Change involves loss.
I always forget - or choose to ignore? - that part. If you've been following me in cyberspace for any length of time, you know that I'm all about change. Growth, transformation, and all that jazz. I truly believe in it.
But it isn't always easy.
I was recently reminded of one of the dirty little secrets about this kind of life-affecting change. It involves loss. There's no way around it. Sometimes there's just no way to move forward without lightening the load, and unfortunately, this sometimes means letting loose of people in your life. I've done this many times and I understand how it works, but every single time I have to learn this lesson again. I have to force myself to do it and I usually don't get there until it's outrageously overdue.
Well, I like people and I understand foibles. Oh my goodness, do I understand mistakes - I've made more than my fair share. I think some of the wackiest people are some of the most interesting ones. I believe in second - and third & fourth & sixteenth - chances. I don't want to judge people because I know things aren't always what they seem from a distance.
Certain relationships just run their course. Not only do they not add anything to your life, they begin to detract from it. They become weighty and too complicated, loaded down with obligation and guilt. When there is no evidence, not one single shred, of positive change in a person's life, spending time with them inevitable drags you down a wee bit. Life is too precious for that.
Of course, my first instinct is to inspire that person. In fact, I hope to inject life and energy into everything I do and every interaction I have. I try.
But you can't save them all. Some of them don't even want to be saved. And who the hell am I to make that determination? I'm not in charge of anyone else but myself. It's me I need to worry about.
I'd been wrestling with a relationship like this for several years and last week I stopped fighting. I harbor no ill-feelings toward that person. In fact, I hope he goes on to a very happy and successful future. And of course he, like every single one of us, is free to define 'successful' in any way that he chooses.
But I will not be there to watch, because I'm consciously choosing to spend my time in a different way. I won't lie and say that I'm completely alright with that. I feel like a selfish ass. I feel like I'm being judgmental. Yes, I'm still feeling some residual backlash from the decision, but I know it's the right thing to do and I need to get better at doing it when it's warranted.
On another topic,I was interviewed recently via Skype for a podcast and you know what? I kind of sucked. I don't say that in a self-deprecating way, but as a fact. I was surprised and chagrined as it unfolded to realize that I really didn't have anything that interesting to say. Surprised because I almost always have something to say. Further, the interview was about art and creativity and these are topics that I can talk about all night long. In my sleep. (In fact, I probably do - I'm making a mental note to ask my husband about this.)
So, what happened?
I'm not really sure, but at the very least, life has offered up yet another opportunity for growth. Funny how many of those pop up along the way, isn't it? The tricky part is to recognize them and take action, which may require introspection. I'm just spitballing here, but it probably requires at least five freaking minutes to think about the problem and come up with some possible solutions.
I don't allow myself enough of this kind of time.
I'm one of those insane people who are always doing something. Seriously, unless I'm sleeping, I'm engaged in some activity and my life is carefully planned to make sure everything fits. What this plan fails to account for is unplanned time. (Ha! I'd better plan in some unplanned time!)
Time to just sit around and think about the world. Ducks. Time loops. How to draw flowers. Maybe I could just sit around and think about nothing. Nah. That's crazy talk.
Hey, you know what? Maybe I'm just not good at interviews. It's okay to not be good at everything, isn't it?
(Ouch! That was even difficult to type. I'm gonna admit that I may not be completely buying that last bit, but it's a start. I've got a long way to go.)
I'll probably set some specific goals this year related to my career, my relationships, and my creative endeavors. I just can't help myself. But the most important resolution that I will strive toward in 2014 is to be a little kinder to myself. Control my life such that the negative is minimized. Stop being such a perfectionist. Take time to enjoy the world. How about you? Got any big plans for the upcoming year?
Simon Birch is a Featured Artist at Ink & Alchemy and it is his art you see sprinkled throughout this post. Incredible, huh? See more at his website or Facebook page. And as always, you are invited to visit me for art and inspiration.