Let go. Two small little words that have the impact of a sucker punch. I am so bad at letting go. I cling to friendships, places, memories, because deep in my heart I use them to define who I am. If they let me down, then I just blame that on myself and not them. I deserved it and that’s the only reason they failed me. This is probably where you expect me to say that I let go of this attitude this year. But I’m not going to. While I am working on not allowing someone else’s mistakes to be my fault, I embrace the fact that I am a people person who is shaped by those around her. Now, I don’t blow around like chaff in the wind, but there are many people in my life who have had a strong impact on who I am, and that will never change.
Enough of that, as this is about what I did let go of. I let go of one thing and one person this year. I released them, freed myself from them and have soared farther than I thought possible because of letting go of them. I would never be where I am today or who I am becoming tomorrow if I hadn’t relinquished their hold on my life.
The first place that I let go of was home. It’s funny because I’ve always been a goer and a doer over being a homebody on Friday night. Yet, up until this year, I never lived more than three hours from my childhood home. I centered my job searches to the cities near my parent’s home and stayed as close as I could. Trips home were a weekly occurence – my mom is a fabulous cook and one of my closest friends. I had allowed it to tether me to South Texas. Keep me close enough that I could call daily and visit regularly. And I let go of that to move to North Dakota to be with B. I was going to be 1500 miles away. I cried driving away from my family, I cried crossing the Texas border, I cried when “God Bless Texas” came on the radio in the middle of South Dakota. Yet, they were only a 5 hour plane trip away. A short phone call away. Still close. Then we moved to Germany. I now live in a time zone 7 hours ahead of my parents. It’s roughly a 13 hour flight to get back home. Phone calls are impossible and Skype calls are rare. I had to let go of my childhood home in order to make a new home. My new home isn’t a place though, it’s a person. With B’s job in the military now we move too much for a place to be home. He is my home now and it couldn’t have been this way without letting go of my childhood home.
The person I let go of has fought much harder to stay in my life. She doesn’t want to go quietly. She still rants and raves at me every now and then that I should let her back into my life. I won’t. I let go of the career woman I could have been. I had two jobs in SA that were career path jobs. I could close my eyes and see myself working in the higher up positions of the non-profit I worked for or the one we partnered with. I could picture myself as the director of the Fine Arts program where I taught. I had it in me. So much so that the Exectutive Director of one of the non-profits told me she saw me as one of “her” type of people and that she could see me going far in the non-profit world. That career woman is gone now. I said goodbye to those two amazing, career path jobs, and drove to North Dakota hoping to land a retail position at the local mall. I had just been offered a manager position when we took the orders to Germany. I certainly know as a military wife that my job will be secondary to his for the rest of our lives. And I’m just fine with that. A job doesn’t come home with you after a long day and cuddle with you. It doesn’t give you a back rub or just hold you when you’re sad. I’m perfectly happy teaching piano or working retail as we move around, in fact, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
For 2011, there’s only one thing that I really want to let go of. And that’s my resentment of B’s ex. She’s still a good friend of his. I would love for her to magically disappear from our lives. We reached a breaking point earlier over this, with me contemplating demanding that he cut her out of his life. But I can’t do that to him. Or her. But I can work on not feeling hurt every time her name pops up in his email inbox (no, I don’t snoop through his emails, his computer screen faces me and is some 30 inches across). I can work on not wanting to write mean things on the Christmas card as I address the envelope to her (this year I was just proud that I didn’t carry out the action). I want to let go of this, because, as it stands now, she has power over me and I’m not cool with that.
Letting go, it has such a strange connotation in our world. People who relinquish are often considered weak. And yet, we cup so much more in gently open hands than in tightly squeezed fists. We never know quite what we will be able to take hold of and run with until we let go of what has been holding us back.