On Letting Go
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about letting go.
There are things that I want to let go of.
Today I took my last final of the semester. I am, more or less, two-thirds an attorney. I am happy to be letting go of the stress of finals, and eager to grab on to my next adventures. As with the completion of any long-term project, I already have a long list of things I would like to (or, less exciting but more realistically need to) accomplish in the next few months. I will let go of my textbooks and instead gather gardening, backyard fires, and delicious and time-consuming recipes to my chest. I will spend hours watching my baby doing not much of anything. I will not feel bad about choosing to do so. That is the letting go I am most looking forward to today and for the rest of the summer: letting go of feeling like I should be doing something other than whatever I am actually doing.
For more than a year now I have been working on simplicity and presence. As part of this endeavor, I took on Project 333. The basic idea is that you choose 33 items (including jewelry and shoes but not including underthings, sleepwear or exercise clothes) and wear only those items for 3 months. Everything else from your wardrobe must be boxed up and hidden out of sight. I chose my first set in May of last year. Now that a year has gone by, it’s time for me to let go of all the things that never made the Project 333 cut.
I have to admit that I have not held very well to my limitations for the last three months because my body has been changing so fast after the baby. Here’s something that I mentally expected but am still surprised about: I am feeling really overwhelmed by the clothes all over my room right now. I dug out one of my pre-pregnancy boxes last month in search of a pair of pants without an elastic band, and I am ashamed to say that it is still sitting there in a corner, pieces of clothing crawling out of it like so many spiders. It’s stressing me out. I want to let go of most of my clothes. And this weekend, I am very excited to make it happen. I’m hoping to get it down to less than 100 items total. Here’s the thing, letting go of some things allows you to embrace others. For me, I know that having fewer clothes means embracing smoother mornings, feeling better dressed, and reclaiming some space in my room.
Then, there are things that I thought I let go of but that, inexplicably, come back.
My sister’s wedding was last weekend and Remy flew on a plane for the first time. I had a lot of anxiety about the whole process. It turns out that Remy is a champion flyer and, much like myself, has no trouble falling asleep anywhere. So I didn’t need to be worried about Remy. What I did need to be worried about was my maiden name. Somehow, my plane ticket got issued in my maiden name. A name I haven’t used for nine years. Luckily, when I called the airline to ask about flying with an infant, they mentioned that things are easier if the baby’s last name is the same as the parent flying with him, and would the baby’s father be coming as well? Yes. Well. So I was able to present my marriage certificate at the airport ticketing counter and get everything changed. Things were not exactly smooth sailing after that (did you know that changing the name on your ticket also means loosing the carefully selected over-the-wing and next-to-your-husband aisle seat?). But, as this post is about letting go, I will.
I think it is worth mentioning that there are also things that I don’t want to let go of: helpful practices that I have adopted, special moments, memories of loved ones who are gone. Not everything needs to be let go of. And, I try to remind myself, I don’t need to let go of everything right now.