When is it time to let go of something in one's life? When should an attachment to something be severed? When do we know it is time to let go of whatever it is that may be holding us back? These are not easy questions to ask, and certainly not easy ones to answer.We are creatures of habit. Most of us are happy when our world is settled and predictable. This doesn't mean we aren't active and involved, rather we have some anchors in our existence that are comforting. Even those of us who still travel each year need the security of a home base, a familiar place where we can refresh and recoup.
So, when is it time to let go of a part of our life that has been dependable until now? How do we know when it is time to cut the cord and move in a different direction? See if you agree with some of my conclusions.
*Relationship problems: Though letting go of a bad marriage or problem-plagued engagement would qualify, today, I am thinking more along the lines of friendships and acquaintances.
It may be tough, but you know it is time to let go of this relationship when you dread the time spent together. Cut the cord, for your own sake.
* Living situation: There has been a lot written about downsizing, aging in place, or moving to a retirement community. Honestly, I think one of the tougher "Letting Go" questions involves this topic. Most of us have an attachment to our home. It could be based on longevity, a sense of community, a place for all your stuff, a mark of your independence, or the house where your kids were raised. Whatever the reason, knowing when it is time to move because of health or family issues is not easy.
My personal marker will be when I feel staying where I am risks my life or forces a responsibility on my kids that I do not want them to endure. Would they take care of Betty or me? In a heartbeat. But we have made the firm decision that we don't want that to happen. Letting go of our current lifestyle will be tough, but we are committed to that choice. I love our home; I love my family and their peace of mind more.
* Vacation and travel decisions: Making the decision to sell our RV was really triggered by two factors: the expenses of keeping the motorhome and the desire to explore more of the world while we can. Pulling back from the world a few years ago was forced by Covid and all its effects. Even now, there is a lingering feeling that something could suddenly make its presence known and upend everything.
While neither Betty nor I are ready to give up all travel, I have noticed a growing satisfaction simply staying close to home. We live in a part of the country that offers lots to do or supports the decision to do very little.
* Driving: I have left one of the hardest examples of letting go until now. In our car-based culture, the ability to take yourself from one place to another when you choose is considered a basic right, not a privilege. The independence signified by that vehicle in the carport or street is almost impossible to quantify. Even if it is rarely driven, the point is it can be driven - by you.
Yet, we all know there will come a time when the car keys must be taken away. The unacceptable risks, not only to yourself but to other drivers and pedestrians, demand action. I am sure there are all sorts of studies that show we believe we are much better drivers, at any age, than we really are. Reality has a different measurement scale. Letting go of the car keys, even voluntarily, is very hard.