Friday, November 26, 2010

When It’s Time to “Let It Go”

One of the goals of being organized is to have some sort of control in your life. I feel that when things are in order, all is right with the world. “A place for everything, and everything in its place.” Ah!

I’m learning (especially after becoming a mom) that not everything can be organized, and not everything can be controlled. Sometimes just the thought of that brings on visions of chaos! You can’t truly control your kids’ behavior (we’ll come back to this!); you sure can’t control the weather; you can’t stop or slow the passage of time; you can’t “make” other people like you; you can’t sterilize the world.

What you can do, however, is manage these things, but only to an extent. You can punish/reward your child’s behavior; you can prepare for bad weather; you can make the most of the time you do have and not overschedule yourself; you can treat others the way you wish to be treated; you still can’t sterilize the world, but you can be reasonably responsible for your little part of it.

Even after managing your world, be aware that your affect on the outcome can only go so far. When it comes to influencing others, they have the final say on how they will act. When it comes to preparation, there are always exceptional circumstances that you just can’t anticipate. When it comes to cleanliness, there are only 24 hours in a day, and you have other things going on in your life. This is the time when you just have to say “let it go.”

I remember when my aunt was dying, and I was responsible for making long-distance decisions for her care. It was frustrating not being there and having a “hands-on” view of everything, even though I called every day to get the information I needed to make an informed decision. I felt that I had to fight for her life. There came a point, however, when one of the doctors told me that she was at the point where only comfort should be given. “You’ve done everything you could,” the doctor told me. That was exactly what I needed to hear to give me peace about my final decision to release my aunt to hospice care. And it turned out to be the right decision, as her best friend visited my aunt the night before she died, and the friend told me that my aunt looked relaxed, comfortable and at peace.

On a less traumatic note, there have been times where I’m going through the house thinking, “This needs to be cleaned,” or “that needs to be swept” and I’ve stopped myself, saying, “It can wait another day,” or “I can delegate that to the kids.” I just release the worry for the time being.

The whole point of letting something go is to reduce your worry to a healthy level, though it may not eliminate it. For example, you will always worry about your wayward child, but you will stop beating yourself up over it. In some cases, the less important things will not cause the worry that they once did.

What this all adds up to is not control of the external, but control of the internal: your approach and your attitude. I have to say, it’s no one-shot deal. It’s a work in progress!