I’ve been doing a great deal of thinking about age lately. Maybe it has to do with turning 44 and realizing that if I’m lucky I’ve lived half my life. Maybe it has to do with my youngest rapidly approaching double digits and the days of Little Tikes and plastic taking over my home is long gone. Maybe it has to do with me actually not understanding the memes my teenagers show me and realizing that I am just not part of their generation.
I watch my kids. I feel my heart. It’s a heart that has been living a life learning to let go.
Honestly, I don’t think letting go comes naturally. That’s why there are the tears or Hallmark movies earn big bucks. That’s why greeting cards get sold and pictures are priceless.
We all know the moments are short within the length of our stories.
So I thought about where I’ve learned to let go….and thought maybe, in my honesty and vulnerability, it would let you breathe deep knowing that if you’re feeling the bittersweetness of letting go, that you just might not be alone.
I had to let go of my idea of parenting the moment my first was born. I thought I had all the answers and knew what I was doing but I really was a such a rookie pacing the floors with my very colicky newborn. I had to let go of what it meant to be a good mom. No longer was being a good mom about looking like I had it together – it was so much about surviving and making it through and realizing I didn’t have a clue.
I have had to let go of my kids. That’s this constant always thing. Just as much as they cling we, as moms, are in this spot of letting them go. Pushing them to try. New things. School. Driving. College. It’s just so much letting them grow, and thus go. It doesn’t make it easy of lovely, it’s just this space of giving ourselves grace.
I had to let go of the story I imagined for my life. I don’t think most of us sign up for divorce and think it will be an ideal life. Or sickness or death or financial issues or rebellious kids. And yet, most of the time, there we are standing in the midst of a story that really didn’t look like that picture of the life we imagined. And the more we cling to the old image the more uncomfortable we can become. So there is this beauty and joy in letting go and fully embracing the years we have now. Redeeming the story, loving the story, seeing the good.
I had to let go of my agenda. Oh my word, this one. Sometimes I wish I could be the toddler with the heels dug into the ground and could force my way, but life is about compromise and community and working together. And often clinging to an agenda that is only self beneficial isn’t the way to go. So I’ve let go.
I have had to let go of pleasing everyone. Trust me, from a people pleaser this is a challenge. It’s a huge and complicated thing for me. And it might seem to contradict the note previously, but the truth is this – I will never make everyone happy. And the things that I value and stand for the most, the might not make everyone else happy. And while I can let go of my agenda, I will stand for the path I believe I’m to walk and the words I believe I’m to write. So will it make everyone happy? Maybe not. But can it change lives? Yes.
So yeah, letting go.
I have had to let go of having all the answers. Most of the time I just make the best decision I can in the moment. And most of the time I don’t have a clue. But in that letting go I’ve also learned about grace and extending not only grace to others for myself in those moments. It’s trying, not fearing. It’s loving, not clinging. It’s life, truly.
Letting go and living without fear. That’s probably the most powerful. When you realize that you have this amazing opportunity one time – this life you life – then you can live without the fear of fear defining you. And letting go of fear and living fully might just be the most powerful moment one can live out of.
That’s the musings from this 44 year old. Tell me, my friends, do you feel that this letting go posture is just a rite of passage of life? Or is it just me? And nope, I won’t let go of my love of coffee.
In my book The Brave Art of Motherhood I talk about letting go of things, agendas and agreements and how to embrace life fully now. To get your copy go HERE.