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Let It Go

By TOM MEREDITH | Nov 13, 2019

Since I turned 60 and decided to retire from my business, I’ve been hearing a lot about “letting go.” I am told by many of those around me I am having trouble with it.

As I think about it, as far back as I can remember there has been advice to “let it go.”

At age 5 I moved with my family from Pennsylvania to northern New Jersey. I missed my old home – “let it go.” I started school and in the seventh grade we moved again. I missed my friends and my school – “let it go.”

My first girlfriend broke up with me – “let it go.” I got older, began working and had new girlfriends; I had to “let it go” some more. I graduated high school and began college. Everyone said it was a wonderful time, but I missed the security of the familiar in my high school. Once again, “let it go.”

No one ever told me how to let it go, so I let college go and stayed with my familiar job, which at the time offered good advancement and good pay as well. I moved on to a larger company in a management role that required relocation. I did not miss my old job and friends too terribly. I eventually lost that new job after several years through circumstances out of my control (isn’t everybody allowed to think that?).

At this point I knew I needed to let it go but could not figure out how to accomplish that until a bit later when we started to have children. The children themselves and the needs they brought along with them kept me occupied enough that for a long time I had nothing to let go.

But children grow up and leave for college, or to pursue careers. When they left for college I missed having each one around, and yet again had to “let it go.” This was easiest with the first two as the youngest still depended on me for many things, mostly transportation and money. But when he left for college I had to, you guessed it, “let it go.” Surprisingly, that was not such a herculean effort as he was still here in New Jersey and easily accessible.

The youngest offspring later relocated to the West Coast, the middle child married, has a baby and bought a home in central New Jersey, and the oldest is still in New Jersey as well. Time marches on. It becomes time to retire and move to an over-55 community development. The purge required when selling the home where everyone grew up, which holds so many memories within its walls, was a bit trying, but I “let it go,” or thought I did.

After moving it took me a bit of time to realize how much I missed my children and my work. I had let it go but had not discarded it.

Recently I was forced to replace my 12-year-old laptop. It held the last vestiges of my business including a software program that was the base of that business that I had taken a major role in conceptualizing and nurturing over the years. I discovered this was the real reason I had held onto and continued to prop up this computer for so long. I hadn’t been able to discard it.

As I delivered that computer to internet heaven, I felt a weight lift from my shoulders. I realized that being left with only positive memories of times, things and people is not a bad thing. Hanging onto those things too tightly, however, can be, hence I learned what “let it go” actually means.

It means enjoying the memories but embracing the new ones being made every day. You eventually have to discard things. People are a little trickier. You don’t discard them, of course; you retain the memories when they are not with you and hold tight to the new ones when they are with you.

Judging by most people around me, I suspect I’ve come to this rationalization a bit late, but come to it I have, and I shall try to exercise it as best I can.

Tom Meredith lives in Little Egg Harbor.

 

 

 

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