the bedroom and went and got the biggest TV I could find.
It was huge.
I wanted to bring the world inside the most lonely and heartbreaking place.
I also sold my car, his car, painted all the walls, took down all the pictures and re-framed new ones. Then I started moving my solo adventures outside of the house.
Solo beach walking.
Solo movie watching.
Solo car driving after dinner. Many of those.
Solo road tripping with my two baby girls.
And while you are finding your way in these solo adventures you are slowly stepping out of the old self and walking in to someone completely different.
Solo adventuring is not here to keep you lonely, it is here to keep you away from a ghost life inside the Waiting Room.
Ghost living is the experience you are still having even after your old life is gone.
You need solo adventuring to get out of it.
I wish I could keep my old life, it was almost perfect.
I wish you could have kept yours too.
But whether we like it or not that old life is no longer here, don’t stay in it.
It is a ghost town with one resident. YOU.
RUN. Run as fast as you can.
Get a new toothpaste, get rid of your favorite dress.
Do whatever it takes. However silly it sounds.
It will change your life.
With many solo moments,
P.S. I had a conversation on loss, transformation and being stuck in the waiting with Chantal of Emerging Women. You can listen here.