It’s not my line, although I wish I could take the credit.
This morning I spent a few minutes watching a Ted Talk about letting go. Jill Sherer Murray talked about a relationship in her past. She had dated this guy for twelve years. She wanted to get married. When he didn’t show up for an appointment with a realtor to see a new condo in their area because “something important came up”, she knew it was time to move on. She made the decision to do so, she said, “because her life was good. It just wasn’t good enough.”
I have spent a fair amount of time in recent weeks thinking about what I really want. Some obvious things come to mind. I want a group of friends that I socialize with often. I want people around me to understand what I am about. I want the book I have written that is coming out in May to have a positive impact on a whole lot of people. I want a full team of phenomenal caregivers available to me all the time. Those are just a few. The last one is the most pressing right now.
Given the circumstances of the last few months, there is one thing I am certain that I don’t want. I never want to live in a nursing home; especially in the near future. That is my biggest fear. And with the recent GOP efforts to repeal healthcare including drastic cuts to Medicaid funding, coupled with the severe shortage of caregivers in Kansas these days, the possibility seems like it is closer than ever. There have been times when I have been caught up in the “It’s not right and it’s not fair” of it all. Especially because there are numerous people who have the power to make decisions that affect my livelihood in majorly significant ways, and most of them won’t ever meet me. That is beyond terrifying. It has also become clear to me that if I know going into a nursing home is something that I absolutely don’t want, I am going to have to let go of a few things.
If I want to remain in my home for the long-term, one of the things I might have to do is learn to do more for myself than I currently can. For years I have told myself that there is probably no reason for me to go to physical and occupational therapy solely to manage my cerebral palsy. I know how to do stretches to maintain my flexibility, and I know how to get around by myself. But if I want to learn how to put my own socks and shoes on or dress myself more efficiently, I might have to see if my doctor would make a referral for some sessions.
I am going to have to let go of the idea that therapies like those were behind me.
But I don’t think letting go is an entirely bad thing. It’s just scary.
The power of letting go is that it enables movement. I’m not just talking about little things like going to therapy when I didn’t think I would have to, but bigger issues as well. In order to experience the peaceful and positive things in my life most of the time, I am going to have to let go of the anger and pain of injustice even when those emotions are justified.
One of the biggest lessons I have learned over the years is this: If people stay stuck because things happen that are not right or not fair, then they aren’t going to get anywhere. Letting go lets you be who you want. Letting go takes your power back. Letting go lets you decide what is most important to you. Letting go also gives a situation the finger and says “Screw it. I am not going to let this win.”
There are lots of things in life I can let go of:
The need to be perfect
The need for approval
The need to be right
The need to put other people first all the time
The need to be strong all the time
The need to always play by the rules
Caring about what other people think
Negative opinions about myself or others
Who I used to be
Who I thought I would become
And the list goes on…
Tomorrow I am going to call my doctor and talk to her about going to physical and occupational therapy in the foreseeable future.
Because as Jill Sherer Murray says:
Whatever you really want in life, you need to let go for it.