Life continues to amaze, delight, and confound me. Unraveling my spirit from the grips of grief, I have emerged altered, and changed. I am different. Grief morphed me into someone new, forged and carved me with the sharp edges of desolation and despair. It reshaped and restructured my molecules and a new me emerged, scarred but gloriously alive and entirely present.

While I am not entirely sure who the new me is, I have begun to whittle it down to who I am no longer. I’m no longer interested in sadness, unnecessary drama, betrayal, and pain…goodbye. I’m no longer interested in wasted words or deeds. I’m no longer interested in making myself uncomfortable simply for the sake of getting along. I’m no longer interested in someone else’s idea of me. I’m over conforming, and contorting, and confining myself to a version of myself that no longer exists. The old tools simply don’t fit the new doors I have to unlock or the unchartered roads I must travel. I’m going to need a whole new set of tools.

So much of my life is exactly how I imagined it, but it too is changing. As I watch my two teenage sons begin independently navigating the world with a combination of uncertainty, exhilaration, and excitement as they prepare for their own life transitions, it provides a roadmap of the tools I will need on my own journey. Their resilience and optimism continues to motivate me to take new chances as they cheer me on to new heights. When I look at the young men they are becoming, I am grateful that my husband and I have been blessed with these two extraordinary and enlightened souls. They are constantly reminding me that new challenges require new solutions, sometimes daring and bold, (whoever told them that?). While they pack up their own toolkits and set off in search of their adventures. I am doing the same. I take comfort from knowing that no matter where we all go, we are each other’s North Star. That might be the greatest tool I possess and thankfully one that will never need to be replaced in my toolbox.

I’m looking ahead at where I want to be and I am gathering the necessary tools to serve me on my quest for new vistas. It’s been a long and hard climb from the valley of mourning but I can see the dappled rays of sunlight peaking through and I’m heading that way. I am certain of one thing; the terrain may be different but so now, thankfully, so am I.