An Unexpected Benefit of the Unknown

A Clean Slate

“What about writing a book?” inquired my mentor Trish when I shared with her the breakthrough I experienced just under a month ago that led me to start this blog. Trish’s question was not as outlandish as it might sound. Before Reggie’s passing, I had lots of plans and goals for my life. One of which was to write a book. However, the trauma of adjusting to my identity as a widow caused me to hit the pause button on all my future plans and goals. My answer is “I don’t know.” I haven’t thought that far ahead.

Woman Thinking About What to Write on Her Clean Slate

Courtesy of iStock/Tsuji

No longer knowing who I am anymore makes it difficult, if not impossible, to know what the future holds for me. I never felt more in my purpose than when I was with Reg. It was as if I came alive in a sense when he came into my life. So, when he died, a part of me died with him. I didn’t want to go on without him, but I was still here.

I was so attached to the way things were that I continued in the same vein for a while. That provided some stability and time to mourn, but eventually, I had to let that go. Continuing after a certain point was like stuffing a round peg into a square hole. It just didn’t fit my life anymore.

To say this was uncomfortable is an understatement. My future was surrounded by uncertainty. The comfort and relative safety of the familiar is gone, but the excitement and anticipation of the new have yet to arrive. In their place is the uncertainty of the in-between, which at first left me feeling unsettled, stuck, and out of control. I’m not the person I used to be, yet I’m not the person I am to become either.

So, who am I now? In that question lies an unexpected benefit of the unknown—a clean slate. Though I didn’t ask for it and would have preferred to continue my life with Reg, with a new identity comes a clean slate.

When Reggie first passed away, the idea of a new beginning felt crippling. Now, I find it exhilarating, even a little liberating—mainly because I am thinking more about changing my current, post-Reggie life than my life with Reggie. My current life could use some improving, which makes the idea of a clean slate a welcome one.

There are other things that make a clean slate attractive now too:

  1. A clean slate doesn’t mean starting from scratch. This new beginning comes with all the wisdom I have garnered over the course of my life, so there are some things I know among the things I don’t know. For instance, I know what I don’t want in my life, like an unhealthy relationship.
  2. A clean slate provides a chance for self-reflection. To the wisdom from past experiences, I can add the wisdom of the present. My most recent adversity changed me. In what ways? What do I want to try, create, discover, learn, improve, influence, simplify, and/or achieve? Where do I want to visit and/or explore? Who do I want to meet, forgive, and/or spend more time with? Who’s lives do you want to touch and how? How do I want to grow and/or feel, both physically and emotionally? What brings me peace, joy, and comfort? What do I want to remove or stop? What will make this all worthwhile? What legacy do I want to leave? What do I want to do first, then next?
  3. A clean slate opens up possibilities that may have seemed limited before. Before his death, my father only travelled to see family. He got his fill of traveling the world playing professional soccer when he was younger. In his latter years, he was happiest with his family whether in his home or theirs. My mother, on the other hand, had not gotten her fill and has taken several overseas trips since his passing.

Recognizing the blessing of a clean slate is where I am in my journey. This blessing is helping me overcome the challenge of creating my new identity and I am using my clean slate to rewrite my story, to write a new ending. The first step is adding blogger to my new identity.

Thank you for joining me on my journey,


Question: In what ways have circumstances impacted your sense of identity? How would a clean slate benefit you? Please respond by clicking on the Comment, FacebookTwitter, and/or Pinterest buttons below.


2 thoughts on “An Unexpected Benefit of the Unknown

  1. Wow I sat reading your blog hit so close to home.with the murder of my brother and then a couple months later my sister Linda passing away .and my 5grandkids moving away I realized I’m not living I need to move on as you said a clean slate .but where do I begin and I realized with the things I use love my camera was part of my daily’s been in my closet a year.I thank you for the little nudge I needed it

    • Hello Susan,

      Thanks for commenting. I am sorry to hear about your brother and sister. Loss is never easy, nor is sharing our loses with others, so I commend you for reaching out and sharing your story. We can recover and rebuild our lives though–one step (or nudge 😉 ) at a time. Reconnecting with something you love, like your camera, is a a great start. Please feel free to update us on your progress either by commenting here or on other posts on the blog as we rewrite our endings together.

      May God bless you on this journey!

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