December 5 – Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why? (Author: Alice Bradley)
The past few years have been all about letting go: letting go of old, hurt feelings, of bad relationships, of STUFF that was weighing me down, of outdated ideas about my life and what I wanted. It hasn’t been easy and I still bounce back into some old frames of mind, mostly involving all the things I’ve done wrong and how I undoubtably screwed something up beyond repair.
And yes, I have a few things I regret and many moments I am not proud of in my life, but the standard I’ve held myself to, the absolute perfection I’ve expected of myself in every moment of every day, THAT is what I am letting go of this year. By slow degrees I’ve allowed myself to step back from the ideal self I was constantly trying to create, and just be who I am. That dorky, fun loving, video game playing nerd, who loves to read and talks to her cats like they are people.
I knew no one when I moved to this area (just north of Portland, OR), and I mean no one. I had met my boss once, but I came here entirely alone, moved into my apartment as a single woman with no roommates for the first time in my life. It scared the hell out of me and I was worried about making friends, of finding connections and things to ground me here. I already knew I loved the area, enough like my bay area home for me to feel comfortable, small enough so I could venture into “Downtown” without feeling too overwhelmed. (As a side note, “The City” in my lexicon will always and forever mean San Francisco.)
But I had no local friends. A supportive friend suggested I check out Craiglist for common interest groups and shockingly enough there was a post looking for people in their 30’s to play board games together from another single woman who just moved to the area. So I emailed and planned to attend the first meeting. It was a small group, five of us showed up, and we had a blast. From the first night, we giggled and laughed together, and even though we’re all competitive and like to win, not one of us was a sore loser.
Hard to believe that was two and a half years ago now. I’m close friends with three of the four people I met that night and almost every time we get together we end up laughing about some ridiculous thing we’re doing, most recently it was trying to sing Rod Stewart’s, “If You Want my Body,” which, apparently, is a song none of us actually knew the words to. Oops.
Almost every time we get together, I come home reflecting about what a good time I had and how much I enjoyed myself. Do I always win at Five Crowns? No. Do I always get five stars on Rock Band? No. But I laugh and smile, and enjoy myself. It may not sound like a lot but those are the moments that I keep taking myself back to, moments where I feel appreciated for the dork that I am, the SNEEK (Sappy Nerdy gEEK), as my friend Emily would say.
Through the process of letting go of those expectations, I’ve become comfortable with who I am and what I have to offer. It may not be some incredibly perfect ideal that I shaped somewhere in the deep recesses of my mind, but I’m happy with it. And truly, that is all that matters.