We’ve all heard the phrase “the art of letting go.” And I’m sure most of us don’t give it much thought. It’s vague, slightly pretentious, and seems really difficult anyway. Not to mention kind of scary.
Right now, I’m experiencing a need to “let go,” and I’m beginning to understand the art of it.
I’ve been with my boyfriend for almost two years, and no this isn’t going where you think it is.
Within those two years, we’ve only had roughly 8 months of seeing each other every day, and if not every single day then at least consistently. The rest of it we’ve spent long-distance, including an entire five months he spent in Germany for a semester of school. Our relationship began with uncertainty and anxiety regarding his leaving for almost half a year, and that’s caused me to perpetually hold on too tightly.
The first month was when we were both at school together. We began dating halfway through first semester, in November of 2014. Six weeks later he headed home to Maine, (I live in Massachusetts, where our college is), and so we were now two hours away from each other. Having been in a long-distance relationship for three years before this one, I knew we could do it, but it definitely wasn’t ideal. And on top of it, he would be in Maine until March 1st, when he would leave for five months to study abroad in Germany (a plan that he made far before we got together.)
Did I say not ideal? I meant terrifying, and totally heartbreaking.
For two and a half months, I dreaded the first of March. I wished he wasn’t leaving. I wished his trip would be cut short somehow. I wished I’d be able to somehow conjure up almost two grand to be able to afford a plane ticket to see him. I wished I wasn’t feeling the way I was. I felt like I was trying to grasp smoke, stop it from floating upward and dissipating. I wanted control, and I just didn’t have it.
The day came, he left, and I cried. I was encouraging and supportive, but inside my heart weighed me down like an anchor. I couldn’t concentrate, sleep, eat, or smile during those first couple weeks, and the worst thing about it was I couldn’t talk to him about it. He’d just embarked on the trip of a lifetime, the last thing I was going to do was make him feel guilty for it.
Things definitely got easier, but I spent those five months with my phone on me at all times, always available to talk to him, not wanting to miss any messages. We talked every day, which I acknowledge we were lucky to be able to do thanks to the internet. But still, I was holding on so tight, if the situation was an object my knuckles would have been white. I spent so much time thinking of him, I didn’t think of myself enough. At the time, I didn’t trust that letting go – focusing on myself more and letting the situation just be what it was – would not have meant our demise. It would have meant my peace of mind.
When he came home (possibly material for another post because words can’t describe that feeling), there was a month between his return and the beginning of our senior year of college. He’d be living in a townhouse on campus with five other guys, and I (along with our friend’s girlfriend) would be living there under the radar for the year. From September to May we lived together, minus the month of Winter Break in the middle. In May, we were both graduated, and went back to living two hours apart, me in Massachusetts, him in Maine. It was quite an adjustment, and I definitely experienced some depression at first. I’d gone from living with 7 friends, to living at home again, where everybody has different schedules and I’m home alone often, not to mention I’m away from him again.
Again, not ideal. We’ve started looking at apartments, trying to coordinate moving somewhere, while getting different jobs (we both still work part time), and the stress has been eating at me. Where are we going to live? Is he going to come to Mass? Will I end up in Maine with him? Will we be able to find jobs in our fields? Should we just get full time jobs anywhere and move on with our lives? Will we be able to find jobs in time to move before winter? When will this limbo end? Will we make enough money? These questions chase each other around in my mind daily, and I feel this reckless, nagging sense of urgency to get a job, save up, find a place, and move before it starts snowing.
I know I need to let go.
I need to let the stress, the anxiety, the worry, the fear, the urgency, and the need for control, go. I must take solace in the fact that I am taking steps to get where I (we) want to be: I had two interviews recently, and we’ve started looking at apartments together and putting together a budget. We know we want to get there, which means we will. Everything will fall into place. You just need to let go of the negative emotions associated with the process, and let the process happen.
If you’re wanting something to happen in your life – a new job, relationship, better health, to move – just breathe, let it all go, and let everything unfold.