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Monday, March 8, 2010

Learning to Let Go

I have been feeling 'discombobulated' lately, somewhat adrift, and thinking that my life is out of control. I am waiting to retire until my daughter graduates from a school in Utah and returns home. Then we will move to New Mexico and start a new life together, with me being a full-time mom. It's something to which we are both looking forward.

I am a planner and an organizer. I like to, as they say, have all my ducks in a row. I don't do well with a lot of uncertainty. But uncertain is the status of my life at the moment. I can't put my house on the market yet, because I don't know when we will be ready to move. I can't give my New Mexico house sitter 30 days notice for the same reason. I can't arrange for the packers and movers without a firm move date. I can't submit my retirement paperwork yet because I can't yet set a firm retirement date.

So finally, the light bulb came on, dim as it may be. My frustration about the uncertainty in my life boils down to control. I am trying to control things that cannot be controlled, and to change things that cannot be changed. I cannot control when my daughter will graduate from her school and move back home. It isn't up to me. There is nothing I can do to hasten her graduation. Until she has a graduation date set, I can't set the wheels in motion to hire a mover, notify my house sitter, submit my retirement paperwork, or anything else. This is all out of my control. This process cannot be changed. Try as I might, there is nothing I can do to hasten the start of this chain of events.

I should know this by now. I read a book several years ago at the suggestion of a friend. It's called Gifts from Eykis, and the underlying message is that I am in charge of how I feel, how I react, which emotions I express and how I express them, but nothing else in life. I cannot control others, or my job or the stock market or anything else. I have a sign on my monitor at work and on the refrigerator at home: "Who's in Charge?" I put those little signs there as a reminder that I am in charge only of myself. Nothing or nobody else is under my control. People who see the little sign on my computer monitor often think it refers to being the boss or in charge of the office. No, it refers simply to 'who is in charge' of my emotions. I am.

So I need to stop fretting and feeling out of control, focus on doing what I can to prepare for our move, and let things unfold as they will. My daughter will progress at her own rate; she will graduate when it is time. All I can do is continue to prepare my house for sale, use as many of my canned goods as possible so I don't have to move them (or they will go to the food bank), continue to get rid of unwanted items, and try to prepare myself as much as possible for my daughter's homecoming, transition and life at home again, and let it go.

I also believe that I need to have trust, or faith. I need to trust that my life will unfold as it is meant to unfold. There will be delays and detours in my plans, difficult lessons to be learned, mistakes to be made and the inevitable setbacks. But there will be helpful lessons to be learned from each delay, detour and setback if I will but be open to receiving those lessons. There will be a benefit, often something I never had imagined.

I need to relax, let my life unfold at its own pace, be prepared for whatever lies ahead, and be open to embrace the future and all its possibilities.

A simple lesson, but one that is hard to remember and even harder to implement.