Anticipatory loss or grief is considered the ‘in between place‘ before you experience a life changing event. I’ve been naming, thinking and writing about grief more deliberately as I feel it adequately describes a lot of my early adult life. It has also been such an eye opening experience to find language, meaning and community with people who understand and elaborate on the varied shapes grief can take. For my short existence so far, I have struggled with transitions more than I’d like to. I have found that while I remain aware of the vast amount of my life that is outside of my control, change brings far too many of those especially when I have been working on creating routine and ritual that grounds me. In trying to identify what makes change particular difficult, the loss of possibility and the ‘ordinary’ stood out.
Loss of possibility and the ‘ordinary’ speak directly to my need for somewhat ordered chaos. Between the pandemic and the myriad of newness that has been and continues to be my reality, I’ve felt perpetually in flux. My mind pre- meditates and prepares for all the endings and all the things that no longer feel within my reach at the slightest indication of change. With this comes the anticipatory grief for things and people I haven’t lost yet. In the movies, this is accurately depicted when two heterosexual people both know their romantic relationship is coming to an end but neither of them end it till they have wrapped their heads around the reality of this ending and what it means for their now, future and everything in between. Now, my body treats endings, beginnings and changes all the same. For this reason, I’ve been working on rituals for transitions that give me much gentler landings.
As I work on reducing my body’s knee jerk reaction to thrust me into anticipatory grief, I am prioritizing my grounding toolkit. These are the things that fill me with ease when my mind irrationally and rationally jumps to the most difficult things that come out of the change. I’m right in the deep of an ‘in between place’ and one of the ways I’m holding on to myself is by continuing to write this post as scheduled. I am reminding myself that there remains room for me to be myself in the ways I know while other parts of myself are changing, up in the area or unsure. I am calling this ‘practicing possibility’ – I heard this term used by Scarlett of One Big Happy Life. I am teaching myself that my ‘in between place’ can be filled with possibility and not only all the things I am preparing, mentally and emotionally, to lose and to be without.
For a while now, I have been averse to the rigidity of the more common schedule which has meant my routine shifts every so often to quench my need for freshness. This has also been a way to train myself to cope with newness. Still, with my current place in life, I am in great need for some stability and calm in the things I have control over. I am learning the balance between giving myself room and practicing discipline in the ways I create structure. Part of this has included consuming lots of content around ‘healing rituals‘ and ‘reset routines‘ as I curate such a system for my in between places.