About letting go
What do you do when you get a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity?
That’s a difficult question, it seems. It depends very much on who you are, where you are and in what phase of your Life you are.
We got this opportunity. It followed a series of events that illustrated what we had envisioned for our Lives. And we were in that phase of our Lives that allowed us to grab the opportunity with both hands.
Both me and Kaisa have been moving around quite a bit. We’ve moved internationally, we’ve moved domestically (three times in the past three years, gee!). And now we’re doing it again. For the fourth time. But this time it’s slightly different. This time we can’t take everything with us. And so we have to make choices.
I don’t consider myself a materialistic person. I like gadgets, but I’m not the type of guy to buy something when it comes out. When I buy things, I really do use them. But much to my surprise, clearly that wasn’t the case always, because I’ve accumulated an incredible amount of stuff over the years. I owned a storage unit which was packed with it.
And you know how it goes. When you move you come across things and you go “I haven’t really used this in awhile, but… let’s not get rid of it. You never know!” And so it remains in the storage, continuing to be unused.
This time we really didn’t have that much choice, simply because keeping the storage was not an option, and storing it elsewhere required a massive cut in our possessions. And I shamefully admit that there really was a whole lot of stuff that I bought over the years and used once or twice, and never after that.
I set myself an easy target: if I hadn’t used it in the past six months it was up for grabs. And a lot of stuff went up for grabs. Not my books. And there are many. Not my CDs either, there are many of those as well. But a lot of other stuff went. Most of it was fine. I knew it was the right thing to do, because I simply had no use for them. There were a few items, with which I kind of had a bit of separation anxiety.
My computer… That was one of those things. A good friend built it for me and it’s been one of the best computers I’ve ever had. Superfast, super effective, never failed on me. Cost me a good dime, and I lost a good dime on it as well, because when you don’t know anything about computers, you just figure that a 1,5-year old computer is just a piece of old iron. But it’s sold, and I let go.
There were a few other things that I didn’t really want to part with, and those I gave to close friends to use in my absence. Better for things to be used than to wither away in a dark storage space.
The personal stuff
But then there were also the non-material things.
In my twelve years in this country I’ve built up a good network of people, and a few of those I worked so close and so long with, that they have become a little bit like family.
Letting go of those people is hard. Letting go of a carefully built relationship, letting go of that feeling of belonging… that’s hard.
When you go for a “final goodbye” (is it ever final?), you shake hands and they tell you that whenever you come back, all you have to do is call and there will be a job waiting for you… that’s hard. I’m a first-class sucker in those situations. I had to swallow a good few times to get rid of that frog, and I swear, I would’ve started bawling like a baby if it would’ve taken any longer than it did.
Or when you go for a “final goodbye” and you are welcomed with a little farewell party and you end up keeping people off their work for a few hours because you have so much to talk about… That damn frog again!
Material things will never replace the connection you have with people. Moving also will not break the connection you have with people. The right people are there for each other, the right people provide you with the energy to get and keep you going. And even if you “leave”, if you have to “let go”, you never lose them. You will always have that connection.
No distance is big enough to really, completely let go.