When witnessing a life-altering transition, I try to focus on presence. Life is temporary. People are temporary. We have a short time to do whatever it is we're going to do, so we'd best not squander it.
Also, yesterday, I saw a friend's adorable pictures of a kindergarten field trip with her little boy. It tugged at my heart because I remembered the same trip with my little boy. The not-so-little-anymore boy who finishes his junior year of high school next week and will--in just over a year--leave for college.
It was a lot of feelings for one day, especially after getting up before 4 a.m., so full disclosure: I got the kids pizza for dinner and played Gardenscapes for the rest of the evening giving zero fucks what anyone thought because adulting felt like too much.
Today, after a full night's sleep, I've realized a few things. I want to be sunshine for my family, and in order to do that, I need to let go of stuff. Maybe not as much as I once needed to let go of, but still some.
I've been trying to shed a few pounds before summer anyway, so why not let go of some emotional weight as well, right? Here are a few things I'm letting go of:
Worrying what other people think. This is a multi-faceted issue, but here's a brief example: It was book fair day at the middle school, and Lily called needing $12 for a book. Ughhhh, this is at least the second book fair of the year. Lily never reads the books. I said no. Instantly, I had a pang of, "Should I take her money? Will people think I am a bad mom?" I quickly realized this "What will people think" refrain in my brain doesn't belong to me. It is not even my thoughts. I don't care; I've been conditioned to believe I should.
So I let it go. I struggle with this a lot, but letting go of one small thing at a time is freeing.
Policing what I eat. Fuck. It's exhausting to wake up every morning guilt-ridden as I replay in my mind everything I ate the day before. Again, this is not something I came up with on my own, it's words that were instilled in me and still bang around in my head. But last night, I ate pizza for dinner. I drank a glass of wine--just one because I was so tired. And I didn't beat myself up. This morning, I'm going to meet my friend for coffee, and I already know I'm going to have a doughnut. Because...Nova. And I am not going to feel guilty about it.
My favorite writer, Anne Lamott, tells a story about shopping with her friend Pammy--who's dying of cancer--for something to wear on a date. She tries on a dress that fits her perfectly but is more revealing than her usual style. Shyly modeling it, she asks, "Do you think this makes my hips look big?" Pammy quietly replies, "Annie, I don't really think you have that kind of time."
We sure don't have that kind of time.
After thinking--and crying--about growing old and kids growing up and how fleeting life is, I don't want to spend one more second letting stupid shit steal my joy. I want to spend more time counting blessings and less time counting calories. I want to wear what I want without thinking, "Is this too young? Will people think I'm trying to be someone I'm not?" I want to let go of caring who people think I am and just BE who I am. And mostly, I want to bring love, kindness, compassion and a little more sunshine to every person I encounter.
Tell me...what are you sweating that you want to let go?