I am actively working on getting better at letting go.
I have been for some time now. My best friend from high school and I sometimes talk about who we used to be and the things we used to do. An example that gets brought up often is the obsession I had with money. I used to be crazy about it. Cheap and nitpicking, always counting what portion I ate at a dinner, down to the penny… remembering months later which friend owed me how much for every tiny little thing.
I was the most fun.
So I don’t do that anymore. Ever. Because every year or so I look at myself and think, “if I were your friend, what would annoy the shit out of me?” And then I work on changing that thing until it is a distant memory. I’ve been able to accomplish this annual self-awareness renovation project many times over, but of course, there are a few stubborn habits still lingering. Lounging. Okay loitering. The biggest one of these is letting go.
I’m a committer. I love my family, I love animals, I love my job, I love men, I love writing, I love my friends. If I put enough thought or time or heart into something or someone to the point of loving them… well, it’s just not in my nature to let them go. Even when it makes the most sense to part ways, it is still very hard for me. I drag my feet, thinking about that thing or person a little bit every day, wondering if it should have been different. It’s exhausting and I’ve wanted to change this for a long time.
Two years ago I went to a therapist. She had me visualize a red balloon which I would talk to and hug and then set free into the air over a meadow. Let’s just say I only saw her a couple of times. I’ve meditated, gotten drunk and cried, talked things out with friends, written letters and journals… nada. No progress. Because it feels like giving up. Like the hope is gone or I’ve abandoned that person or that thing my soul once chose to cherish.
One year and five months ago I was diagnosed with MS. But it was this morning that I woke up and realized that for the first time in my life, without really trying – without even noticing it, I had released control of something. Multiple Sclerosis has forced me to let go of what my future will look like. My body. My partners and friends. My energy, my abilities. The who what when and where are all a total mystery because I cannot control MS – so I naturally had to let it go.
Just like that, the gear shifts from neutral into drive and my newest and biggest reno project is within my grasp. I can’t control MS and I can’t control people or projects or circumstances. It is what it is.
It’s not giving up. I’m finally ready to accept that the universe might just know better.