Writing is the way I process my life. It’s amazing to me that I have never kept a regular journal, because when I’m not sure what I’m feeling or thinking, or what to do about what I am feeling or thinking, writing about it always helps. I always end up exactly where I need to be when I sit down at my keyboard. I suppose it’s not really writing then, rather typing, but then we’re into semantics and technicalities. Writing is more than an action verb, anyway. It is an art form, a practice, a way of being.
I obviously have a crush on writing, but my point is that I’m not done living the practice of letting things go that I started exploring by way of writing a couple weeks ago. So I’m back, still talking about letting things go.
As women, we often feel the need to carry way too much weight. “Feel the need” probably isn’t the most accurate expression. We feel the responsibility, the expectation, to carry and do and manage everything. I don’t know what this is or why this is (that’s another writing session), but it seems fairly universal. I find myself filling up my days with things to do and I find myself feeling guilty if I spend a day without doing any work. Weekends are for rest and fun, but if I don’t do something productive – or, more accurately, something I’m getting paid to do – I typically feel like the day was a waste. Is anyone else crushing under the weight of their own expectations? I have a feeling I’m not alone.
I also have a feeling I’m not alone in learning to let things go. At least I hope I’m not! With my confessions, I’m giving you permission to let things go, too. Let ‘em go, sister. Free yourself. Here are some things I’ve let go of lately:
- Sweeping the floors every day. It’s something I’d love to do, but sometimes it just doesn’t happen. All of my floors are tile. I have a pile of hair on my head plus three dogs and two cats running in and out of this house. There is hair everywhere all the time. But I put on my slippers and get over it until I feel like sweeping.
- Reading books I don’t feel like reading. For some reason I used to think that if a book was on my TBR (To Be Read) list and I went through the trouble of finding it and downloading it (life in a land without libraries), that I was somehow required to read it. But I’m not. Last night I read a couple chapters of a book and had no desire to go on. So I electronically returned it to the library. (What a world we live in.) Then I did the same thing today. My time is precious. I’m not wasting it on books I’m not interested in.
- Jobs that aren’t mine. Glennon Doyle, wise one that she is, once said something like, “Sometimes we are too busy doing jobs that aren’t ours that we miss out on doing the jobs we’re supposed to be doing.” The way she said it was a lot snappier, but I can’t find it. Basically, I’m letting go of all of the responsibilities and weights I’ve picked up that aren’t mine so that I can get to doing what I’m supposed to be doing.
- Apologizing for things that aren’t actually my fault or responsibility. This past Christmas my family came to visit. I was so excited to have them all here to share my life with them. The house they had reserved was undergoing some renovations and was not ready for them when they arrived. I had envisioned such a wonderful welcome and instead they were welcomed with work dust and a house with no running water (even worse – no internet!). My immediate reaction was to apologize. But I fought that reflex. I had nothing to do with the preparation of the house. Nothing about the situation was my fault. So I didn’t apologize. There is, of course, a difference between saying, “I’m so sorry that this is happening to you. What can I do to help?” and saying, “I’m so sorry. I should’ve…” when there is nothing you could have realistically done and the crappy situation actually has nothing to do with you. I’m letting go of extra guilt I have no business carrying. Trust me, my actual actions incur enough reasons to apologize. So just as I am not picking up responsibilities that I have no business picking up, I’m leaving other people’s mistakes alone, too.
For always and forever I have let go of wearing make up, knowing/caring about how much I weigh, and wearing clothes that aren’t totally comfortable. It’s my life! And it’s your life. What have you let go of lately? What should you let go of?