It’s Wednesday afternoon and I’ve just finished yoga. I’m sitting at my desk because I have nowhere else to be. I know I should write. I know that when I do I will feel a weight off my chest. Out of my heart onto the keyboard. Alright, here it goes:

Ike, it’s been ten months since you passed and I’m still not sure what to do without you. It still doesn’t feel real. I still have to remind myself that you’re not coming back. Some days, most days now, I feel deep gratitude for the relationship we had, the life you lived, and the amazing people you left me with. Then, there are days when I’m lost, lonely, and everything reminds me that I’m here on earth without you. 

The media has focused so heavily on teenagers, college kids, the mid-life-crisis-ers, born again adults, but what about the fresh out of college kids who aren’t sure what to do? There are numerous jobs whose paths are clear. You start at point X then work your way up. What do we do if we don’t want to follow one of those career paths? What if we are one of the creatives, the entrepreneurs, or just the confused who don’t know our exact calling and aren’t sure how to get started? HEY EVERYONE, WHAT ABOUT US?

We see so many success stories online, on TV, and hear about them from people constantly. “She was offered this amazing job in the city after one interview.” “He graduated with an advanced degree and is doing another year. His company is paying for it.” That’s all fantastic. But that’s what we hear the most yet that’s what happens the least. No one likes to talk about their hardship or their complete failures or the time they spent just down trying to figure themselves out. That’s where I am now. I’m trying to figure things out. Here I am: Unemployed. 23. A bit lost but telling myself I am finding my way. 

When I think of who I was a year ago, I laugh because she was a completely different person. She was comfortable in small town Scotland. She was resting in a relationship she knew wasn’t forever because she was afraid to be alone. She was waiting for life to be better instead of actively trying to do and be better.  

The girl I was a year ago was moving to New York after University to start a marketing job she wasn’t truly passionate about but felt obligated to take to prove to everyone she was employable. She would have continued life at a distance from many loved ones because her brother was her link to so many. She would probably have held onto St. Andrews and various relationships for the sake of security. I believe I would still be that girl, or a version a lot more like her, had she not lost her brother. 

As hard as it has been, this past year has changed me for the better. I am better for losing you even though my life would be better with you still in it. I feel like I’ve begun to grow into the person I’m supposed to be. I am calmer, more present, allocating my time to suit my wellbeing and to connect more with the people I love and care for. I am this person now solely because I have tried to grow to shrink the hole you left behind in the hearts of many.

I now wake up in the heat of a bustling city. I live with, by an act of fate, a girl who I feel like I’ve known ten years when it’s only been about ten weeks. I take time for myself. I check in with how I’m feeling and act accordingly. I even started going to a California therapist who listened to me scream and cry for an entire hour during our first session. These sessions are much calmer now, I swear. 

The people I message for Friday night plans are new and exciting. Everyone walking on the street and in the grocery store are strangers, yet they talk to you like they aren’t (California- people here are weird in the best way). I’m in a completely different place, mentally and physically, than I was a year ago. I was truly someone else a year ago. Haha, that bitch. 

Everything in my life has changed. Everything has changed so drastically that trying to put my fingers to the keyboard to write about it all has been so daunting and terrifying I’ve been putting it off since the last time I posted. I have come to realize that I will always be scared of something, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t do it. If anything, it means absolutely the opposite. 

So no, I’m not always okay. And that’s okay. And yes, grief is apart of my daily life in a way that only those who have endured deep loss can truly understand. I’m a lost, out of school, young adult who is trying to figure out what the rest of my life is going to bring. I get scared sometimes. I have felt completely alone. Yet, I have grown immensely and decided my happiness is in my own hands. I choose to be a person who brings good to those around me. I choose happiness even though I have met pain. Life will be okay without you because I will make it okay. On that note, I’m going to go cook dinner for my friends.