Our instructor gave us the example of a yard sale she held this past weekend. She had hired someone to oversee the sale because she knew she wouldn’t be able to part with anything. She looked out the window to see someone carrying a toy she had bought her son for Christmas a few years ago that cost about $100 at the time. Her son hadn’t labeled the toy with a price, and when the sale was over, she found out that the toy had been sold for $5, and was extremely upset. Not because of the money, but because of how hard she had worked to find the toy, how much she had saved to buy it, and now it was just another $5 toy at a yard sale. She noted how crazy this was, because really, who cares how much a toy you bought 4 years ago went for at a yard sale? She was too attached to the toy.
I started thinking about this concept as it applies to my own life and I began to wonder about the things I might be too attached to. A few came to mind:
- My 50 states goal
- Pain in my past
I’m pretty much fine with being too attached to sugar and beer, even though I can’t have near as much sugar as I used to since my stomach surgery. Therefore, I’m not going to worry about my attachment to them, even though I’m pretty sure those two things do not make up the base of the food pyramid.
However, over the course of the last 6 weeks or so that I’ve been injured, I’ve been sort of forced to think about my 50 states goal and the possibility of me finishing the states before I turn 30 in December 2015. Is it still something I want to do? Yes! Is it still possible? If things continue the way they are going, yes. But what happens if something changes? What if my financial situation changes for the worse, I keep getting injured, or I move to Africa and start a new job leading safaris? I mean, who knows what could happen, right? So what would that mean for me and for my self esteem? Realistically, the answer before I got injured, whether I knew it or not, would be that I would be devastated and feel like a failure. I would probably have abandoned this blog. I would probably make myself nuts trying to fit everything in at the last second and end up doing races I wasn’t really interested in just to check off states, which is something I’ve consistently tried to avoid. Thinking about the concept of letting go this week, I’ve been forced to ask myself why this is so important. Does anyone but me really care if I run a marathon in all 50 states before I turn 30 or not? Is anyone’s life adversely impacted if I do not (besides the lack of fascinating stories on this blog, naturally)? The answer, of course, is no. So rather than put arbitrary pressure on myself, I’m choosing to let go of the idea and make room to move in whatever direction I feel led. If that means I want to run a marathon in a few new countries first, I will. If it means I don’t finish the states until I’m 31 because I got too busy with my new company, ok. It can’t define who I am and how much I feel I have contribute to the world, because at the end of the day, even if I never run another marathon (God forbid), I have still run 40, which is pretty good, I think.
I was also forced to confront part of my past this weekend while I was out on my long run – 10 miles, woo! As I ran through an intersection, I saw my ex-husband sitting on his moped. His vision is not good enough for him to be able to drive a car, and I’m not sure whether he saw me or not, but he did look at me sort of funny – again, it’s hard to tell what he can and can’t see. Knowing him, if he recognized me, he would have said something. The point of this is to say that I was very jarred by the experience. I spent the rest of the day thinking and talking about him way more than I prefer, and it’s not because I’m still in love with him or anything like that. It’s because I am still holding on to the pain from our relationship and divorce, and even though I’m not angry anymore, I am still sad. It is so easy for me to mentally go back to that place in my life, and in a matter of minutes I’m beside myself with grief. Previously, whenever I ended one bad relationship, the pain from it stuck with me until new/worse pain replaced it and made me forget. Well, clearly, I do not want to repeat that cycle for the rest of my life. I have to force myself to let go of that pain and trauma and stop holding on to this vision of myself as a victim. That is in the past now, right? My life, by all accounts, is going pretty damn well, and even though I remember that most of the time, it only takes one song or one picture to bring it all back. The reality is that I have forgiven him, but I have not forgiven myself. I have to do that in order to let go and make room for new happiness and trust for others in my life, which is currently not my strong suit. Easier said than done, but necessary.
Finally, I need to let go of fear. I am currently reading Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg, and even though I know not everyone loves that book, it is honestly changing my life. So much of what she says rings true to me because I am so fearful of my own abilities (or lack thereof), afraid of failure, and afraid of truly committing myself to a career and life that I am passionate about. That has to stop. I have to be prepared to take risks, fully engage myself in what I’m doing, and be willing to grow and change in whatever direction life takes me. I think back to so many conversations that my business partner and I have had over the past 2 months, and in so many of them I now realize that the way I acted and the things I said were totally based in fear of the unknown. No one succeeds in business if they are governed by fear. As they say, “Fortune favors the bold.”
So clearly, I have a lot of self improvement stuff to work on, but I feel like admitting your problems is half the battle, right? Wow, that’s a lot more than I expected to get out of a yoga class.
LEAVE A COMMENT: What do you need to let go of?