"but leveling up in dark souls is a literal grind. as in, touch a stick, kill some monsters and touch the stick again to make them respawn or is it a fireplace, i forget.
unless you do new game+ in which its replaying the game but harder".
The choice to grind is yours entirely. I only grind a few souls here and there as I decide to do new things... if I'm ready to buy someone's sorceries but I can't afford it and am not getting too many at that point (and I know the total cost) I'll sit down at a decent location and get those souls. I don't grind the whole time just to level up, because there's no point. You could do that for all eternity, but why would you? "Just because you can" is sending you in the wrong direction. The game is best at certain levels each playthrough and area anyway, for co-op and invasions.... being too high will stop you getting those, which is a pity, and skew the game in general.
Also, New Game + is supposed to make the game last longer/keep it viable for your character, not make your grinding easier... the purpose of the game isn't to hit maximum level or even a high level. If there ever was a game where level grinding isn't the way to go, this is it. By all means, do some to hit your goals (maybe you want 36 Strength before you move on to Resistance, because you can then use a Shield/Sword you like) but certainly don't do much.
Like I say, and I'm not trying to be annoying about it or anything, just try it again and play it naturally. Higher level = not always the way to go anyway : )