Before you follow your dreams, you must mourn what you leave behind

I recently wrote a post about what I call my "incubation" period. It's about how a few months ago, this critical time started with confusion and panic, segued into deep loneliness, and morphed, upon my reluctant but gradual acceptance, into a graceful state of bliss. And from there emerged clarity, from there was born my newfound excitement for everything and everyone.

I'm now glad to have written about it publicly. What's more, I'm kind of blown away by the strong feedback I've received. People I don't normally talk to have messaged, texted, and even called me to say thank you for sharing, and that it resonated with them deeply. This has humbled me, so thank you.

I'll take it as a sign to keep doing my favorite thing in the world: sharing myself through my writing.

But there's one point I forgot to include in that post that I think is essential to tell about that story: that time was as much a mourning for the past I chose to leave behind as it was preparation for the future I was about to embrace.

I would be remiss if I didn't underline and italicize just how hard I tried to make it all work last year since graduating from Brown. The consequences of failure seemed vast, so I tried in earnest. The same could be said of the relationship I was in: I cared, and I tried, and it didn't work.

The grief I felt over having "failed" at leading a star-studded career path within the ranks of Google was very real. I had dreams of leveraging that job as a springboard into something that could uplift my mom's life into the life I've always felt she deserved. I had hopes that my comfortable salary there would let me pursue side projects so I could explore my entrepreneurial dreams without the big risks. I had attachments to the prestige that came with being able to say I used my Brown education to get a great job at a world-class company, and that the sacrifices my mom had made for me were now finally and tangibly worth it.

Same could be said of the relationship that at one point mattered so much to me. The earnest effort I wholeheartedly put into both of those things left my heart a little shattered from the futility of it all.

There's a natural grief process that the heart and soul must undergo, I think, to come out on the other side fortified. Otherwise, you're brittle in all these cracked places and if you try to forge ahead like nothing happened, you're always just one more loss or so-called failure away from breaking into a million pieces.

That's why I had to take the time. The future that was waiting for me depended on it. I can see that now.

My rock bottom wasn't devastating because of the loss. Everyone experiences loss, and some with more grace than others. It was hard because I had tried so hard and what I'd been working for slipped from my grasp, all in one fell swoop. And to move onto the next thing, a more beautiful thing, I had to give the end of the previous chapter the moment of silence it merited.

If you experience loss, you need time. Not just so you can get clarity, but so you can shed the weight of the past and move freely forward. It's a lighter, more joyful way to move through life.