How do you say goodbye to a place you love? You know you can’t stay because leaving is the only way to make significant and positive change that is badly needed in every part of your life. How do you let go of all that you are leaving behind?
At the beginning of this year, my husband and I decided that our lives were not going in the direction we wanted. We were stuck. Stuck in our situation, and in our minds. We couldn’t move forward no matter what we tried. So after long soul-searching talks with one another, we decided our lives needed to go through a massive change if we ever wanted to have the kind of lives we really wanted. But we knew even then it would take massive work from both of us to make this a reality. We also had no idea how long it would take, which made for another daunting uncertainty.
One of the major changes we decided to make was to move, and not just a small move. An almost 1,000 mile move from one end of the country to the other. This also meant making a lot of other changes too. A lot of those changes had to happen inside of us. What was the point of making such a drastic relocation if all our problems followed us there?
Both my husband and I dedicated a lot of time to healing ourselves as well as our relationship. In fact, we became much stronger as a team after he relocated to Florida at the end of March. We had to communicate much more and rely on each other almost everyday to make sure everything didn’t fall apart.
It took major effort from both of us as we inched along to solve each problem that came our way… him getting and starting a new job, somewhere for him to stay while we looked for permanent housing for our family, deciding to buy or rent, then once we decided to buy we had to go through the whole house buying process, and then trying to get our son to be okay with letting go of the only home he ever knew to accept the new one.
As our long journey finally started to come to a close, I then had to deal with my reality. That even though I had worked very hard to heal myself, help my husband, help my son, there were still things I needed to do for myself before I left. And that was to let go, really let go.
It was not easy to decide to move 1,000 miles away from my current location. Maryland was actually the first place in my life where I worked very hard to set down deep roots. And while I spent time over the past six months gradually pulling up those roots, the idea of actually leaving finally hit me like a sledge hammer once we closed on our Florida home at the beginning of this month.
It took almost a week for me to finally be okay with leaving, and then other issues cropped up, making me realize that letting go of the roots I’d put down was only a small part of what I was letting go. I also had built up very destructive habits over the years. Habits I didn’t want to repeat in my new location. I really, truly wanted a fresh start. So I had to try to release those habits as best I could.
Out of all the very hard things I did these last six months, it is the letting go that has been the hardest for me. It doesn’t help that I am a total control freak. Letting go does not come naturally to me. But I know that to truly move on this is something I had to do.
I think I started letting go even before we embarked on this massive endeavor, but letting go, I am finding, can be a very long and hard process. The deeper the the thing that needs to be let go has taken root, the harder it is to come out. Bit by bit is easier. Layer by layer. Trying to do it all at once is just overwhelming, and even damaging.
I have learned to have more self-compassion. This was hard for me at first. I find I am my worst critic, and anytime I mess up, I jump down my own throat. I have learned that having self-compassion helps salve wounds a great deal better than my harsh inner critic.
Will I be able to let everything I need go before I leave next week to make the 1,000 mile journey to my new home? I don’t know. One thing I have learned is that healing is a life long practice. However, I do think that with enough work and dedication I can accomplish anything I set my mind to.
My husband and I have set our minds to turn a life that we barely lived as we just mindlessly glided through the days into a life that will bring great excitement and enjoyment in every single moment (and we have in large part already gained this kind of life). But in order to do that, we had to take stock of ourselves and ask hard questions that made us want to slink under the covers and not come out ever again.
Mostly we had to learn to let go of all the things that weren’t working for us. And we also had to be willing to let go of friends and family so we could start something new all on our own. We still want to keep connections open, but we need to blaze our own new path in a new place.
I actually was naive enough to think for a time this new life we were working towards wouldn’t begin until I moved to Florida. But over the summer I came to realize that this new life of ours started the day we decided to make a change and commit to it. So that’s what has given me the confidence to keep moving forward, no matter how hard it got. Deep down I knew that I was so desperate for the change I wasn’t going to stop until I got it.
So that gives me confidence once more as I continue to let go of all the things still needing to be released before I leave. And if not, then perhaps I will let go of enough that I can still start fresh, and be willing to work on what crops up later down the road.
How do you let go of a place you love? A place you have grown deeply comfortable with? A place you have set down extensive roots in? How do you let go of all the old habits that aren’t serving you, but harming you and holding you down?
One little piece at a time.
Sometimes it’s agonizing. Sometimes it seems like it will never end, and maybe you feel like you might not get through it no matter how hard you push. But in the end, maybe in letting go, really letting go, something new and beautiful can rise in the place where the old once stood.