Sigh . . . remember the days. When you packed up your book and headed to the coffee shop for an hours-long session of hanging out and people-watching. That was a lifetime ago and involved a different person, a previous iteration of the self you are now.
It’s so easy to lament, mourn, or yearn for the simplicity of that time. Never mind that the coffee shop is still there, never mind you can still wander in there and plop down for hours like you did last week. It’s different now.
What is different is the letting go. Letting go of unrealistic expectations. Letting go of wanting something that won’t happen. What’s funny about letting go is that you don’t know that’s what you need to do until you are in a fire of a moment and it hits you that nothing is going to change just because you hope it will.
Don’t get the wrong idea, this post isn’t about gloom and doom. This is about a healthy and necessary shifting of one’s thinking. It’s letting go of the “But if, ” and the “If she would just. ” The things to let go lie cluttered all over a woman’s life, and I’ll give you an un-stepfamily example.
My sister and I haven’t spoken in 10 years. She is angry at me because I’ve made my peace with our father. The rest of the details are not important to this story. What is important is that she is trying to punish me with her silence. As the little sister, I adored my big sister. I followed her around and drove her crazy. I fought with her. I wanted to dress like her. We had, at some points in our lives, some very close moments. So close that we were terrified of what the other could actually see.
A few years ago, I got remarried. My sister was not invited to the wedding. I decided I would be surrounded by friends and family members who wished us well. But still, I developed this deep, deep yearning. I began to fantasize about reconciling with my sister. I longed to be close to her, or so I thought. I imagined all our troubles would smooth over if we could just sit down and talk. I was deeply, deeply hurt that she would not speak to me.
One day, it dawned on me that I didn’t yearn for my sister. I yearned for the feeling of closeness I had with my sister when my mother was alive. I imagined that when I was with my sister, I could reclaim those feelings of closeness with my mother. Once I had the big aha, it was as if someone waved a magic wand and my yearning for my sister evaporated. Gone. Nowhere to be found. Not in my mind, not in my feelings, not in the back of the closet. I see pictures of her now and there is no tumbling of my stomach or rumble in my head. There is peace and silence and acceptance and understanding.
Perhaps it is the upcoming weekend of celebrating love that brings losses to mind. What better way to clear yourself for love than to figure out who it is that clutters around inside your heart and the hallways of your mind. Get in there and dust a few things off and turn them over. Once you’ve identified who has the strings on your heart, you can decide how you want to live and love.
And, if you’re lucky, your sweetheart also likes cappuccino.