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The Year I Learned to Let Go

“If this isn’t nice, what is?”

This is how I would sum up 2007. It was the year I learned to let go.

2006, in contrast, was the year I held on. I clung to the memory of Wendy and the ideas we had for our future. I clutched at my grief and kept it close. Most of the time, I felt like I was struggling to survive.

I had to. I was weathering a storm; the biggest of my life. I came though it wet and mangled, but whole.

This year, I’ve learned the art of letting go. Meditation continues to help with that, as does talking about how I’m feeling. I’ve learned a valuable skill.

Everyone has to learn to let go at some point. Why? Because you can’t fight what’s coming. You will lose people. You will suffer great disappointments. Raging against the Universe does nothing for you or to the Universe. What will be will become what is, and then what was.

And so we learn to subjugate ourselves to the ways events unfold. To do this, we must become humble, we must name all those ways in which we are truly fortunate, and we must simply be with all of those ways.

Kurt Vonnegut died this year. He was one of my favorite authors. He used to talk about his uncle Alex, who often remarked, “If this isn’t nice, what is?” in reference to life’s small pleasures, such as a pitcher of lemonade sitting in the shade during summertime. On the surface, it’s a banal midwestern expression, but dig deeper into it, and it perhaps provides an answer to how to live life properly.

In 2008, I plan to announce — and thereby savor — every pleasant moment that comes my way.

photo: joshbousel

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