It’s hard letting go. We’ve all had practice from childhood forward. There’s the letting go of relationships, letting go of expectations, letting go of children, __________________ (name of things you have already or need to let go here). An aside: those of you who put control in that blank might need a little more chocolate than the rest of the population. I’m just sayin’.
I’ve surprised myself with the children thing. Sure, there are some tears when the kids go to college, and I’m not one of those parents that leaps for joy when they walk out the door. I really miss them. But they have lives to live and I want them to live those lives without my getting in the way. At least trying to not get in the way. Depending on who you talk to.
Having to say a final good-bye to a family member too soon or even right on time is pretty hard to take. Death, however, doesn’t give us a choice about letting go.
And then there are the good-byes that come with life decisions. Those times of loosening our grip are not like death or sending kids into adulthood. There’s a pain but there’s also a benefit, and we choose which pain and benefit to take.
Do you pursue that career you set your heart on or do you let it go to spend family time that somewhere in the back of your mind you know will be limited? Do you let go of money and, frankly, some stability in favor of dreams or vice versa? Do you swallow an argument in favor of peace, or do you speak up when you’d rather keep quiet – letting go of your personal peace and space – for the sake of truth? Do you EAT THE CHEESCAKE?
This summer I am learning another kind of letting go. You know, it’s funny. I really enjoyed writing my first book (it will launch in a little over a month), letting my imagination take wing. You know how it is. You’re in your own little world working on whatever it is you love. Then someone says, “Yes, let’s share this”, and it makes you pause. Oh sure, it’s jumping up and down exciting, but thinking about other people reading what I’ve written is also a bit daunting. After I signed the contract, I started worrying about my grammar on Facebook posts. Things like that. What if someone thinks I’m talking about them in my book – which I AM NOT! What if someone disagrees with what I say in my book? What if they write angry emails or call me and tell me I’m wrong? I’ve actually had that happen a couple of times in response to a letter to the editor. (What I learned from those experiences is that the ones who like what you wrote write, the ones who don’t like what you wrote, call.) What if they simply think it’s the worst book they’ve ever read?
I just finished running through some of the publisher’s edits. I had a Ladies Retreat I was still preparing for when I got them, so I essentially pounded through 280 pages in three days. Three times. It was very hard to press send and give it back to the publisher. There were, I am sure, some other words or phrases or pages that could have been better. (Should have been better!) There were things overlooked, I am sure of it. But keeping it on my side of the “track changes” wasn’t going to do anyone any good at this point. I had to let it go.
That’s what we do, I guess. We let go. It’s tough and upsetting and scary.