There are times we need to let go of material things as they create clutter, cause us stress and block us from moving forward.
Likewise, there are times we have to let go of people, as they also block our growth, cause us stress and hold us back.
During the course of our lives we’re in a constant state of growing out of one thing as we grow into another.
Our beliefs, feelings, plans, habits, clothing, homes, jobs and even friendships, can often feel like they no longer fit. If this sounds like you, then you’re doing what we’re all supposed to. Your growing.
As we age, have new experiences, acquire new wisdom and become exposed to new thinking and ideas, we outgrow parts of ourselves that no longer fit or serve us, we also outgrow the attitudes, beliefs and behaviours of some people. It’s okay.
This growth doesn’t mean you or they are bad people, it merely implies you’ve outgrown the things you once had in common and, you might now be blocking each other’s paths towards further growth.
I’m not the same person I was when I was 20, 30, 40 or 50. I’m not supposed to be. I’ve grown, so have you. So it makes sense that we might grow away from each other.
How do we know if we’re outgrowing certain people? Most of us feel it.
Conversations begin to feel awkward or forced, you might bicker more often over trivial things, you may no longer feel emotionally or intelligently connected or feel bored or disengaged when you do spend time together. The relationship might feel tight or constrained like those jeans you outgrew two decades ago but hang on to “just in case.”
When we do realize its time to say goodbye to a friend, lover, business partner, therapist, hairdresser or another person; we don’t have to be mean spirited or cast blame. Recognizing you no longer serve a higher purpose in each other’s lives is enough. Thank these souls for the shared memories, the lessons and their role in shaping who you’re becoming. Then, wish them well and move along.
Life can sometimes feel like meeting a stranger on an airplane. You spend several hours sitting next to one another. You enjoy each other’s company. You engage in interesting conversations, have a few laughs, you might share the arm rest, offer them half of your kit-kat or watch a movie together. You may even fall asleep on their shoulder and drool.
Then, when the plane lands you say good bye, head to different terminals, get on your respective connecting flight and move forward. It was a beautiful encounter, but your time together is over. Now you’re on different flights, traveling different paths.
We get this one big beautiful life. If we’re doing “it” right we’ll have many beautiful encounters, and, we’ll constantly be growing and outgrowing things, even each other.
Its all good, its normal, it’s life.
Toni O’KEEFFE ~🌹❤️
“Growing apart, doesn’t change the fact that for along time, we grew side-by-side, our roots will always be tangled, and for that I’m grateful.”
As a child, I grew up in a loud, hectic, sometimes frenzied Irish Catholic home, buzzing with family gatherings, birthday parties, activities related to my moms real estate business, the daily preparations required for my Dad’s restaurant, the screech of musical instruments being practiced, seven children running-playing-fighting, mom hollering out orders, lots of pets (including my sister Suzie’s pet rooster) cousins, aunts, uncles and friends constantly coming and going.
It was loud and it was busy.
Up until a few years ago, my adult life had also been a constant buzz of career busyness, multiple moves, volunteer work, my boys, their antics and extracurricular activities, house guests, exchange students, lots of pets and a busy social life.
For decades I craved alone time, it never arrived. Then, one day it did.
There I sat on the floor in my kitchen, living alone for the first time in over 40 years. And, I’d never felt so lost, so alone or so sad.
My children were grown, my eldest son had passed away, my marriage had ended, I was retired and had stepped away from community service to manage health issues.
Over the course of my life I had drawn my identity from the many hats, roles and responsibilities I had worn, and the busyness that kept my mind and life occupied.
After decades of being somebody’s sister, daughter, mother, wife, boss, employee, volunteer, now I was, well, I had no idea.
I was exhausted, probably depressed and didn’t feel emotionally able to reach out or connect with anyone, in fact, I didn’t want too.
My little spirit was spent, she needed to rest. She knew we had to turn inward, to feel the deepest sense of loneliness and loss before we could reimagine what our life should be. So, I surrendered. I listened, and let her guide me.
I cocooned myself for several month, slowing growing new wings and transforming the life I had lived over several decades, into something new, different and purposeful.
It was during my alone time that I learnt how to quiet the busyness in my mind and listen to the thoughts percolating in the deepest corners of my soul.
I was able to focus on my health, read a few books, took a lot of walks and did some amazing solo travel. I tapped into creative pursuits that had always been there, but hadn’t been exercised in along while.
Then, I began to remember who I was, I mean, who I really was. To my surprise I realized that I’m more of an introvert than I imagined. I came to recognize and appreciate some of the creative traits and habits I had inherited from my father. I understood what it must have been like for my mother when her career came to an end, her children had left the nest, her husband had passed away and she had to create new purpose and joy in her life. I developed a deeper sense of empathy and gratitude for both my parents.
Being alone taught me that my happiness and my joy is my job. We can not expect our partners or our children or anyone to be responsible for, or be, our only source of happiness. We must cultivate our own interests, hobbies and joy.
Being alone has power. Once we learn how to be alone and be happy, we can better recognize if our life choices are drawn from a place of happiness or loneliness.
My alone time is now something I look forward to. It’s during my alone time that I get to visit the best parts of myself and I remember what it is I’m here to do.
It is in this quiet space that I continue to lay down the stepping stones towards my own growth.
I’ve evolved my perception of loneliness over the past few years into an understanding that ~ Loneliness does not come from not having others around us, it comes from not knowing our purpose, our passions and ourselves.
Alone time, when we use it well, allows us time to think, to recharge, to be creative, to foster self reliance and helps us unearth our authentic selves. It also allows us to re-examine who we want in our lives and the types of relationships we want to cultivate.
I love the quote;
“Not all those who wander are lost”
~ from J.R.R. Tolkien’s poem “The Riddle of Strider”, this quote echoes my own belief that ~ When we wander alone ~ we find ourselves.
When embraced, being alone can be peaceful, healing and healthy. It’s an opportunity to find ourselves without the commentary and expectations of anyone else and, just BE.
As a child I recall my parents, teachers, babysitters or other adults asking me questions where my response quite often was “I don’t know.”
– Why did you shave the cat?
– Why didn’t you do your homework?
– Who ate the dog food?
– What’s wrong with you?
– How did a bowl of macaroni and tang end up in the fridge?
– What are you going to do with your life?
– Why is there a chicken sitting on the couch?
My answer to all of the above ~
– “I don’t know.”
Then their response would be;
– “I don’t know,” is not an answer.
So, I’d be forced to make up some phoney-baloney answer about why I did something or why something happened. Even though the correct answer really was “I don’t know.”
Fast forward a couple decades and this “have-to-have an answer” programming, has gotten some of us into trouble as adults. We turned into “know it alls” who were taught to always come up with an answer or at least pretend we had one.
** believe me, when we try to camouflage the fact that we don’t know; people know we don’t know.**
This behaviour can then manifest into some people believing they do know more or better than the ones who really do (when clearly they do not). They can become dismisses of the opinions, comments, or suggestions of others, they may even blurt out random facts or answer questions that haven’t been asked, to demonstrate their astute knowledge on a range of topics. And thus, a new “know it all”is born.
I was in my mid thirties by the time I realized we ain’t fooling anybody when we play the game of know-it-all. We come off as rude, smug, arrogant or flippant.
None of us have ALL the answers.
We’re not supposed too. Knowledge of our own ignorance is a sign of wisdom and growth. According to Socrates, knowing that we know nothing – is both a sign of humility and perhaps genius.
So rather than teach our children that they must have answers, let’s teach them to ask questions, to listen and gain other insights and perspective to make sure they understand. This approach may breed more tolerance, compassion, understanding, acceptance and cooperation. (and wow, our world needs more of all that right now.)
There’s a sense of freedom and vulnerability when we utter the words “I don’t know” or when we lean into another person and say;
“Can you help me figure this out”
“I don’t understand,”
“Tell me more.”
The best leaders I’ve worked for were the ones who did more listening than talking. They asked for advice, admitted when they didn’t know, we’re constantly reading, learning and sharing what they knew. These leaders surrounded themselves with people who thought differently than they did and offered different perspectives.
Its not the job of a good leader to “know it all,” it’s their job to build a tribe of diverse individuals who bring a unique experience and wisdom to the collective. We should live our daily lives the same way, appreciating those that look, think and are different than us.
I found a message I had written in the margins of my 2001 journal, ( it’s what inspired this post) It read;
“Toni you’re smart, but if you ever think you know it all, remind yourself you don’t, you have some answers, but not all of them, when you’re lost, go find the ones that do.”
I thought back on 2001 trying to remember what might have prompted me to write that down. There were no real clues in my journal entry, so, the truth is “I don’t know.”
Love Toni 🌹❤️
**because I know you’re dying to know; The chicken (which turned out to be a rooster) was sitting on the couch because my younger sister had kidnapped it from school to save the poor thing from becoming a dissection project. 🐔❤️
If they ask you to dance, to take a walk, to play, to go for coffee or ask you for advice; make the time, make the memory.
It should never be an inconvenience to share time with those we love.
Whether it’s your partner, parent, a sibling, your child or your best friend, the day will come when one of you is gone.
When that day arrives you’ll ache for a day, an hour, or even a glance at the one you lost, or, they will be aching for you. Life will go on for one of you, but it will never be the same.
As you read the words above, who are the people that came to mind, the ones you would ache for if your time together came to an end? Are there wounds to heal or words to say before that day arrives? If so, heal the wounds and say the words. Then make the memories beautiful ones.
He asked her; “What’s the secret to your longevity?” She stared at him for along time over the thick rim of her glasses. Then, she picked up her double scotch, shot it back, slowly rose from her chair, shuffled over to her birthday cake, lit a smoke off a candle and blew it into his face.
“Live every day like it’s your 100th birthday.” she said. Put on your crown, know your worth and know you matter. I’m a god damn work of art. We all are. Yes, even you. We should start treating each other that way.”
Once upon a time, there was a family of 7.2 billion people running around their little blue planet trying to change each other and beating each other up. No one really knew why.
Each new generation picked up where the generation before had left off, ridiculing, mocking, shunning, shaming, judging and attacking their family members for their different beliefs, social status, gender, sexual orientation, alliances, traditions, looks and well, just about anything.
When they could have been building a beautiful world together and caring for one another; they wasted time and energy blowing things up, destroying the planet, hurting each other, even going to war with each other over their differences.
One day a group of children within the family decided “this is dumb” we’re not going to play like this anymore. And they didn’t, and over a few generations the family began to heal.
They still had disagreements, but now they worked through them without judgment and without causing each other significant harm.
Soon the family began to realize they were supposed to be different. It was their differences that made them stronger, healthier and collectively wiser. They saw that when they lifted each other up, and listen to each other‘s perspectives, they achieved more together then they did apart.
No, they did not all live “happily ever after”, but they did live “better ever after.”
**I don’t want to look like you, be like you, think like you, have the same hopes, dreams or goals as you. Those things belong to you, those things are a part of your journey.
The only thing we should be the same at, is accepting and loving each other exactly as we are; and, embracing the notion, “we’re supposed to be different, it’s our differences that give us our collective strength.”
I’m gonna’ love your beautiful, weird, messy, little soul as it is and, I’m gonna’ love my own weird, messy, little soul as she is. That’s it. The End~
Beautiful friend. Stop worrying so much about so little.
Don’t worry about the ones that left you behind, be grateful for the ones who are still by your side.
Don’t worry about promises not kept or plans that didn’t work out. They weren’t supposed to, they weren’t meant for you.
Don’t worry about the past or be angry, jealous or spiteful about days gone by. Be grateful for the lessons and move on.
What hurt you yesterday, has already begun to heal today. If yesterday didn’t go exactly as you hoped, today the slate is clean, you get to start over.
We’re all magical, messy, mixed up little souls painting lives that are constantly works in progress. So, my beautiful friend, stop being so hard on yourself and stop worrying so much, about so little.
Be gentle with yourself today and every day. Just relax you messy little soul, just relax. TO’K~ 🌹❤️