Jennifer Lyn Bartlett
3 min readJan 1, 2022


Inhale Hope, Exhale Grief: Moving Forward in The New Year

If you’re not feeling an abundance of excitement and joy to bring in a new year, know that you aren’t alone.

Even if you hold the slightest glimmer of hope for better days,

Even if you know that you’re ready to move on from the shitstorms of the past,

Even if you are grateful for where you are and everything and everyone in your life at this moment,

It is okay to mourn our former days.

Everything we have experienced up until this point — the failures, the triumphs, the riches, the losses, the trauma, the elation — every single thing that we have been through has informed who we are now.

Yesterday we were a little different. Two years ago, everything was different for the better or for the worst. Either way, we are not who we were then.

And to let go is to grieve.

I was writing in my journal this morning about all the things that I am anticipating in 2022. Between the good weaves the bad. Things that I cannot control but I know that I will have to deal with. Things that will take tremendous emotional, energetic tolls on my brain and my body.

Things like making (what feels like) radical leaps in my business.

Things like losing my dog, knowing that his days are limited because of his heart condition.

Things like major construction on our home that we did not anticipate while we are supposed to be focusing on recording our album, tying up our energy and resources while creating stressful, expensive distraction.

There will be growing pains for my business without doubt but ultimately I know it’s the right move.

We’ve been blessed with many years and joys with our dog. We will keep loving him and remembering the good memories well beyond his last breath.

And this house? I fought like hell to be here and we will take care of whatever we need to. I’ll be damned if I don’t leave this home a better place than we found it.

Anxiety is a funny thing. It can swallow you entirely if you allow it to. Even then, how much power do we really have?

If we cannot anticipate the bad, we mustn’t spend our time bathing in worry. As prepared as we think we are, we cannot control what is ultimately out of our hands. Even now, my brain is fighting me on this.

They teach us that it’s more important to be proactive than reactive but control is merely an illusion.

“Let go and let God” they say. But when the closest thing you know to a deity is mother nature, I guess the next best thing is to let nature take its course. But even then, mother nature, as mysterious as she is, is not a mystical creature who controls the narrative of our lives. She is a system of living, breathing, feeding and dying organisms constantly adjusting in a quest to find balance. And in our perspectives, sometimes she gets it wrong but those “mistakes” only carry such a label because of our own narrow vision.

Maybe nature knows what it’s doing, maybe it doesn’t but we do know that with every action is a reaction and humans have worked pretty efficiently at harming the wondrous beauty that nature has offered. The hard cold fact is that humans, while incredible creatures, are still only limited to what their brains and bodies can do. Those bodies decline over time and then eventually die.

All we can do in the meantime is enjoy it here. Right now. Giving time, space and recognition for the things that make existing worth it. We cannot avoid death and we cannot anticipate or end all suffering but we can help to make life worth the pain.

We can try to leave the world a better place than we found it.

Take pause.

Take note.

Inhale hope.

Exhale grief.

Move forward.

Find gratitude for the chance we all have now.



Jennifer Lyn Bartlett

Musings & poetry with an emphasis on relationships, dogs, parrots, music, vulnerability, mental health and my journey as a multi-passionate creative.