Letting go

As 2014 wraps up, I realize that the best way to put it behind me is to reflect on it, learn from it and move on.

And since writing is my therapy, I invite you to pull up a couch and see if any of this resonates in your life too. Group therapy is cheaper.

This year was a roller coaster ride at break-neck speed that threatened to go off the rails at any moment.  Somehow I was seated in a cart that had no seat belts, just a big metal bar that held me in. All I could do was hold on. Ironically, I now know the lesson in this year’s ride was quite simply to let go.

It’s really that simple, and really that hard.

Like any roller coaster ride, the anxiety is in the slow ride up the big hills and the inevitable velocity of those big drops. The thrill comes if you can let go long enough to throw your arms up in the air, scream with absolute abandon and feel yourself float off the seat before gravity hits again and you endure the corkscrew twist that will make you nauseous once more.

The ultimate reward is to face your fear and not throw up. Somehow, I keep finding myself back in line ready to go again. Such is life.

My next step will be to learn how to lean into the curves, get jostled less and anticipate the drops – or at the very least, admit I’m not in control of the ride. Maybe I can learn to enjoy the sensation of the stomach drop, because it won’t last forever. Nothing does.

It’s really that simple, and really that hard.

This year I have met incredible people, been inspired to learn, pushed myself in new directions without a map, accomplished goals I had never acknowledged before, and learned to trust myself enough to challenge old habits. I fell in love with my life in the most fundamental way. 

I can feel the glow and I’m not lying when I tell you I have never been happier than where I am at this moment right now. Everything good that happened this year came to me when I let go of the things that held me back. And the biggest thing that was holding me back was myself. How is that for clarity?

But that clarity comes after a year of some hard-edged betrayals. For reasons I may never understand, friendships end, business relationships turn toxic, promises get broken. Stuff happens.

You can perform an autopsy on the relationship, or you can bury it and move on. Pass me the shovel.

Letting go means forgiving, even if it feels impossible (see above). Poking pins in a Voodoo doll, although amusingly therapeutic, is never good karma. Wondering if those who betrayed are hurting too is a complete waste of your time.

Best lesson in letting go of old friends? Make new ones (and telling them you’ll make a Voodoo doll of them if they screw this up). To make room for the future, you have to let go of the past.

It’s really that simple, and really that hard.

Welcome 2015. Prepare to hold on and let go, whenever it is the right time for you. The trick is to know the difference.

Happy New Year.


Kelly Waterhouse