Letting Go

There are many things that I have had to let go through my life.

I left an entire friendship circle behind when I emigrated from South Africa to the United Kingdom. I left a steady job, people that cared about me, a culture I understood – for what? Climbing on the plane, I didn’t even have a job lined up on the other side. I had ten days accommodation and £500.

Moving north, I left a city where everything was bright and temporary, for something less gaudy, but definitely more permanent. A husband, and later a family. A house that became a home, and the whole range of skills that I needed to acquire to fulfil those roles in a way that I deemed adequate.  In London, it didn’t matter that I was different – everybody was, in one way or another. In the sleepy little village where I live, it matters a little more.

I let go of my dream to write a book when I went to university, because, two draft novels down, I knew that my work wasn’t good enough. Yes I lacked self-confidence, but I also was not stupid. Skill comes when you begin to realise that you’re not as good as you thought you were.

I let go of the PhD dream when the funding failed to materialise. This was a dream fuelled in part by other people’s expectations, and in part by pride. I wanted to show up all the naysayers through my life, all the bullies, and people that had laughed at me behind my back, and sometimes to my face. The worst kind of dream. It didn’t feel good to let it go, but it was the best thing I could have done.

I have let go of my definitions of success, and happiness, of rights and influence. I have let go of what I thought it was to be a wife, a mother, a friend, a writer, a homemaker, a cook, and just about every other role you could name.

Because I have learned that when you let go, sometimes what lands in your open hand is worth far more. Sometimes just having the open hand is freedom enough.

So as I let go of a few more things – jagged things, that cut into my hand and heart as they slide out of my life – I remember.

Sometimes letting go is the hardest thing, but it is also the wisest.

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8 thoughts on “Letting Go

    1. Definitely. That said, letting go on condition that you can pick it up again may hinder the process a bit.
      Although I am back writing again so sometimes letting go is not forever.

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  1. Success is not always measured by publications, or at least not by the big publishers. I’ve heard it is very hard to get published as an unknown; even if the quality of work is exceptional. How about self publishing and using the internet?

    Also, did you not look into doing a PhD part time? Often after a year or so, PhD students can pick up extra teaching hours and other opportunities that help fund their study. It would be hard, no doubt, but maybe better than fully letting go?

    Just a thought 🙂

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    1. I will be looking at self publishing options etc, but have to get the writing done first. When I say the novels were bad, they were bad. The first I am in the process of rewriting completely and I have ideas for the second.
      As for part-time study! my other commitments have increased in the intervening time and I’m far happier now than I would be doing a PhD. What has been left in my open hand is better than any prestige a qualification could give me – contentment.

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