Just let go: Jump off a cliff

let go; jump off a cliff

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.

let go

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. In my house somewhere is a little container of old baby teeth.

Letting go




What do you find it hard to let go of?

101 things in 1001 days:

  • #47: Jump off a cliff.
  • #72: Go through the basement bins and donate, sell, or throw out what I can.

{Check out my ebook about this quest: Timid No More.}

#47 Jump off a cliff

Write on Edge | Gallery of Favorites | Yeah Write 72 | Writers’ Week

About Marcy

I blog about trying to get out of my comfort zone, completing 101 things in 1001 days (and beyond), and writing my memoirs. My book: Timid No More.
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40 Responses to Just let go: Jump off a cliff

  1. Monique says:

    Good job with being able to let things go! That’s great that you were able to take a photo of the garlic holder and toss the pieces. I’m going to move to a smaller place next month so I need to start going through my things and decide what is important enough to hold on to and what needs to go.
    Monique recently posted..Moving ProsMy Profile

    • Marcy says:

      That’s great that you are going to make the decisions now. I have tended to cart things around for years! Thanks for visiting.

  2. beebeesworld says:

    Still have the sets of baby teeth and lots more. We save things for two reasons, out of habit and for sentiment. I am all for saving the sentimental things, leave a note with them for your children…one day they will become family treasures. Nice story…beeebeesworld
    beebeesworld recently posted..New Theme: AvidMy Profile

  3. Mayor Gia says:

    I’m definitely a bit of hoarder too, especially with sentimental stuff. WHOA cliff jumping!!!
    Mayor Gia recently posted..Mayor Gia’s Creation StoryMy Profile

  4. lumdog says:

    I thought you were describing me in this piece. I have drawers full of stuff I will never use. I keep all the things my kids made, though. Great story!

  5. christina says:

    sometimes it’s sooo hard to let go, but then so empowering.
    awesome that you jumped off a cliff! 🙂
    christina recently posted..Tales of the Spoiled one.My Profile

  6. What a great message. I used to save everything too. But now that I’m older I realize those things you love do get broken and all those papers I was saving for goodness-knows-what get yellowed in the attic. A great reminder in choosing the right thing to keep and the ones that are better discarded.
    Jamie@SouthMainMuse recently posted..Doesn’t anyone think it odd?My Profile

  7. Flood says:

    Wow, talk about write/right on edge.

  8. TriGirl says:

    I hold on for too long as well. It’s so hard to be detached emotionally from all those things…they just bring back so many memories. Good for you!
    TriGirl recently posted..I’ve Never Had the Best Sense of Direction: ChelanMan Sprint Tri (the swim)My Profile

  9. jamie says:

    Oh, I’m a hoarder! I save (almost) everything and by the end of the year trash them all away. Every year sees the same routine…
    jamie recently posted..Awaken by a bad dreamMy Profile

  10. Oh, I need to improve on this too! Taking pictures of artwork and such really does help 😉
    Stacie @ Snaps and Bits recently posted..The ForceMy Profile

  11. Andee says:

    I love this post! Reminds me of me. Growing up I used to hold on to things as if they could somehow trap the memories. It wasn’t until years later that I felt the release in letting the items go-knowing that the memories are safe in my heart. Such a sweet post- and so excited for you that you made the bold move to let go and find the freedom in your spirit.

  12. Larks says:

    I’m more of a purger than a hoarder but I love the idea of taking pictures of sentimental items. You could do so many cool things with them! Nice post! And yay cliff jumping!

  13. I found this post really touching. It is hard to let go of so many things. You were very brave indeed to jump off a cliff, but I also think you have to be brave to let go of the clutter and ‘things’ we all accumulate in our basements and storage areas. You do inspire me!
    April @ The 21st Century Housewife recently posted..The Hearth and Soul Hop
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  14. Ah…I love this post. I find myself keeping a lot of things because my Mom got it for me. I somehow feel like I’m throwing her out when I get rid of something. I know I’m not though and definitely appreciate the freedom that comes from decluttering.

    You’re doing amazing with your list. I’ve hit stall…need to get back at it!
    Shannon ~ My Place In The Race recently posted..Dinner RequestMy Profile

  15. Jane says:

    I loved the combination of jumping off the cliff and getting rid of all of those things. The way some people feel jumping off a cliff is how I would have felt watching the dumpster be emptied, after going through boxes of sentimental things. The actual cliff would have been nothing.

    I’m glad you linked up with the Speakeasy! I’ve been wondering how your lovely project has been going, and I just haven’t gotten around to visiting.
    Jane recently posted..AntechamberMy Profile

  16. Emily Suess says:

    So glad you entered this in the Writing Competition. You’re all linked up on the contest page now. 🙂
    Emily Suess recently posted..How To Choose a Domain Name – An Author’s GuideMy Profile

  17. Pingback: Writers' Week 2012 Writing Contest | Suess's Pieces

  18. I definitely need to take this advice. I have been a bit of a pack rat over the years and now that I’m in a smaller apartment (moved in 2yrs ago) I seriously need to take stock of the space and get rid of stuff I just don’t need around. Thanks for sharing!
    @bluenotebacker recently posted..After the FireMy Profile

  19. Rachel says:

    Letting go is great. I have been working through that process as well… trying to clear the clutter.

    My entry for the contest…
    Rachel recently posted..Saturday Scribbles – Obesity Amongst Captive AnimalsMy Profile

  20. Ha ha, I’m glad I’m not the only one with jars of baby teeth! When I learned to ‘let go’ it was the most therapeutic thing I ever did, getting rid of all the junk clogging my house was tantamount to releasing much of the rubbish clogging my mind!

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  24. Joe Bradley says:

    Did you happen to find a driver’s license and credit card at the bottom of the quarry near that cliff? Mine are down there somewhere!

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  32. Sal says:

    Great picture of one of our old dumpsters. If you are ever in need of one again, please let us know.

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