…(Hmmm, have you ever made a list of what you need to be happy?)
Today I was re-reading an interview with the late actor Taylor Negron in which he said, “By letting go of what you thought was going to happen in your life, you can enjoy what is actually happening.” It made me realize my happiness list needs a #11: To be able to let go.
No one likes to give up, to feel like they’ve been defeated, but I don’t think that’s what letting go is. Letting go is more like shedding a skin (a situation/a goal/a desire) that just doesn’t fit anymore. Letting go is a phrase ripe with possibility; if you let go your hands are free to be refilled. My Pastor says (and you can see it throughout the Bible) that God never asks you to sacrifice anything without giving you something better in its place and I truly believe that, even if the “better” is simply a new perspective on a situation.
I’m working on letting go of having natural children, of getting married, of having a big publishing career with a huge readership. I realize this is the kind of thing that causes people to start patting your arm and telling cheery stories about their friend who didn’t get X until they were 50 or 60 or one foot in the grave. But letting go isn’t to me the same as giving up. For one, it’s an acknowledgement that there are just many things that are out of my hands. Letting go is also a bone-deep acceptance that not having those things–marriage, kids, whatever your thing is–may be disappointing and even, sometimes, heartbreaking, but there’s no checklist for a happy life that says you have to have all or any of those thing. I mean, as far as I can see, I don’t actually need any of those things to be happy and, quite honestly, I’ve been doing pretty well without them. Maybe tomorrow I’ll write a better list of what I need to let go of… maybe… cause who doesn’t love a letter that suddenly turns into a listicle?
To be continued…