I’m at a turning point. We’re about to move back to the UK, house sale or no. This is a good decision and I’m fired up with the anticipation of what’s to come. But it hasn’t been easy getting this far.
In some ways, I’ve been here so many times before: changing jobs as often as 3 times per year, moving house more often than some people (naming no names…) change their underpants. I came to pride myself on my ability to adapt, move on and take on something new. I started to enjoy the anticipation of what was coming next. But this move is different. This time, I’m letting go of a dream.
This time, the move here was an answer; it was the change that was going to set us free, give us the life of our dreams. Untangling all that emotional commitment, no matter how refreshing the alternative, is not an easy thing and we start to do funny things to make it okay.
To follow are 5 things you might be doing when it’s time to let go, and what you should be doing instead
1. Tying up all the loose ends.
Suddenly you want to get everything done. You rediscover tasks that sat on the sidelines for years, try to dot every i, cross every t. You stress about leaving a good impression, free of guilt, nothing left to for anyone else to do.
This is a waste of energy. Of course you do what you can, but life is rarely so neat that everything is perfect when it’s time to go. Make a clean break by accepting imperfections and enjoying the change. You may not want to admit it, but life will go on when you’re gone.
2. Finding ways to hate where you are.
Please don’t do this. You can leave because you’re ready to leave. You can move on because something new and exciting has caught your eye. You don’t need to excuse yourself by creating a long list of problems that forced you away. This hurts. It denies the good stuff, leaving you feeling stupid and regretting years of your life. Don’t do it. Instead, walk away with confidence, a head full of memories and a heart full of joy.
3. Regretting what didn’t get done.
The problem with dreams is that we often have ambitions beyond what is possible. When real life kicks in, it’s so hard not to regret what you missed, but this is absolutely what you must not do. The world’s too big and time’s too short and you’re ready for a change. Pay attention to what you achieved, not what was put aside. If something really matters, you’ll do it someday.
4. Trying to explain.
Maybe this is my inner people pleaser talking but I always feel the need to explain why I’m walking away. People like to put us in boxes, to know where we are. When we change our minds, it upsets the apple cart, but it doesn’t make it wrong. The only person who needs to understand your decision is you.
5. Worrying about what’s to come.
Worry is good for the economy – it’s what keeps insurance firms profitable and crappy employers with a steady supply of willing slaves – but it’s a total waste of time for you. Yes, it might all go horribly wrong but how much worse would it be if you never tried? Once the decision is made, trust in your power to make it okay.
All good things come to an end – cliché, but true. All these behaviours are symptomatic of trying to come to terms with that end, wanting things to stay as they are. It may not be perfect, but hey, at least you understand what’s going on. At least you’re recognised, known, noticed. You want to walk away knowing you didn’t mess up.
Let me tell you this – you didn’t. You did good. You followed your heart, and did your best. What happened is that your heart just moved on and it’s time to follow it again. It’s how life works. It’s how we work. Life is meant to be fluid, interesting, alive. Try to stay where you are and you stagnate; and that’s where resentment kicks in.
Not everyone will get it; they don’t have to. You won’t get everything done: let it go. You can’t plan for everything: don’t try.
You’ve been invited. It’s time to accept the invitation and let go.
In the comments: does this sound like you? Perhaps you’ve found yourself doing other things on the eve of moving forward. Share your experiences and thoughts with us here.