The value of saying goodbye

September 10, 2013

never walk alone

Some people find goodbyes easy, but I’m not one of them.

You’ve probably heard that saying that friends can be in your life “for a reason, a season or a lifetime.” Me? I have trouble with that “season” thing.  Consequently, my life and psyche are cluttered with relationships that remain long past their shelf life.

I used to think that was a positive. That I saw value in all relationships I’d started. And in fact, if I hadn’t had that point of view, M. and I wouldn’t have remarried. So in some ways, it’s served me well.

On the other hand, there’s still a lot of clutter taking up valuable space in my psyche, just as it does in my office. I’m overdue to let go of at least some of it and I wonder, what makes me hold on so tightly?

Part of it is that until now, I’ve chosen to live with some degree of instability. This is the first time in almost 15 years that I’ve had only one home. For a long time, my two homes were separated by 3,000 miles. For me, stability was ensuring that the people around me in each place stayed around me. They rooted me, really.  And even if I didn’t see them all that often, or even at all, even if it had been years since they’d had starring roles in my life, just knowing they were there for me to call on gave me  a strange sense of security.

As I age, though, I see the value of jettisoning old, stale stuff, whether it’s in my office, my garage or in my life.  Maybe it’s because after so many decades,  my life’s hard drive is so full it’s a little sluggish.  I need to free up some capacity so that I can experience the new, more positive people who take center stage in my current life.

Maintaining long-term ties has both served me and hindered me, I realize. Even though I’ve always thought it was difficult to figure out when and what to let go of, it really isn’t. It’s pretty simple: relationships that feel good, stay. If something doesn’t feel good or is inactive, it goes.

Wiping the slate clean is liberating. It leaves room for making new dreams come true.

Looking ahead, I see plenty of space for creating something new in my life.

And on that very topic: be sure to come visit–I’m blogging monthly on making my dreams come true at  The Succulent Wife. I’d make the link live, but I think Google punishes us for doing that. You can find it on your own, right? Who could forget a name like that?


8 comments on “The value of saying goodbye
  1. I, too, tend to hold on to friendships long past their expiration date. I mean, there are some good ones. I saw an old friend recently and we hadn’t spoken in about 10 years, but as soon as she got in my car to go to dinner, we pretty much picked up the conversation where we left off and it was like the years weren’t there.

    On the other hand, I have held onto some toxic friendships, as well. Ones where I feel the need to constantly apologize for my friend to my other friends. And your’e right: jettisoning those is really the best answer. It’s just hard for me to whom friendship means so much.

  2. audreyvp says:

    As I am just taking my lap top into the Apple to store to see if they can free up some space so that it functions more freely, I could really relate to what you say.

    As for friendships I wrote about this when I went to my High School Reunion last year (I am sure I can leave a link, no?) 😉

    Here is the article I wrote for, you guessed it, The Succulent Wife;

  3. Just to say I loved your post!

  4. It seems like the first good bye or cleaning of the slate is the hardest….I started doing it, cutting relationships, downsizing, de-cluttering a few years ago…. Never felt better! You’ll do well, you’ll feel well and I’ll follow your progress.

  5. Love the way you tie in the various bits of clutter in our lives. I’ve started the process of clearing out stuff–it goes deep into old lies and other things that trip me up.
    Congrats on writing for The Succulent Wife!

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