Some of us think holding on makes us strong but sometimes it is letting go. — Hermann Hesse
I hold onto things fiercely: movie ticket stubs, anger, prints of bad photos, grudges, logs of old exercise routines, worries, and, especially, the ground beneath my feet.
I’ve been getting better at letting go, but I still catch myself hoarding, whether it’s useless things or useless feelings.
For example, the moment my cutting board pushed the handmade garlic holder off the counter and I saw it shatter into pieces, I burst into tears. I remembered my dad, who has since passed away, writing the word “garlic” into the soft clay. I tucked the broken pieces into a drawer and couldn’t throw them out — for years. I finally hit upon this compromise. I took a photo of the word my dad had drawn and threw out the pieces.
I’m learning that it’s sometimes better to
At a recreation park, my kids waited in the water for me to jump off a cliff. I had climbed up feeling confident, but then I retreated from the edge. I needed a minute. And another. And five more. Why had a put this on my list? It would be so easy to back away, to go down the slide, to swim in the cool water.
I did it though. A moment of terror, an exhilarating plunge. It was intensely exciting, but I was glad it was over.
Our basement storage area had gotten so crammed that we could not maneuver through it any longer. This summer I cleared out about ten bins of old stuff. Most of it had been untouched since I had carted it from the storage area of my previous house. It was time to just let go.
I saved some favorite books and toys from when my kids were small. I made up boxes of anything that could be donated. Most of it, though, was just junk.
A suede jacket that had walked the neighborhoods of my adolescence, along with a tattered jean jacket and a faded peach prom dress, all joined a broken-down rocking horse and piles of un-stuffed stuffed animals in the dumpster.
When they hooked up the dumpster to pull it away, part of me wondered why I had ever saved these things; most of me felt of wave of sadness to say goodbye. I also felt a lightness of spirit, though. Sometimes you have to just let go.
I still have a ways to go. Somewhere in this house is a little container of old baby teeth.
- #47: Jump off a cliff.
- #72: Go through the basement bins and donate, sell, or throw out what I can.
What do you find it hard to let go of?