Let Go

When I look back on my life, I begin to see what was probably obvious to everyone else: I’ve been a control freak. In college, I tried so hard to find new friends that I effectively scared them away from me. Instead of letting things happen organically, I tried to force it.

As more of a tomboy, I sought out the friendship of boys. And as anyone could guess, that often led to trouble during my college years. I found myself on accidental dates. Or worse: the time I asked an acquaintance out for coffee.

I really wanted a friend and he was someone I admired. I knew he had no romantic interest in me. I just wanted to talk and maybe become friends. He didn’t reply to the message I sent. That’s the last time I remember interacting with him.

There were so many times I did this to myself. I worried and clutched tight when I really needed to let go. Letting go is one of those things that sounds so simple yet always leads to a struggle. It could be key to happiness for so many people, myself included.

If I could just let go of my grip, some of the bad things would blow away. And that would leave my hands open to receive the good things life has to offer. This is the great lesson at this time in my life.

I switched to a new job. It’s not perfect for me, but I really can’t complain. The atmosphere is tenfold better, which was enough for me to accept a pay cut. Except I actually ended up with a raise instead.

Everything seems to be lining up, except one tiny detail: it’s temporary. It could end if funding doesn’t allow them to renew my contract. And as a recovering control freak, that is downright terrifying. (Perhaps this is when I am forced to recover? Can a control freak be forced to do anything she doesn’t want to?)

Maybe life’s trying to help me with this self-improvement project. This job could be exactly what I need in ways I could never have guessed. Worrying isn’t going to help my situation. So I’m trying to just sit back and enjoy the ride, wherever it may lead.

It’s time to let go of the worry, anxiety, and anger. It’s time to start fresh with open, empty palms. That way, when opportunity sweeps in, I’ll be ready to catch it.

Cheers to letting go.

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Photo credit: another.point.in.time via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

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Not Quite There

Photo credit: derekskey / Foter / CC BY

My dreams once felt within my grasp. But there are times they float a little farther from me. But like a balloon on a string, they never go too far. Some days I feel like letting go of the string. But I can’t. This string is tied to me. In the rash movement of emotion, I can’t undo the knot. And once my mind calms, I realize I don’t want to untie it.

Some days, I sit and wish my lost hope would return. Then I feel a gentle tug. The dream is still there and within it lives hope. Never too far away.

Our eyes see what we want them to see. We can easily overlook the horrible things we see in the street, turning them into an unimportant blur in our memory. We can convince ourselves we are 12 feet tall and invincible or that we stand small as a thimble. If we are invisible, it is because we have made ourselves unnoticeable.

That gentle tug of our dreams isn’t always enough to pull us out of our own self-induced sadness. We’ve told our eyes that it’s dark and we can’t see, despite the lanterns lighting the way. We tell our cold legs that they can’t go on, despite the warm sun on the horizon. How easy it is to fall into that pit of despair when there is less to despair than we want to believe.

Life can be dramatic. Or we can make it so. And that can work in two different ways. We can be enthused and in awe of what’s around us in such a passionate display that people stop and take notice. Or we can convince ourselves that all is lost and there is no way out, even when the doorway is within sight.

The craziest thing about all of it is that we are in control. We have so much more control of our lives than we often believe. But we don’t have to take charge of our fate. We can sit quietly in place and let the world pass us by with all of the good and bad it may or may not bring. Anyone can live a passive life.

I want to live an adventure.

I want to stop in my tracks and gawk at the wonder surrounding me. I want to appreciate the things that have been put here to be appreciated. I want to see potential where others see misfortune. I want to reach up when I feel like collapsing down.

That comes from within. And if it’s not there now, it can be nurtured back in from wherever you buried it, no matter how long ago. But it takes time and patience. Self-forgiveness can be just as difficult as standing tall during trials.

Today, choose to see the best. See what could be instead of what is lacking.

Love instead of hate.

Be alive!

You will get there someday.

Photo credit: derekskey / Foter / CC BY

Rock My World

There is such romanticism about foreign countries, especially when you are single. Long before I met my husband, I dreamed of meeting a foreigner who would marry me and take me far away from my humdrum life in the States. I’ve always been an adventure-seeker. And that sounded like the adventure of a lifetime.

Looking back on it, what I really wanted was someone to shake up my views and my world. I wanted to be challenged culturally and individually. I wanted someone to rock my world. And I got it.

I’m not jetting off to Australia for months at a time (maybe when we retire?), but I am having quite the adventure. Husband has shaken up my views in so many ways. We have come from very opposite sides of the spectrum in various ways. And we tend to pull each other closer to the middle ground.

I think there is a tendency to be less flexible when you are at either extreme. Just take two people with two very different opinions. If they are both fully convinced of their opposing views, they will not likely change those views after a debate. But when someone is in the middle ground, they are hearing and understanding both views, finding a place of understanding between them. And that place can shift as understanding shifts.

In some ways, like housework, this means the house is not as clean as I grew up with, but more organized than what Husband is used to. In bigger ways, I am less stingy when it comes to helping someone out financially, while he is more careful with his spending than he used to be. We balance each other out.

This relationship has shaken up our stiff views. Being with him has challenged the presumptions I’ve always held. It has forced me to back up what I believe. And that is fantastic. It has helped me foster my individuality. That’s not to say my thought process has been torn to shreds, but now I know more about where I stand and why. And sometimes I’m firmer in my original viewpoint than before. (I can’t say I stay in the middle ground all the time, but I don’t think anyone should linger there with every opinion.)

My husband is a procrastinator, while I’m more of a planner. I used to be stuck on the idea of something working out perfectly and in the perfect time. Now, I realize it’s going to happen when it happens and there’s not a lot I can do about it. For instance, he tends to push it when it comes to putting gas in his truck. There have been times when we barely made it to the next gas station. It used to fill me with sheer panic. I would imagine the worst-case-scenario and convince myself it would happen that way. My heart would race and I would wonder why I even decided to step into that truck at all.

Though I still hate it when he does this, I have learned to breathe and ride with it. Worrying is not going to help the situation. And it almost always works out in the end, even if it doesn’t come with the best immediate circumstances. He is teaching me to live as dangerously as I dream about. Talk about keeping me genuine. A true adventure-seeker doesn’t cry when the gas runs out. Now, as for helping him with the procrastinating….I’m still working on that.

Real adventure is never what you expect it to be. After all, the reason it is an adventure is because of the risk and the unknown direction. It’s not predictable or it wouldn’t be an adventure. I may not be hanging out Down Under, but I’ve still got my adventure right here. And he continues to rock my world.

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Photo credit: graphistolage / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Instantaneous Me

We are a society that demands and encourages instant gratification. It’s the reason people struggle to stick to their budget–they want what they want and they want it now. It’s the reason some people overeat or binge on junk food. They must have their food now, no matter the caloric cost. It’s why people actually buy those diet pills that promise weight loss in just two weeks. They don’t want to sweat it out and lose the weight naturally (and slowly) through habit changes.

We are an impatient people.

But despite our desires for instant results, life changes and progresses in baby steps. Sometimes the steps seem so insignificant that we don’t even know how we got where we are now. We can’t retrace our steps.

I want change. I think that’s quite obvious from my previous posts. But I wanted a big, explosive, life-changing event with instantaneous results. I wanted to be propelled forward into that grand, picturesque future. But life doesn’t work like that. There’s growth that must be had along the way. Instant results are bad for us. As it is said, the struggle brings character. It makes us stronger. Wiser.

I’ve overlooked so many baby steps. I don’t know how I got where I am today. I couldn’t do it over again in the exact same way. But I am here. And those little steps–those tiny changes–got me here. Some were so small that they felt insignificant. But together, they created my life as I know it today.

I’m too impatient. I want the big screen TV without the big screen budget. Life doesn’t offer credit cards. You can’t get what you want without the actual resources you need. But in the end, I think we’re all fully equipped for the future we’re meant for. We just have to have the courage to use those resources. The courage to act. To risk. To let go. To be patient.

Even a change in mindset can be a step in the right direction. The key is to keep moving. Something great lies ahead, but it’s not the end; it’s just a place along the path. A place to linger and enjoy the view. But the sun is hot and you’ve got to keep moving. One foot in front of the other. One good thing at a time with anticipation of the next one ringing in your ear. Avoid the snakes on the path. Stop. Breathe. Learn. Be grateful. Therein lies the reward.

We just have to be patient.

To Fly or Fall?

Photo credit: 4ELEVEN Images / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

There is so much negativity in this world. And for some reason, it spreads faster than all the good stuff. Sometimes I feel like I drown in it. The air is so thick that it’s hard to swallow. But I have to breathe, so I inhale the fumes, longing for some fresh air. It’s so easy to get sucked into the idea that all is lost. Why is it so hard to pick ourselves up out of the dirt that we don’t really want to roll in?

I think we get too comfortable. We feel secure with where we’re at and what we’re doing in the moment. It’s not that we are fulfilled by it, but we don’t have the will or the energy to fight for what we really want. We succumb to the parasite, knowing that it will make us numb. That same parasite gnaws at our dreams until there’s only crumbs left. We become so scared to get out of our comfort zone that we accept the things we loathe.

I feel like I’ve done that with my life. I’ve become stagnant. Not long ago, I was an adventurer taking flight and traveling the world. I was eager to experience everything, even the uncomfortable or the unknown. I still am that person. But because of how I’ve been living the past few years, I’ve become less comfortable pushing the limits.

I’ve begun to believe the lies about the sky falling. I’ve been panicked when I should be calm and worried when I should be enjoying the thrill of the ride. New experiences should be exciting, not frightening. After all, without them, life would be one big blur of monotony. The only way to grow individually is to be challenged individually.

I can’t expect to develop into a better person by sitting around waiting for it to happen. It’s time for some action on my part. I have to remove myself from the dullness of my box and get back out there. It’s certainly time for a new route along this journey.

Cliff diving would be the perfect symbolic initiation into a new adventure. I’d like to view it as a short flight rather than a fall. But then, I am a dreamer.

I’m so ready to let go, take the leap, and linger in the air just long enough to be able to savor the crisp, cold water at the bottom. Let’s go diving!

 

Photo credit: 4ELEVEN Images / Foter /Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)