“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear”
Today I read a journal entry of mine from back in April 2018.
At that time I was living in Auckland, I was working hard – laying foundations to eventually make something of myself. I was pretty naive, but having so much fun living the fast paced life of a young professional, and experiencing all the excitement (and challenges) of living in the big smoke.
In my journal entry, I had set some goals. My goal for 2020 was to travel. Specifically, Europe and South America. The dream has always been to quit whatever job I was doing after getting 2 years of work experience and book a one way ticket for an adventure of a lifetime.
Last year I did just that. After quitting my cool PR job I moved home to Christchurch and booked a one way ticket to the UK for August 2020.
I imagine you can see where this story is heading. Fast forward to today – I have flight credit, but no longer a plane ticket. My goal of experiencing the adventure I’d dreamed of for almost my whole life is no more.
And now I am grieving.
Along with the rest of the world, I’ve been experiencing a rollercoaster of emotions in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. We all have something to grieve in this time. Plans to let go of. Dreams to put on hold.
Grieving over a dream is an interesting experience. The rollercoaster for me has gone from feeling disappointed, to excited about not leaving my friends, to sadness over the things I was looking forward to, and then to fear over what my future holds for me now.
I’ve been thinking about what this travel experience actually meant to me. It represented independence. Courage. Adventure. It was going to be a huge risk, and I had huge expectations that it would be significant in shaping my life.
I’ve also thought about how I’ve always perceived living in Christchurch. To me, it’s safe. Homely. Settled. Familiar.
That terrifies me. The fear of settling in my early 20’s is at the front of my mind right now. The thought of settling into a comfortable routine that I may never want to leave, is frightening. On top of that, who knows when travel will be a realistic option again.
The future is uncertain. And more than ever, we need community. Together we can support one another as we grieve our losses. We can comfort each other. We can hold each other accountable to make our dreams a reality against all odds. We can remind each other that uncertainty can be exciting.
And most of all, we can encourage each other not to lose hope.
Dreams will come true, and while it’s important to work through the grief process for all that will be lost this year, it’s crucial that we don’t let that grief consume us and take away our hope.