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Holding on... And letting go. Wednesday April 27, 2016

"Life's too short..."

How many times have we heard that one? Life's too short to stuff a mushroom. Life's too short to carry grudges. Life's too short to drink bad wine. (I like that one).

I don't hold grudges, but I do hold onto other things. Sometimes I hold on for too long.

I have a birthday next week. For those who are interested in such things, you will know that makes me a Taurean. Those born under the sign of the bull are notorious for their stubborn natures. Hmm - I like to think rather that I demonstrate the virtue of tenacity.

But it can go too far. I spent fifteen years as a chartered accountant – a role utterly unsuited to my creative nature, because I was too stubborn to give up. I spent twelve years in an unhappy marriage because – well – ditto. And there might be some pride in there too. If you don't give up then you have not failed. The moment you give up, then the final score is tallied and – you've fallen short yet again.

The trouble is that holding onto things, whether material things, relationships or jobs when there is no joy remaining, not only sentences us to a pretty grim life, but also prevents us from embracing anything new.

Yes – change is scary, and none of us like to admit defeat, but if we lift our eyes from the thing we are clinging onto, with metaphorical clenched hands and straining fingers, we may see other opportunities ready and waiting to fly straight into our arms.

Please – I am not encouraging any of you to resign from your job right now, or to go home and pack your bags; sometimes holding on is rewarded. But it has to be an active embracing and an openness to change within the existing framework. Change is a constant, we cannot hold on to sameness. If something does not change then it is dead, and even then there will be the inevitable change of decay.

And sometimes change can be in the smallest of things. I finally opened a bag of coffee that has been sitting in my cupboard waiting for the perfect moment. I realised last week that there never will be the perfect moment. So I opened it, and drank it with breakfast. It was good coffee. It would probably have been better coffee had I used it before its best before date – which was 2008...

I told you – I hang onto things too long.

The one thing I've been able to change successfully is that I no longer continue to struggle with books I don't enjoy. Reading is my greatest pleasure. Life's too short to read a book that does not give me that pleasure. Even if it did win the Booker prize last year.

But I will continue to hold onto friends, because friendship is too precious to let go.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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Sally Wed, Apr 27th 2016 @ 6:59am

I too have a birthday coming up, Mary, and am a Taurean! Have a happy one!
Excellent blog, really hits the spot. Attempting a Spring clean and tidy up...fairly impossible as like you, I hold on to things, many things. I am resolved though to get rid of as many things as I can in the next month as this time is my most creative period of the year and I want to accomplish things.

Some interesting observations you make. I shall be rereading this piece. Thanks, Mary.

LillyPet Wed, Apr 27th 2016 @ 7:20am

Morning Mary,
Loved your blog! It made me smile and it's so true about things that are alive changing.
Your saving that good coffee reminded me about the things that I save "for best!" and " for decorating" can't remember the last time I decorated or went to a fancy dress ball!
Feels like a good time to credt a little more space in this already little space of mine! Hugs to all. LP xx

Mary Wed, Apr 27th 2016 @ 9:26am

Yup - Life's too short to save things for "best".

Pam Wed, Apr 27th 2016 @ 7:20am

Love this blog. It is so true about books. My Dad taught me that books were to be enjoyed and that it wasok to miss bits out if it still made sense. Ihave always enjoyed reading and have learnt so much from books. This is a great tip as knowledge is all out there and reading should be fun. My husband never read books until I pointed him in the right direction and he was amazed at what he was missing and that was 50 years ago! My father also said that if u really want something it can usually be achieved but that u will probably have to let go of something else. We all need to make room for good things to happen. Thanks again for your blog.

Hopeful One Wed, Apr 27th 2016 @ 7:42am

Hi Mary-your blog resonated with me so much -it's probably because I am a Taurean too.I agree with you in so many ways. I can be stubborn but now its tempered with discretion because , like valour,that is it's better part. I long ago accepted that life and change are synonymous. If one is to do the first one must accept the second. I have only one criteria for throwing things away and that is they have ceased to work or no longer do their job. But the things that work for me? I hold to them like a limpet.

Here is Management lesson number 4.

A little bird was flying south for the winter. It was so cold, the bird froze and fell to the ground in a large field. While it was lying there, a cow came by and dropped some dung on it. As the frozen bird lay there in the pile of cow dung, it began to realize how warm it was. The dung was actually thawing him out! He lay there all warm and happy, and soon began to sing for joy. A passing cat heard the bird singing and came to investigate.It followed the sound and discovered the bird under the pile of cow dung.It dug the bird out and promptly ate it!

Management Lessons:
1) Not everyone who drops shit on you is your enemy.
2) Not everyone who gets you out of shit is your friend.
3) And when you're in deep shit, keep your mouth shut!

Anonymous Wed, Apr 27th 2016 @ 9:14am

I love these management jokes. The fish rots from the head. Julxx

the room above the garage Wed, Apr 27th 2016 @ 9:02am

I haven't given thought lately to whether I'm holding on to stuff I don't need. I know I am physically and that is a matter of having time to apply there. But mentally...thank you Mary, I most likely am and maybe it's time for a little look at that! HO, I love reading your comments, more blogs from you please, you have much to share. Loving the pictures I got from your management lesson today :-D

Rachel Wed, Apr 27th 2016 @ 9:25am

Mary this blog sounds like my life! Except I have not yet made the changes... Thanks for your honesty X

Mary Wed, Apr 27th 2016 @ 9:29am

Changes are on-going. And - they never stop being painful. Heaven knows I'm feeling that now!(And why do I immediately think of the Smith's song Heaven knows I'm miserable now"?)

Holly Wed, Apr 27th 2016 @ 9:30am

Thank you for this blog post. I can really relate to holding on and letting go- it's a lesson I'm currently learning and wished I had learned years ago. Like you, I would 'save things for later' only to find that they never had much use and it was a shame. I've been learning to let go of a lot of materialistic stuff, since I've been decluttering my room and it has already made such a difference. And I feel better from it too. Friendships, on the other hand, are a different story. One friend, cut me off because she feels I'm no longer relevant to her. I am now learning to let go of the anger and hurt I have towards her. Another friend has cut herself off after going through a hard time. I know it's nothing personal and while many probably would just leave her, my door will always be open for her. Friendship really is too precious!

Christine Wed, Apr 27th 2016 @ 9:37am

it is my birthday today. I am as unhappy today as I have ever been.

Another Sally Wed, Apr 27th 2016 @ 9:51am

Happy birthday Christine. I had a very unhappy birthday a while back, when nobody rang or even emailed to send wishes. I felt so alone. I hope at least the sun is shining where you are and you can get pleasure from spring flowers. Again, happy birthday from a fello moodscoper.from Another Sally x

Lou Wed, Apr 27th 2016 @ 10:01am

Happy Birthday Christine. Sending hugs. Lou

Zareen Wed, Apr 27th 2016 @ 10:06am

Thinking of you Christine. Hope that the day brightens up for you soon!

Hopeful One Wed, Apr 27th 2016 @ 10:32am

Hi Catherine- Happy birthday and many more to come. From your cyber friend.

Lou Wed, Apr 27th 2016 @ 10:00am

Excellent blog Mary and so many great comments from other moodscopers - Thanks folks - I am terrible at letting things go. But I love the thought that "Life's too short to stuff a mushroom"! Excellent point!

Zareen Wed, Apr 27th 2016 @ 10:04am

Happy Birthday for next week. Hope that it is a great start to the year for you; healthy, fulfilling, stimulating, successful & fun-filled. May all your aspirations, dreams & hopes become a reality for you during the course of the year.
Although I am not born under the sign of Taurus, I am similar in that I am persistent & tenacious. I have described myself as like being "a terrier with a bone". Your blog, as always, totally resonated for me. Thanks Mary.

Brum Mum Wed, Apr 27th 2016 @ 11:09am

It is interesting how culturally and maybe for some for religious reasons we are encouraged to endure things that clearly make us unwell. I too, Mary, was in an unhappy marriage but had no support to make that break. When I did I have found that a huge weight came off my shoulders. I had been resisting a change that I needed psychologically. Interesting my depression has all but disappeared. When you put up and cling on to something it can repress especially if we believe we have no other choice. I, like you, am not advocating that everyone goes and packs their bags. In my professional life I often advise people who are terrified of leaving their current jobs. The reality is there always is a risk but if you resist change or endure something for the sake of it it cannot be healthy. Thanks for your blog, as always and enjoy your birthday. x

Salt Water Mum Wed, Apr 27th 2016 @ 12:37pm

Oh Mary I can identify with so much of your blog! I too hold on way too long. Is it fear that doesn't allow us let go? Fear of failure? Fear of not seeming as strong or as resilient as others? Fear of being compared not so favourably? And just plain old fear of change - that terrifying leap into the unknown...

I have got better with 'the small stuff' though. I had a dear older lady friend who, on hitting 80 years old, looked through her store of perfumes / candles / face creams / jewellery etc and laughed her head off saying 'what on earth am I keeping all these for? When is that 'special day' going to arrive?' and so she wore her best jewellery and make-up, she lit the candles and she gave away the face creams! She has sadly departed the world but I do the same now - I felt very low this morning and I sprayed my expensive and indulgent body oil all over me!

So now to work on the bigger 'life stuff' - I would like to let go and get unstuck ... is it finally time for me to read 'feel the fear and do it anyway...'??


Anonymous Wed, Apr 27th 2016 @ 8:34pm

This really resonates today. As, actually, so many of your posts do, Mary. The number of things I've stubbornly endured, because I felt it was the right thing to do, or I didn't want to disappoint people.

Your point about not giving up meaning that you don't have to admit failure feels especially on point. I did that for too long in my marriage. Afraid to tell anyone how unhappy I was. Feeling that my unhappiness was a lack of gratitude.

Life is too short to hang onto things for other people's sake. Hard sacrifices for rich experiences like a dear friendship, sure. But sacrificing the joy in your life for the sake of something that poisons you? There needs to be line. It can be so scary to draw that line, but rewarding if you can honour your inner voice.

The Gardener Wed, Apr 27th 2016 @ 9:24pm

I've just watched, yet again, Cider with Rosie. Cracked at the old couple, never parted - starving - sent to the work house and parted, dead in a week. Family and helpers doing everything to back me up in the struggle with Mr G's worsening state, arthritis in shoulder, which with stress and the bitter wind keep me in perpetual pain. The spiritual effort to keep some of a life gets more di.fficult.

The Gardener Wed, Apr 27th 2016 @ 9:27pm

Sun and gardening keep me going - but both off. Re books - I pick one up and think I OUGHT to read it - struggled through Dr Shivago - could not see what the fuss about, perhaps should see the film. Only good thing seemed Lara's song. Tried Vilette - found it dull and slow. Find Charlie Browne the most interesting at the moment!

Ann Thu, Apr 28th 2016 @ 12:11am

Excuse me whizzing past everyone else's comments, but I just want to say - Thankyou Mary! Well put, made me smile, esp the coffee!!
(Marriage in a difficult place. Some very understandable strains. But doing some things differently might help - letting go of old behaviours (i.e. not packing my bags again!))
Goodnight to you all. xx

Anna Thu, Apr 28th 2016 @ 10:10am

I really enjoyed this Mary, thank you

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