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Risk-taking at its finest

Emma Grey

The quote is from Sheryl Sandberg, in an article in The Atlantic.

I’ve noticed my work and writing is absolutely crucial to my recovery over the last 10 months since my husband, Jeff, died. It’s crucial, not because I can use work to run away from grief (I’ve never run from it), but because my work and creativity is the ‘safest’ part of me, not dependent on my relationship with anyone else.

I’ve met more than one widow in the last few months whose world is smaller, years after losing her husband—because her husband was her whole world. ‘Without him’, I’ve heard over and over, they have ‘nothing’.

It’s the same when a parent invests everything they are into being a parent. When the child becomes independent (which is the entire point of raising kids), they’re bereft and left without purpose.

There’s nothing more dangerous than placing your entire future happiness into the hands of one person. This doesn’t diminish the size or extent of your love for someone—love can still be extraordinary—it just means you’re a ‘whole’ person, sharing love with another ‘whole’ person. When it’s like that, the sky (for each of you, and as a couple) is the limit.

Jeff threw kerosene onto the fire of who I am as a person—not water. If I could give my children one quality to look for in a partner, that would be it. Because when both of you encourage the other to grow, you continue to fall more and more in love with the remarkable human being you’re with. That kind of love feels unstoppable – even after death.

Just as a financial adviser would suggest diversified investments, it’s important for each of us to diversify our reliance on various people and things. Our futures are uncertain. We need to draw our enjoyment of life from several different sources. We must back ourselves, which isn’t about shutting everyone else out, but about letting more of ‘you’ in.


Emma Grey

Emma Grey is the Canberra-based author of ‘Wits’ End Before Breakfast! Confessions of a Working Mum’ and ‘Unrequited: Girl Meets Boy Band’. She’s director of the life-balance consultancy, WorkLifeBliss and co-founder of a fresh approach to time-management, My 15 Minutes. She lives just over the ACT border with her two teen daughters and young son. More about the Author

  • Leanne Pugh

    So well put, and so perceptive. Once again, thank you for a very helpful piece.