How I Keep Myself Grounded After Life’s Hardships

Understand that "some things are and some things are not"

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, a tectonic shift happened in my life recently. I’ve had to say goodbye to the country I called home for 30 years after my visa application got rejected. The story would have hurt less if I didn’t get a job and had to leave. But the truth is, I did get a new job.

Not only that.

But my boss applied for me twice. He seriously believed there was a mistake in the system so he didn’t tell me about the first rejection and convinced HR to submit my application again.

And it got rejected again.

This time he told me.

And I had to pack and move back to the country whose passport I carry – Kenya – after a lifetime living in diaspora.

Because #MentalHealth is something I worry a lot about as I have a natural predisposition to anxiety and depression, how I’m teaching myself to cope is through grounding myself. Especially now that I’ve turned into the cliched millennial back in my parents’ extra bedroom (Thank God it’s not the basement). My personal grounding elements are; a positive attitude, a place to pray, a roof over my head, food on the table, books to read, and empty papers to write on. When you’re stripped of everything that is familiar, you start to learn what really matters in your life.

Focus on the Now. As I listen to people around me who got much sadder than me about my own story (especially my mother), I realize that the part that pains the most is the discrepancy between what is and what could have been. What could have been was me settled in a good job, making good money, getting good experience; a rocket soaring to the stratosphere of success. The reality, however is me, standing in my launching pad…not moving an inch, asking for pocket money to buy data bundles so I can upload this.

Yet I keep on reminding myself of a profound quote of Louis C.K.’s. “Some things are and some things are not.”

The job and the visa were two things that were not.

That’s just the reality, and thinking of the ‘what could have been’ is just a waste of cognitive energy. So I try to be mindful and focus on the present, and just the very next step that I’m supposed to take. 

Be grateful. Another thing I try to do is take a few moments every morning to be grateful. I’m grateful for the 3 decades living in the Middle East to begin with. I picked up an extra language. I picked up great friends who are now spread across the world. I’m grateful for all the opportunities that were opened for me in that country. Now that I’m in Kenya, I’m grateful to be surrounded by a loving, supporting family.

Most importantly I’m grateful for my love for reading.

And for the list of books I carry in my kindle I still haven’t opened.

The relevant books I’m reading now are;

Option B by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant that’s teaching me such a hardship is not personal, permanent, or pervasive. Losing a job & moving out of the country does not diminish me in any way. It gives me a chance to go through a post-traumatic growth.

Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday that’s making me reframe this experience to the inciting incident of the story where I’m a hero. The way I react to this moment will help shape and define me so what matters next is I stop whining, and I get to make the best of the situation. What I tell my friends is, “My life story is going to make one hell of a Ted Talk.”

Most importantly, I try to write every day. Even if I don’t post every day, at least I try to put pen to paper or finger to keyboard. I write to process my feelings. I write to extract the pearls of wisdom from within every also try to share the insights I gain during this experience with others, in hopes it’ll help them if they ever face such a situation. 

If you’re going through something similar, let’s connect on  my blog http://ahscribbles.com/ and follow me @ahechoes on twitter/IG

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