I’ve always been big on letting go and moving forward. Which is the life coach way of saying that I like cutting my losses and starting over. It started with MS Paint and Word; if I didn’t like the way a drawing looked or a story sounded and I was in too deep for a couple of undo’s to do the trick then I would click the close button – don’t save, thank you – and open a new file. I approach my career and relationships with the same objectivity (or is it callousness?).
Whatever you want to call it, I have the remarkable ability to walk away with very little tears shed, once I’ve made up my mind to do it. Of course the build-up to the actual decision is fraught with feelings of guilt, several tears and usually at least two sleepless nights. But once its decided I usually feel relieved, refreshed and ready to move forward. Which all sounds very normal and emotionally healthy and therefore very unlike me. Call it my saving grace.
As I get older (sometimes I panic about how close I am to thirty, and I’m not as close as you might think), I spend more time thinking about the way my life has unfolded. I like to think that all this reflection helps me plan the next stage of my life, but really it’s mostly a lot of self-congratulation. Oh, I’m so proud of the way I handled that break-up. Oh, I’m so glad I made this career decision despite everyone telling me otherwise. But I also came to recognize this useful habit of letting go of the things that are harmful to me and moving on to different mistakes or healthier choices. Cue self-congratulation.
Recognizing that habit helps me to realize that as I grow and change some things about me will remain constant, like my ability to accept growth and change without too much struggle. And my ability to close the door on things that no longer have a place in my life, but also my ability to recognize things that will always be a part of my life no matter how long I neglect them. The nature of my involvement with hobbies like writing and dance will change – my time constraints will change – but even if I don’t publish stories, even if I don’t perform on stage there will always be a part of me that is a writer and a dancer no matter what.
Being able to believe in these less public aspects of myself despite our culture of “pics-or-it-didn’t-happen” translates into believing in myself on a whole. It gives me the confidence I’ll need to handle the rest of my twenties (and eventually my thirties) with not necessarily grace, but at least something close to resembling aplomb.