Letting Go to Live Your Best Life
As a serial quitter, I learn it’s okay to let go. In fact, it can be in service of our best life.
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I had a strange dream the other night. I was swimming with another girl and she hit her head on the bottom of the pool. Once I was able to drag her to the surface, I yelled for help. My dad and sister plunged in and pulled her to the edge.
We did round after round of CPR, to no avail.
Finally, my dad stopped. I yelled at him to keep going. He looked at me and said with a stern tone, “We don’t quit. But we need to let go.”
The dream ended.
The timing was all-to-auspicious. Three days before, I had ended a relationship that remained on the shelf way past its expiration date.
And I should mention that this relationship was that one thing I had stuck with over the last several years. Sure, I completed my degree… a decade ago… but not much after that. After completing all the prerequisites, I had decided med school wasn’t for me. I opted out of nursing school after a competitive admission process and then a very, very boring orientation. I studied for months for the LSAT, only applied to one law school, didn’t get in, and saw it as a sign that – nope – that wasn’t for me either.
If you asked me about my long slew of jobs since Cal Poly, I’d tell you I know what I don’t want to do. Just look at my resume.
Somehow I ingrained in my psyche that I have quitter-influenza. And maybe by holding on so long and trying to make this relationship work – forcing circles into squares and spirals into flat lines – I was going to prove to myself that I wasn’t a quitter.
And boy was it hard. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
I held on when I wasn’t loved. I was always willing to pick up and move, on a whim, no questions asked. I lived vicariously through another’s wishes, hopes and plans.
(As a side story, the day just prior to this dream, an energy worker blinked behind tortoise shell glasses, observed me for a moment, and told me I was living my life through others. I couldn’t argue one peep.)
I was so in it. So deep in it I was losing myself trying to make someone else happy. Trying to make them love me. Trying to make their dreams come true.
Eventually, I could barely hold it together. Life was suffocating and still. It was time to leave.
But that dream – Hallelujah for that dream. It was a gift from my subconscious. A compassionate acknowledgement that, no, I am not a quitter.
It was simply time to let go.
The next morning I told a friend about the dream. He suggested the girl that couldn’t be revived, that very well could’ve been my former, faceless self. The one who was living through others.
I hope he’s right. I hope she has drowned away.
And so, we let go. We move on. We serve our highest good. And we keep writing our own story. Because as one friend kindly reminds me, this is not our practice life.
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