Adam’s been talking about the difference between simple and easy. I know no greater example of this distinction than the concept of letting go. It sounds so simple (and it is) and yet, at the time, when you’re trying to convince yourself to unclench those white knuckles, it seems so frigging difficult (and it can be). Simple versus easy.
A couple of weeks ago, I had gotten myself into quite a state. You see, I’d just left my job and I was taking a couple of weeks off. The only problem was that I was also expecting that I’d be somehow magically producing all manner of exciting results whilst on a very much-needed break.
Leading up to my last day, this song was my anthem (and everyone else’s in the entire galaxy, according to YouTube, Facebook and Pinterest):
You can probably imagine where this fun little puzzle landed me: Frustrated, annoyed and beating myself up for a) not producing results (that, remember, I wasn’t meant to be producing) and b) not taking time off properly (on account of all the results I was trying to simultaneously produce and not produce). What’s more fun than taking time off properly, right?
It sounds funny, and for my fellow perfectionists, this could be the story of any situation, or any given Tuesday (Tuesdays aren’t special; I can wind myself up into this plot any day of the week).
By week three, I was not in a good space. I was experiencing unease. Life was un-easy. I was ruffled and generally annoyed and pretty certain that it was all my own doing, which is always so much more irritating than when you can happily shirk the responsibility of owning your crap and instead blame it on others, Life or God (amirite?).
By Friday, I was pretty much vibrating with frustration. I was snappy, unhappy and a little bit crappy (it sounds more pleasant when you rhyme it, but I assure you that it wasn’t pleasant at all). I didn’t want to feel this way anymore, but I hadn’t figured out what the problem was, so I clearly couldn’t fix it. I didn’t want to be in that boat, but until I knew the coordinates, I couldn’t pick another destination.
I had to KNOW what was wrong before I could let it go, right?
Turns out, that’s not so; at 11 am or so, I’d had enough of my lame-ass attitude. I didn’t care what the problem was—I just didn’t want to deal with it anymore. So I unclenched my hand and I let it go. I didn’t see it as it slipped through those unfurled fingers; I just let it go.
When it came to being right or being happy, I chose the latter. I figured that if it was a big enough issue, I’d probably see it again and maybe I’d solve it then. Maybe not. Maybe I’d just let it go again.
[Tweet "When it comes to being right or being happy, which do you choose?"]
It was like losing eighty pounds. I picked some loud and awesome music and I danced around until the dog joined in and then I laughed until it hurt. I closed my computer and took the dog for a walk. I called my sister (AKA Most Favourite Person) and let some love in.
Simple, right? Right. So simple and yet, not easy, at least not the way I chose to get there. It could’ve been easy, but I wasn’t ready to accept an easy road until, well, I was ready to accept an easier road. Things are as hard as we decide they will be, after all.
Have I learned my lesson? Does this mean I’ll never hold on again? I’d love to say so, but that just wouldn’t be true. I find new things to hold onto all the time and convince myself that this situation is very different, and I’d better figure out what it is I’m holding onto, so that I can let it go.
What is true, though, is that the time between me noticing that I’m holding onto something that isn’t serving me, and the time I start to think maybe I can let it go, gets a little bit shorter all the time.
And I think that’s pretty darn good.
What are you holding onto and what would it be like to let it go? Can you let go without knowing what it is you’re letting go of, in order to make space for something new?