When I was a young girl, I distinctly remember having a nursing outfit for dress-up. Later on in my life, that nursing uniform became reality and I went on to spend thirty years in the profession. Thirty years! Sounds like an age doesn’t it!

Add into that thirty years, my beautiful husband, twenty-five years of marriage and a world move from the U.K. to Australia. That there my friends is the recipe of my old life.

But I was about to get a wake-up call. A whole new life was about to start for me. That new life started on September 1 2019. The day after I lost my husband. While he had a great life, fifty-five years was very young to go. I knew that my life had changed and that I had to move forward, not immediately I hasten to add, but over time.

Here I am nine months on from that dreadful day and I thought that I would share with you some of my best hints for moving forwards in a new life.

Accept what has got you to this position.
That is the biggie here. If you cant understand, realise and accept what has brought you to where you are, moving forward is going to take a long, long time. From my perspective, I had to realise that no matter how sad I was, nothing was going to change. I couldn’t bring my husband back. Someone older and wiser said to me “it is what it is.” My Dad was very right. It took me a while to see that.

Make your plan.
Make a plan. What do you intend to do? Are you going to change jobs? I had been off work for almost two years caring for my husband at home. Prior to his death, he had stated to me to “have a year off and do something you’ve always wanted to do. Travel and see everywhere we didn’t see together.” That became my new plan. Have the year off. Get my head together and start my new journey.

Keep in touch with friends
Especially after grief, it is very noticeable that some friends drop off the radar. They will not want to upset you. They may have been more of your partner’s friend than yours. While it is understandable, it is hard for the person left behind as you are then grieving your loved one and friends, friends that are still alive.

All I will say is make the effort. Send emails. Get out to see them. If you can’t, tell your friends why. Be completely honest. I found it was a great ice breaker to be the first one to talk about my late husband. They knew then that I was happy to chat and they could open up. After all, they’re grieving too.

Ask for help if you need it.
This one settles hand in hand with keeping in touch with friends. From my perspective, I am the worlds worst at asking for help. I’d rather struggle on and do things myself. If you find that you need someone to talk to, ask a friend over for coffee and tell them you need their help. Email a friend and explain that you need a hand with something your husband/wife used to do. I am lucky in that I have an amazing friend who says “I’m coming and we are going for lunch and I will not take no for an answer.” That’s a true friend. One that just knows.

Realise what you want.
The instant that I started writing again, I knew this was for me. The words I would use are perfect, cathartic, calm, excited and so many more. If something can make you feel all of these emotions and sometimes at once, you know it is right. Doing something you love is a precious and valued commodity. Never give that up.

In conclusion, I can tell you that I was lucky. I had a great part one with my late husband and now have found a career that I adore. I have two books being published and many more ideas circling round!

I used my grief to underline my hints for you but these hints can be applied anywhere. Have you changed career? Have you moved to the other side of the world? Have you lost a loved one? Has something happened in your family life needing you to reevaluate things?

Whatever has happened or may happen in life, remember one thing. You are the one in the driving seat. You decide where life goes next.

Joanne is a 48-year-old ex registered nurse who was widowed in 2019. She wrote when she was a young girl and shared with family and friends. However, since the loss of her husband, her writing became more passionate and cathartic in nature for her. She completed a Diploma in Professional Writing and a Certificate in Creative Writing with high marks. She has had two articles published and is presently awaiting the publication of her first two books, one poetry and one children’s book. She is passionate about her new career path and looks to constantly improve.