Seasons of change
Learning to let go
Happy fall! Life’s changed a bit since you last heard from me. I turned 23, marking a year in the city, a year at my first job, a year living by myself. For most of this time I felt like a kid wearing grown up shoes but now it’s all starting to feel a bit more natural.
The older I get, the more malleable the world feels. Most of the thoughts that cross my mind feel so close – like I could reach out and touch them if I wanted to. And I could. New friendships, new ideas, new projects, new experiences. The only distance between me and anything is time, effort and courage. It’s an empowering perspective to have. It pushes me to advocate for new changes at work. To announce to the world that I don’t know something so someone can help me learn it. To do the things that scare me – going to that party alone, learning the new hobby, reaching out to the people I find interesting.
I think what cemented this realization for me was my stubbornness in shaping the life I wanted. Refusing to switch out of my major despite finding the coursework overwhelmingly difficult. Talking to well over 30 companies until I found the right role. Consistently reaching out to every friend so I could keep them close despite being miles away. Making the trek to Central Park every weekend so I wouldn’t miss the moment the leaves rusted or flowers blossomed. Everything comes into my grasp if I decide I want it. And so there’s this urge to keep reaching up and grabbing it all. Every project at work, every potential friendship, every experience.
But I think my biggest learning this year is that there are seasons to this energy, seasons to hold on or let go or reach out or put a pause to it all. I am so grateful to Anita of the years past for crafting this life for me. It’s exactly the life I wanted when I was 18. But now that I have what I want: close friends, engaging work, time to explore my interests, I’m realizing that contentment can also come from leaving room for chance.
There’s a beauty in letting some things go. In realizing the people who love me will hold me close without me having to reach out and prove my worth. In deciding not to force connection because I don’t always have the energy to take initiative. In not worrying if I’m saying or doing or posting the right thing to accomplish a goal. In believing that what’s meant for me will come.
Having a high agency mindset is exceptionally productive, but also tends to be detrimental to a person’s wellbeing. For most of my life I struggled with immense anxiety about my intelligence, my likability, my success. I saw every undesirable outcome and every lost friendship as a personal failure. That feeling of apprehension only subsided when I decided not to care so much about who gets along with me, how my decisions may or may not contribute to career goals, how each interest of mine must say something about me.
I think that when people like me strictly see the world through a lens of control, we forget to truly enjoy living. We fail to realize that there is no healthy way to control everything at the same time. There have to be different points in your life when you accept and lose control over different things. There must be a balance.
There are still many things I know I want to do with my life. Spend some time traveling with friends in a few months, found a company or join another tiny one in a few years, get a dog in the next ten. But there are also things yet to be discovered and things that will forever be out of my complete control. I don’t know what I don’t know. I don’t know what will float my way. And I must leave some room for exploration, room to be purposeless.
I guess it’s enough to know that if I wanted to, I could. But I don’t have to. So the skill I want to work on is this– knowing that at any given time period, I must accept that there will be some things I can sustainably change and some things that I can’t. I hope more life experience and a sense of curiosity will help me distinguish and choose between them.
All my love,
And as usual, some music for your time ~ it’s time to replay my first fall in New York, happy listening 🍂