“Letting go, of course, is a scary enterprise for those of us who believe that the world revolves only because it has a handle on top of it which we personally turn, and that if we were to drop this handle for even a moment, well–that would be the end of the universe. But try dropping it. Watch what happens. Life continues on.” -Elizabeth Gilbert
As I move towards my 30s, I’ve started to learn how to let things go. It has been a slow and arduous process of baby steps, but I’ve begun to process and release the little annoyances, to-do lists, emotions, opinions, criticism, and things which used to haunt me for years and even decades. For the better part of my life, I struggled with perpetual anxiety and fear of failure. I lived my days in a constant struggle of trying to be perfect, trying to get people to like me, and trying to be and do everything. I spent so much of my time worrying about all these things that I never truly lived any of them. I was so worried about being perfect, that I made more mistakes than were necessary. I was so worried about people liking me that I shut down and turned into a wallflower when others were around. I was so worried about doing everything that I did not have the energy to do anything. It was a vicious circle of perfectionism and I was trapped. The problem was, I was spinning my “world handle” so fast that it rocked off its axis. Everything fell apart and I would usually end each day curled up on the floor as tears streamed down my cheeks. The pressure I put on myself was unbearable and, when I couldn’t live up to my own impossible standards, I broke down. But, as my meditation practice became stronger, I started to realize how deeply I yearned for the peace of letting these things go–of releasing the yoke of stress from my shoulders and just letting go of the things that I cannot control. I’m still a work in progress and I continue to fight with my control issues, but I am slowly learning to release the little things so that I can focus on and enjoy the bigger picture. Letting go let me live again.