1 out of 10 Americans has an offsite storage unit, the home organization business has doubled in the last ten years, and Americans spend $1.2 trillion a year on non essential goods.
It’s safe to say that we as a Western Society have a hard time letting go.
“A time to gain, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away;”-Ecclesiates 3:6
Yet, the Bible commands it. The Bible says there’s a time to get rid of old things. But the oxymoron is that we, all of us, are creatures of habit. We thrive on doing the same things at the same time with the same people. That’s why we all have schedules and we take the same route to work. We order the same food at the same restaurant we went to last week.
The longer we do something the harder it is to adjust to change in that area. That’s why some retirees become clinically depressed after they stop working. And Stay-At-Home Moms pester their grown children after they’ve become empty nesters. Instead of seeing change as a necessary part of life most people see it as an evil that reflects poor decisions and the end of their ‘normal’.
During this pandemic I have been very diligent and seeing how I personally respond to change. And the results shocked me. I found myself siding with the crowd simply out of habit and not out of truth. While the world’s temporary pause on life made an impact on me, the majority of it was positive. Yet I found myself telling people that I wish the pandemic was over and I could go back to normal. But that was only half true.
Yes, I want a world were people are not dying at such a fast rate and people all over the world are losing their jobs and livelihood. But, not having to commute to work, sit in meetings that should’ve been an email, or spend hundreds on gas and activities has been a blessing. I’ve been forced to find better ways to communicate with my boyfriend about my needs, find creative ways to celebrate life, & create a new type of community. I have really had to focus on what is important to me? Who is important to me? What relationships did I have that were solely centered around habits I’ve created over the years? And which ones should last after this is all over?
There are friendships that the pandemic has killed for me. And if you would’ve asked me at the top of the year if I could see myself without some of these people I would have told you no!
Now, I’m not going off of the viral cliche that determines the value of a relationship based on who has checked on me and who didn’t. Honestly, this came from me realizing that some of my friendships were rooted in complaining about the same things. You know what they say, misery loves company’ but so does complaining.
Having a work friend that dislikes the same people you dislike at work is like joining a sorority or secret club. You feel like there’s an unbreakable connection with someone. But now that you work from home what do you have in common in with that person? Now that you don’t go into the church building every week is there anything to gossip about? Now that you only see your gym friends on evening zoom calls are the inside jokes still funny?
During this quarantine I realized that this hardship of letting go is widespread throughout our lives. We hold on to people, things, & relationships that have no purpose other than they are a part of our routine not realizing that these are the very things that keep us in a cycle of unproductively and comfort.
The harder we hold on to things the more we suffocate it. And when we suffocate it, whatever good we were supposed to get out of it has already been rung dry.
The easiest way to know that something is alive is by change. Things that are stagnant die quickly. Although it may make them sad, every parent knows that the sign of a healthy baby is that it grows. The baby gains weight, learns new movements, starts moving new body parts. But somehow on our journey through adulthood we allow ourselves to forget that principle. We equate health with having no change not knowing that stagnation is a slow death.
Time does not stop and wait for you to understand this…thats why one minute you are young and vibrant and the next minute you are middle aged trying to buy your way into youth again.
So how do you let go of those friendships and habits?
For me, it’s easy once I make a standard. I limit contact by not initiating unnecessary conversation, remove myself from group chats and messaages, & if necessary tell the person directly that I no longer want to have conversations about things that serve no benefit. Over the years, I’ve realized that this talent I have for letting go of relationships is one not many people have.
So when my friends would say to me that someone treated them wrong or was mean to them, I couldn’t grasp why they couldn’t just block the person and move on.
For many people the change has to first take place in your mind. You have to truly believe that you are better off without that thing or person. A simple way to do that is to take inventory. That’s right a good old fashion pro & con list. You will easily be able to visually see that the person you thought was bringing joy in your life was actually keeping you complacent. you can make an even simpler list by just putting all the things they add to your life. If the list only has one or two things then you know what to do.
From there, it depends on the severity of the circumstance but you may want to consider blocking the person and getting rid of belongings of theirs.
For my friends who have a hard time letting go of people, I always tell them to start with the unfollow button. On most social media accounts you can still be listed as a ‘friend’ of someone but you can unfollow their posts so you don’t see them. Try that for 30 days and then ask yourself. Do you miss them? Did you even notice that you haven’t interacted with them in person or online?
Right now is the perfect time to practice letting go because even when the world begins to turn some things that was will no longer be and we need to be prepared for that reality. Use this pause to move the stagnant things in your life. Breathe health into the things that you forgot about and learn to let go of what was.
No matter your age, the constant in your life will be change and change demands letting go. Let go of old relationships. Let go of old bosses. Let go of trauma you’ve experienced. Let go of those items in your storage unit. It won’t make the good ol days come back.
k, good talk